Stephanie Fohn Whitehat Security

While many companies fear hactivist entities like Anonymous, some, like Whitehat Security, can actually thank them for creating a big need for security technology services. Whitehat, which claims to be the first software-as-a-service option for application security, raised $31 million fourth round of funding today.

“Back in 2011, starting with the Sony breach, organizations like Anonymous and Lulzsec began kind of a systematic campaign. That really raised awareness in the industry,” said chief executive Stephanie Fohn (pictured above) in an interview with VentureBeat. “That is very important to us. We are growing very quickly.”

The funding was led by JMI Equity, with participation from existing investor IGC (Investor Capital Group).

Whitehat Security was focused on protecting web applications first, and now mobile applications. Web applications can be popular points of entry for a cyber criminal. This is because many big enterprises, and even small to medium-sized businesses, have online presences that can span for thousands of web pages. Some of those pages eventually go un-monitored or get forgotten, so the source code can become weak and go without updates for long periods of time.

“Organizations today are saying, ‘Hey, I just can’t rely on focusing my resources on my most valued sites, I have to look across all 1,000 sites that I own,'” said Fohn.

The company’s product, Sentinel Services, monitors your web applications and source code continuously to spot vulnerabilities and tell you where they are.

After hacker groups Anonymous and Lulzsec started what the security industry called a “hack a day” in 2011, the demand for Whitehat’s products spiked, as did its need for capital. So, the company went out in search of funding and brought $31 million back, compared to an $8 million round in 2011, a $7 million round in 2008, and a previous total of $6.2 million made up of two different rounds.

Whitehat Security plans to use latest funding to expand internationally, hire on the sales side, and build out more support for its mobile application monitoring products.

Whitehat Security was founded in 2001 and is headquartered in Santa Clara, Calif. with offices in the U.K. and Singapore. Today’s funding brings the company’s total to $53 million, from Horizon Ventures, Altos Ventures, Garage Technology Ventures, Startup Capital Ventures, JMI Equity, Investor Growth Capital, and a number of angels.

Stephanie Fohn image via Whitehat Security