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Stealthy Startup Cylance Makes Official Launch With $15 Million in Funding

Cylance, a tech security startup that has been operating in a rather secretive fashion until today, made its official launch as a security vendor along with announcing that it has raised $15 million in funding.

Cylance LogoCylance is led by former McAfee global chief technology officer Stuart McClure who serves as president and CEO of the firm. As a security expert with more than 22 years of experience, McClure was founder, president and CTO of Foundstone which was acquired by McAfee in 2004. He also is known in security circles for his well known series of books, Hacking Exposed.

Prior to the company’s “official” launch today, it has built up a roster of well-respected security experts, through both organic hiring, and acquiring other startups. In October 2012 Cylance acquired Ridgeway Internet Security, a software startup specializing in Web application firewalls and honeypot technology.

In December 2012, the company acquired Skout Forensics, a cyber-forensics technology and services company specializing in automated forensics.

Billy Rios and Terry McCorkle at Security Analyst SummitWhile up to now the company has been somewhat secretive in what it has been up to, it has made some splashes in recent months around security vulnerabilities and research.

Just last month, Cylance reserachers Terry McCorkle and Billy Rios said they were able to hack into a medical management system and take control of other pieces of connected equipment by targeting a heap overflow vulnerability on a Philips XPER system. McCorkle and Billy Rios joined Cylance after the company acquired SpearPoint Security Services, a company founded by the security researcher duo.

This past summer, Rios and McCorkle, prior to working for Cylance, were credited with discovering vulnerabilities in the Tridium Niagara AX Framework, a popular software platform that integrates various control systems and devices and allows them to be managed over the Internet.

Interestingly, just last week at the Kaspersky Lab Security Analyst Summit in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Rios and McCorkle demonstrated a proof-of-concept exploit that made use of two yet-to-be patched security vulnerabilities in the Niagra Framework that would allow a remote attacker to take control of the system.

The new $15 million cash injection came from Khosla Ventures and Fairhaven Capital, and will be used to fuel the company’s vision of “securing the most insecure and defenseless systems in the world, through advanced services and products addressing critical infrastructure and servers, desktops and devices.”

"The time is now to change the paradigm in security. Companies like Cylance know how to solve this problem at its core, and we will help them deliver on that vision," said Vinod Khosla, founder of Khosla Ventures and long-time Silicon Valley entrepreneur.

"Cylance's executive pedigree has seen it all in the security world and I am confident in their mission to fix the industry's failures as well as protect and empower the world through its top talent, products, services and research," Khosla added.

Along with its investors, Cylance added three additional board members, Patrick Heim, former Kaiser Permanente CSO and now Chief Trust Officer at Salesforce.com and Retired Admiral William J. Fallon. Additionally Alex Doll, former CEO of PGP who sold to Symantec in 2011, will join the board.

Additionally, Cylance said tht it also established a Board of Advisors comprised of individuals from diverse industries, including Paul Forney (Invensys), David Willson (Army/NSA), Shane Shook (KPMG/PwC), Robert Bigman (CIA), Stewart Baker (Steptoe/NSA), Alex Nazaruk (GetCo), Michael Rauchman (GetCo), Eric Culp (formerly of ESRI), and Joseph Gabbert (formerly of McAfee and EMC).

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