Analytics // Threat Intelligence
1/30/2014
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Startup Confer Launches Cyberthreat Prevention Network

New company Confer takes on endpoint security problem with sensors that feed into threat intelligence network

A startup company named Confer is tackling the endpoint security problem by instrumenting each device with a sensor that feeds data into a threat intelligence network.

The new company launched last week with $8 million in first-round funding from Matrix Partners and North Bridge Venture Partners.

Confer has built what it calls a "cyberthreat prevention network" that collects and stores information about current threats as well as the behavior of known attackers. The company offers to bring customers into the network by instrumenting each endpoint with a sensor that can analyze threat activity.

"The sensor looks for known bad activity and reports it back to the cloud," says Paul Morville, vice president of products at Confer. "If it sees a known problem, it can block malware from coming in or prevent exfiltration out. It also collects data on how the device is being attacked -- if the infection came from phishing, a USB stick, etc. -- and what happened downstream after the initial infection."

"Attackers are efficient in designing malware that can evade traditional endpoint security controls. Defenses need to move beyond signatures to stop specialized threats," says Charles Kolodgy, research vice president at IDC.

"Solutions like those offered by Confer, which IDC calls Specialized Threat Analysis and Protection (STAP), are emerging to fill the gap," he explains. "STAP solutions leverage a variety of techniques to collect information around behavior, communication activity, reputation, and other factors to detect the seemingly undetectable. It's a promising approach that companies should consider to identify the unknown before it becomes a problem."

Confer's cyberthreat prevention network is a SaaS-managed, host-based threat analysis system that collects data from sensors running on Microsoft Windows, Android, and Apple Macintosh-based systems, the company says. The sensors install in less than a minute and can operate on the endpoint from anywhere, regardless of whether they are inside or outside the corporate perimeter.

"To date, all of the industry's attempts to defend servers and endpoints have overlooked their potential as one of the richest sources for understanding the behavior of threat actors," says Tim Barrows, general partner at Matrix Partners. "Well-resourced security organizations have moved to a collaborative, threat-based model, sharing information with one another. Confer automates this threat-sharing process."

Have a comment on this story? Please click "Add a Comment" below. If you'd like to contact Dark Reading's editors directly, send us a message. Tim Wilson is Editor in Chief and co-founder of Dark Reading.com, UBM Tech's online community for information security professionals. He is responsible for managing the site, assigning and editing content, and writing breaking news stories. Wilson has been recognized as one ... View Full Bio

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