Security Experts:

Amazon Acquires Threat Hunting Firm Sqrrl

Sqrrl, a Cambridge, Mass.-based big data analytics startup that is commercializing NSA technology to help organizations detect threats lurking in their infrastructure, has been acquired by Amazon.

The company announced Tuesday that it has been acquired by Amazon and would be joining the Amazon Web Services (AWS) family.

Sqrrl Logo

Founded in 2012,  Sqrrl has raised more than $28 million in funding, including $12.3 million in June 2017 and $7 million in February 2015.

At the core of Sqrrl Enterprise is Accumulo, a database project that began at the NSA in 2008 when the spy agency was searching for a platform that could meet its growing data challenges. In 2011, NSA open sourced Accumulo, which has since become a project at the Apache Foundation. Accumulo was inspired by Google's BigTable design and is built on top of Apache Hadoop, Zookeeper, and Thrift.

In the summer of 2012, a group of the core creators, committers, and contributors to the Accumulo project co-founded Sqrrl.

Built on top of Accumulo, Sqrrl’s software analyzes masses of data in order to uncover hidden patterns, trends, and links, and enables security analysts to visually navigate the relationships between assets and actors involved in a given event. As a result, security teams can detect and mitigate data breaches resulting from cyber-espionage, insider threats, and other types of hard-to-detect attacks.

Six of the seven original members of the Sqrrl had worked for the NSA. 

The company did not provide details on how its technology would be integrated into AWS offerings, but it could be used to enhance Macie, a recently-launched security service that helps AWS users discover, classify and protect sensitive data. Amazon Macie uses machine learning to automatically identify and protect personally identifiable information (PII), intellectual property and other sensitive data, and informs users of how their data is being accessed or moved via dashboards and alerts.

“For now, it is business as usual at Sqrrl,” noted Mark Terenzoni, Sqrrl CEO. “We will continue to work with customers to provide advanced threat hunting capabilities. And, over time, we’ll work with AWS to do even more on your behalf.”

Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed, though Axios reported in December that talks were under way for Amazon to buy Sqrrl for "a bit north" of $40 million.

Sqrrl's financial backers include Spring Lake Equity Partners, Matrix Partners, Rally Ventures, Accomplice, and Atlas Venture.

view counter
For more than 10 years, Mike Lennon has been closely monitoring the threat landscape and analyzing trends in the National Security and enterprise cybersecurity space. In his role at SecurityWeek, he oversees the editorial direction of the publication and is the Director of several leading security industry conferences around the world.