Armorblox: Bringing Textual Understanding to Security with NLU

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DJ Sampath, CEO & Co-Founder
“The CFO is emailing the CEO from his personal gmail account to request a check? It could be a BEC attack!” says DJ Sampath, Co-founder, and CEO of Armorblox. His remarks should be understood in a context where attacks that mimic human interactions among other sophisticated tradecrafts are increasingly becoming harder to detect. Despite all of the cyber security tools that are in place, securing data and IT assets is a formidable challenge that all organizations share irrespective of their size. The crux of the matter is no amount of firewalls, antimalware tools, spam filters, and methods like sandboxing address the weakest link in the cybersecurity chain – humans. According to Sampath, it is easy for hackers to get past security solutions by targeting employees as they communicate, causing the majority of cyber attacks.

Most employees working in an organization communicate and collaborate by exchanging emails, documents, chat messages, and other methods. Hackers target these communications platforms and documents by exploiting basic human behavior along with social engineering and phishing. Armorblox has built an elegant solution that can analyze and process the textual data in communications, enabling companies secure the human layer of cybersecurity. The CEO continues “Armorblox has built the world’s first security platform that fully leverages the spectrum of AI to secure the human layer based on Natural Language Understanding (NLU).”

Signature-based antimalware tools are obsolete and unsustainable, as the prevailing model for threat hunting involves detection of threats, by collecting the sample, and reverse engineering it. Moreover, traditional security solutions are unable to process and reason with the textual communications of employees intelligently, in real time. Additionally, the fragmented and compartmentalized solutions for cloud security and products to control network traffic make cybersecurity more complex. They neither integrate nor communicate and add to the plight, generating false positives. “Securing the human layer of data security involves fundamentally rethinking enterprise security as email continues to be the single biggest attack vector, responsible for 96% of all attacks,” explains Sampath.

Armorblox’s approach of cybersecurity enables organizations to replace one-time security gates with context-aware, adaptable, programmable security. Powered by AI and augmented by NLU, the platform continuously identifies, monitors and prioritizes risk both proactively and reactively. Moreover, the platform is enhanced by advanced analytics and automation to accelerate time-to-detect, respond, and scale.


Armorblox has built the world’s first security platform that fully leverages the spectrum of AI to secure the human layer based on Natural Language Understanding (NLU)


The platform analyzes the content, sentiment, and tone of emails sent across different stakeholders of an enterprise; be that an email sent to an individual who is outside of the organization or anyone who is working inside. The company also employs its holistic approach to prevent accidental data disclosures. This approach allows organizations to make sure that the right information is shared with the right person. The technology identifies phishing, spear phishing, and social engineering attacks, to name just a few.

Content management and workflow automation tools are part and parcel of almost all enterprises. As employees share confidential documents and communicate through different platforms, it is essential that the data is protected. To this end, Armorblox’s platform secures the textual communication and data shared between employees, customers, and stakeholders, such as business partners. One of their unique value propositions is that Armorblox can complete the customer onboarding process in 15 minutes. The firm’s dedicated cybersecurity professionals connect to the client’s infrastructure through APIs and initiates an inspection.

The company also helps clients automatically create and adopt policies concerning data sharing and usage, sending the alerts to the relevant groups. For example, for an employee about to accidentally share an attachment with someone’s personal information, the alert can be sent directly to the employee to verify their action. This mitigates the issue of forwarding every security issue to the information security team when someone senses a threat.

Although Armorblox is less than two years old, their platform hit a home run during the initial phase of its inception. With a mission to mitigate the threat humans pose as the weakest link in the security chain, Armorblox puts forth a practical method that can actively identify and avoid emerging threats.

Armorblox News

Armorblox Raises $16.5 Million for NLP that Secures Human Communication

Natural language processing (NLP) — the branch of AI that helps computers understand and manipulate human language — might not seem naturally applicable to cybersecurity, but as it turns out, the benefits can be enormous. Just ask Dhananjay Sampath. He’s the cofounder of Armorblox, a cybersecurity startup that emerged from stealth with $16.5 million in venture capital backing led by General Catalyst, along with Microsoft chairman John Thompson, former U.S. chief data scientist DJ Patil, Google vice president of security engineering Gerhard Eschelbeck, and other individual investors. The San Francisco startup’s technology, which it plans to showcase at the upcoming RSA Conference in March, taps NLP to analyze sensitive information in emails and documents and to protect against data- and identity-related attacks.

Email messages and files have become top attack vectors for stealing data, Sampath says, and some evidence backs up his claim. A recent Trend Micro survey found that 91 percent of cyberattacks begin with a “spear phishing” email, or a personalized and highly targeted email with malicious file attachments and links to malware. And in the second quarter of 2018, researchers at Kaspersky Lab logged more than 1,744,244 malicious installation packages, up 421,666 packages from the previous quarter.

“Our mission is to reduce time-consuming workflows for security professionals across detection, incident response, and compliance,” Sampath said. “Armorblox combines deep learning and natural language to analyze enterprise data from emails, documents, and other enterprise apps … We’re excited to bring the Armorblox NLU platform to market and empower employees to better protect company data.”

What Armorblox has developed, then, is an NLP engine that derives insights from enterprise communications and data. It offers policy recommendations by learning over time what’s mission-critical for a given organization, and in the event of a potential or attempted breach, it automatically sends alerts to the relevant people and teams.

Differentiation will be crucial if Armorblox hopes to stand out in the $5.3 billion cybersecurity market, which is expected to be worth $248.26 billion by 2023. Sampath isn’t naming too many of the company’s customers just yet, but he revealed that Samsung’s Harman brand is an early adopter of its platform.

“Armorblox is using NLU to solve the number one challenge for CSOs: the human layer,” Harman chief information security officer Maurice Stebila said. “By applying NLU, Armorblox is able to address a whole new layer of security that has been inaccessible to other security solutions: the content and context of communications. This has been the biggest challenge and attack vector because hackers know that they can exploit this weakness.”

Sampath started Armorblox in 2017 with Anand Raghavan, Arjun Sambamoorthy, and Chetan Anand, founders or early employees at Netskope, ThoughtSpot, and StackRox. The company is headquartered in Sunnyvale, California.

Company
Armorblox

Headquarters
Cupertino, CA

Management
DJ Sampath, CEO & Co-Founder

Description
Armorblox has constructed the natural language understanding (NLU) framework for data security using the recent developments in natural language processing (NLP) and deep learning. Armorblox also intends to add instruments that could be concealed in emails or linked to a file to discover malware. In addition to many modern DLP instruments, Armorblox is an instrument. Once clients become comfortable in their capacity, however, it is only a question of the importance before they begin switching off other DLP instruments. Armorblox also has a custom-made system for trusted safety service suppliers (MSSPs) that enables Armorblox to be deployed on behalf of various clients via a single leadership gateway

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