Spies + Math == Darktrace at London Disrupt 2016 | Summary and Q&A

December 5, 2016
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Spies + Math == Darktrace at London Disrupt 2016

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In this video, Poppy Gustafson from Darktrace discusses how the idea for Darktrace started from a group of mathematicians at the University of Cambridge who were using machine learning to teach a computer to have a sense of self. They partnered with experts from government intelligence agencies to apply this mathematics to the problem of cybersecurity. Darktrace takes a different approach to cybersecurity by focusing on understanding the normal pattern of life in a network and identifying changes in behavior that could be a symptom of an attack. Darktrace's security approach is based on machine learning and models the network's normal pattern of life for each device, flagging any changes in real-time.

Q: Is Darktrace affiliated with intelligence agencies?

No, Darktrace is an independent company and works with a wide range of private and public sector organizations. While they do support the public sector, they are not attached to any intelligence agency.

Q: How is Darktrace's security approach different from other solutions on the market?

Darktrace's security approach is based on machine learning, specifically modeling the normal pattern of life for a network. This is similar to the human immune system, where the system can identify changes and adapt its defense. Darktrace's Enterprise immune system sits at a network level, monitoring the behavior of each device. If any behavior changes, it flags it in real-time.

Q: Can Darktrace's technology catch everything or are there limitations?

Darktrace's technology is highly adaptable and can catch a wide range of attacks. However, it's important to note that having good perimeter defenses and network hygiene is still important. While Darktrace can identify subtle and slow attacks, boundary protection is still necessary as attackers can still breach a network.

Q: Who are the co-founders of Darktrace?

The co-founders of Darktrace include mathematicians, experts from government intelligence agencies, and members of the management team from Invoke Capital, their main initial investor.

Q: Is Darktrace's security approach applicable to all industries?

Yes, Darktrace works with organizations across various sectors, with a slight bias towards financial institutions. They also cover sectors like law firms, retail, manufacturing, healthcare, and critical infrastructure companies. Darktrace's technology is adaptable and can be applied to different verticals.

Q: Is terrorism a concern for Darktrace's customers in critical infrastructure industries?

Yes, maintaining the integrity of data and operational functionality is crucial for critical infrastructure companies. The potential future threat of "trust attacks," where attackers manipulate data to influence strategic decisions, is a concern for these companies. Darktrace helps protect critical infrastructure by identifying anomalies and changes in behavior.

Q: Can Darktrace automate the mitigation of attacks as well?

Yes, Darktrace has developed a product called "Antigena" that can take action based on identified threats. For example, in the case of a ransomware attack, Antigena can slow down or switch off the connection associated with the attack. This automation is not meant to replace security teams but to provide them with faster reaction times.

Q: Could the entire security function be automated in the future?

While self-healing and fully automated security functions could be a possibility in the future, there is still a hesitation in fully relinquishing control to machines. Darktrace believes in supporting security teams and providing them with information and initial steps to prevent damage. Human involvement in taking action based on identified threats is still crucial.

Q: Have there been any AI-led attacks using Darktrace's technology?

Darktrace has not encountered any AI-led attacks yet. The current focus is on mitigating existing risks, such as ransomware. However, the use of artificial intelligence by attackers to increase the intelligence of attacks is a potential future concern.

Q: How did Mike Lynch get involved with Darktrace?

Mike Lynch, with a PhD in mathematics, incubated Darktrace through Invoke Capital. He brought together the meeting of minds and commercially supported the idea of applying mathematics to cybersecurity. Darktrace has also received additional investments strategically, allowing them to expand into new markets.

Q: Are there plans for an IPO?

There are no immediate plans for an IPO. Darktrace's focus is on growing the business and meeting the high demands for their Enterprise immune system.

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