Suppose an ill meaning website sends some nasty code to a company computer.
Traditional anti-virus software is designed to detect the malware, or malicious software, before it disrupts and then distributes sensitive, personal information to unintended recipients.
The trouble with some of those software programs, however, is speed and accuracy.
The duo, along with a colleague at Boston’s Northeastern University, founded Lastline Inc. in 2011 for exactly that purpose — to provide companies with inventive security products that spot malware quicker and more often.
Three years later and the company started in Goleta is rapidly growing, serving dozens of Fortune 500 companies and expanding into offices in Redwood City, Singapore and, most recently, London.
IT departments around the globe have spoken, trusting Lastline as protector of secrets.
The leaders in automated, high-resolution malware analysis and detection explain the company’s Lastline Enterprise software as a sort of “super microscope.” Once the software is installed onto a company’s server network, all incoming traffic is analyzed and hidden code uncovered.
“The main problem is that these programs have evolved,” Vigna said of hacker software. “(Lastline) tells you right away that malware is infected.”
Kruegel said handpicked talent has helped fortify Lastline, with most developers and analysts from UCSB’s computer science program. Although he and Vigna are on leave from teaching at least through July to focus on the budding business, both have remained involved with the university's international cyber hacking competition.
Lastline raised another $3 million in capital funding last year, bringing in more than $14 million since the researchers came up with the idea in 2009.
The company has grown to more than 50 employees, an increase that mirrors the number of customers and one founders hope will continue to rise.
“It’s a huge market,” Vigna said. “There’s a lot of buzz.”
Lastline hopes to become the No. 1 malware company in the world and also first in terms of market share. Vigna said the company’s sights are set on competitor FireEye.
“We have a great team,” he said. “Research is in our DNA. We really want to bring innovation to a field that needs innovation.”