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Cybersecurity: what was once just a concern for your IT guy is now becoming a trending topic (and a critical matter for citizens, businesses, and governments). Whether you’ve binge watched Mr. Robot, heard “the cyber” discussed during election debates, or been affected by the recent Dyn hack and subsequently massive Internet outage on the East Coast, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that problem-solving entrepreneurs are jumping into the fight against hackers.

Opportunities for cybersecurity innovation are ripe. A House bill passed earlier this year requires that Homeland Security now consider leveraging startup technologies in its battle against online attacks, and investors and major corporations are spying closely on the little guys with big ideas. Funding for the industry jumped 78% in 2015 to $228 million and is projected to exceed $600 million this year, and IT giants Cisco and Symantec have made acquisitions in the double digits, with no plans of slowing down.

Want to know more? Cover your webcam, change your passwords, and meet twelve cybersecurity companies making the Internet safer from their offices around the South.

  1. Based in Charlotte and DC, Dark3 has developed a fully anonymous, non-attributable, near real-time information-sharing infrastructure. This platform combines with an appliance that takes less than 15 minutes to deploy onto a network, providing businesses with instant visibility into threats to their network. Their team previously managed security operations and strategy at places like the White House and Pentagon.
  2. Orlando-based ICLOAK has developed a $99 plug-and-play device that gives anyone the ability to surf the Internet securely and anonymously and make their online activity untraceable. When users insert the ICLOAK USB, ICLOAK takes over the machine, running a secure and isolated operating system resistant to bad software. The company has raised $850K since 2014 and has been featured in TechCrunch, USA Today, and Mashable.
  3. Miami-based Vulnerability Insight is a security platform that incorporates proprietary Artificial Intelligence technology to predict which vulnerabilities could become threats for a specific business. They pair technology with the “human factor,” taking input from IT and security departments to feed specific information about the business into their AI core and create tailored alerts. The company raised $100K after launching in 2015.
  4. Located in Charleston, PhishLabs is the leading provider of 24/7 cybersecurity services that protect against threats that exploit people. The company combines proprietary technology, intelligence, and human expertise to rapidly detect, analyze, and stop targeted cyberattacks before they impact organizations. Phishlabs was founded in 2011, raised $1.2M in 2013, and was named an Inc. 5000 fastest growing company in 2014.
  5. Ionic Security launched in Atlanta in 2011. Their patented platform combines secure protocol and hybrid architecture to mathematically ensure that no person or machine (not even Ionic) can access a company’s private information. Amazon and Goldman Sachs, along with hedge fund Hayman Capital, recently invested $45 million, bringing their investment to-date to over $122 million.
  6. Founded in 2015 in Charleston, Soteria is a disabled veteran-owned cybersecurity firm that provides security and data consulting for companies around the country. Their team is comprised of former members of the NSA, CIA, DoD., and Fortune 500 corporations.
  7. Say goodbye to tape and post-it notes on your webcam. Washington, DC-based Eyebloc created the Eyebloc Webcam Privacy Shield, a soft plastic device to cover the webcam of laptops and tablets. The 1776 member company has been featured by the Washington Post and pitched on Shark Tank in 2014.
  8. GroupSense is an Arlington, VA-based company that provides managed cyber intelligence solutions to enterprise clients, utilizing a proprietary reconnaissance platform. GroupSense offers solutions to protect businesses from fraud, cyber risk, targeting of executives, and brand targeting or defacement on the Internet and the deep web.
  9. Based in Maryland, Efflux Systems has developed a Security Operations Platform for conducting automated cyber investigations. The platform ingests already-existing security events, finding lateral movement and other post-breach activity that existing tools miss, and correlating threat activity in near real-time. Founded in 2014, Efflux Systems received a $100K grant from Tedco Maryland and was in the most recent cohort of the 500 Startups accelerator.
  10. Washington, DC-based Cybrary launched in 2015 to revolutionize cybersecurity learning by making the best training curriculum available to anyone, online, for free. Since founding, the company has raised $1.7 million and has been featured in the LA Times and Computer World.
  11. ZeroFox is a Baltimore-based company that works at the intersection of social media and cybersecurity. Their patented enterprise security technology platform identifies malicious actors, threats and targeted attacks against businesses, providing proactive, actionable social threat analytics and intelligence in advance of any network compromise (think: impersonator accounts, phishing attacks, fraud, customer scams). ZeroFox has grown rapidly; the company raised an $11 million Series A in 2014 and a $27 million Series B last year, they recently acquired stealth-mode mobile security firm Vulnr, and they’ve been featured by TechCrunch, The Atlantic, BBC News and more.
  12. Washington, DC-based Virtru is the first company to make email privacy accessible to everyone. Through its browser plug-ins and mobile apps, Virtru empowers individuals and business to control who receives, reviews, and retains their digital information — wherever it travels, throughout its lifespan, and it requires no special skills or knowledge to utilize. The company raised $6 million after launching in 2014 and an additional $29 million earlier this year. Virtru was also a finalist at the 2015 SXSW Interactive Innovation Awards and has been featured by BBC News, Inc., and the NY Times.

We hope these companies keep you and your business safe as you surf the web. Know of others we should share? Let us know in the comments!

Photo credit: Baltimore Sun / ZeroFox