The Spanish startup that hunts down cybercriminals and seduced the Pentagon

When in 2015 David, Fernando and Dan created their own cybersecurity company in San Sebastián, taking advantage of the experience and contacts they had in the sector, it never crossed their minds that, in less than a decade, the demanding Department of Defense of the United States relied on their services. "From the first minute we wanted to be an international company and compete globally, but the path has not been easy and we did not expect to have a client like this so quickly," says David Barroso, CEO and co-founder of CounterCraft. After obtaining a first contract for the development of a prototype with the Defense Innovation Unit (DIU), last year they closed an agreement with the Pentagon after winning a public tender, something that Barroso highlights. "Our competition has had larger rounds of financing, between 60 and 70 million dollars, but technologically we are better," he says. The contract is renewed annually and, according to advances from the Spanish firm, they are now working to obtain a five-year extension. The United States represents one of its priority markets, since, together with Israel, it is the world's leading region in terms of cybersecurity. “The company has 56 employees and 13 work in the New York office. Next summer we would like to raise an investment round that will allow us to increase our commitment to the country and create a more powerful team », he anticipates. Making a hole for yourself on the other side of the pond is less complicated if you have the backing of an investor from there. "It helps from a reputational point of view and also because American companies want to buy products that are backed by local funds," justifies the entrepreneur. So far the company has raised eight million euros from European funds such as eCapital and Evolution Equity Partners. In addition to increasing its presence in the United States, the company's objective for 2023 is to strengthen its activity in France, Germany, the United Kingdom and Spain, as well as to start operating in the Middle East. Active defense Its tool, called Cyber ​​Deception , uses deception technologies to lure adversaries into a simulated environment, riddled with false servers, profiles and data that act as bait, in order to get to know cybercriminals as much as possible. “Before, cybersecurity was seen as a medieval castle, where you put walls, detectors on the doors, etc., but that model is no longer practical because organizations adopt teleworking and use cloud services, which makes it more difficult to defend and easier to attack”, begins by explaining Barroso. That is why its product is based on deploying traps, inside and outside organizations, so that attackers fall into them. "We detect that something is happening and we get information about the attacker, his targets and the tools he uses to react to the threat in time," he continues. CounterCraft's clients are both governments and large companies from various sectors and two thirds are foreigners, mainly from the United States.

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