British cyber security firm has raised $26 m (£19 m) to develop its technology that scans the internet for threats to businesses. Digital Shadows, founded in 2011, analyses the hidden part of the internet known as the dark web for criminal activity that could threaten its clients.
The investment has been led by Octopus Ventures, which has previously backed British tech firms like Zoopla and Swift Key, the keyboard app sold to Microsoft last year.”You see stories every single day of companies being attacked and data lost,” said James Chappell, Digital Shadows’ co-founder and chief technology officer. “It’s really important that companies keep an eye on what’s already out there on the internet.”
Unlike other cyber security start-ups, which analyse inside companies’ networks, Digital Shadows looks at threats on the open internet. It monitors the internet and dark web for stolen personal details such as employees’ email addresses and passwords, evidence of sensitive files being shared online, and discussions among cyber criminals on chat rooms about the latest attacks.
“We monitor all the passwords and usernames leaked online by hackers that could be used to break into businesses,” said Chappell. “We also monitor the criminal forums hackers use to organise themselves. We help our clients understand the developments so they can orient themselves and protect the right parts of their businesses.”
T he company’s revenues have more than doubled in the last two years, amid a number of high-profile hacks of major companies such as Yahoo and Equifax.
The funding round, which brings Digital Shadows’ total raised to $49m,will be used to improve its technology and expand into Asia. The company used its last fundraising, in 2016, to open offices in San Francisco and Dallas.
Chappell said the growth of Digital Shadows, a member of the UK’s Cyber Growth Partnership, is an example of the potential for security start-ups in Britain. “This sends a strong message about how great a place the UK is to start and grow a cyber security company,” said Chappell. “I’m really proud of that and I’m looking forward to seeing more companies grow over the coming years.”