ThreatLocker nabs $100M to block malware in enterprise networks

ThreatLocker nabs $100M to block malware in enterprise networks

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ThreatLocker Inc. today announced that it has closed a $100 million funding round to build more features for its cybersecurity platform, which prevents malware from running on companies’ information technology infrastructure.

General Atlantic led the round. Existing ThreatLocker investors Elephant VC and Arthur Ventures participated as well.

ThreatLocker’s platform allows a company to specify what applications may run on a device and automatically block all other programs. The result, the startup says, is that malware is prevented from running on devices secured using its platform. ThreatLocker’s approach makes it possible to block, among other threats, malware that uses zero-day vulnerabilities not known to the cybersecurity community.

Before unauthorized programs can be blocked, they have to be detected. ThreatLocker has built a feature into its platform that automatically maps out all the programs running on a system. The startup’s algorithms can detect not only applications but also other types of software, such as malicious scripts.

Some types of malware use applications that are already installed on a system to carry out cyberattacks, which makes them more difficult to detect. For example, if  an employee device has Word installed, hackers may target the device with a Word document containing malicious code. ThreatLocker says that its platform can fend off such cyberattacks as well.

ThreatLocker’s platform allows companies to not only block all software on a device with the exception of authorized applications, but also place restrictions on those authorized applications. The platform can, for example, automatically block a program if it attempts to encrypt sensitive business data. Attempts to encrypt business data are often sign that a company may be targeted by a ransomware attack.

ThreatLocker can also prevent the applications on a device from accessing other programs. 

In the enterprise, many Windows systems run a Microsoft Corp. tool called PowerShell that is used by administrators to configure hardware and applications. The tool’s ability to change the configuration settings of IT assets means that, in the event of a cyberattack, it can potentially be used by hackers to gain system access. ThreatLocker can automatically block applications from trying to access PowerShell and other programs that are installed on a system.

ThreatLocker says that the $100 million funding round it announced today follows a year in which both its workforce and revenue quadrupled. The startup sells its software to managed service providers, or MSPs, companies that specialize in managing other organizations’ IT infrastructure. Those MSPs use ThreatLocker’s software to protect their customers’ networks.

ThreatLocker says that its software helps secure the networks of more than 23,000 organizations. The startup counts banks, healthcare organizations and airlines among its users.

“ThreatLocker has made a huge impact in the industry in driving least-privilege approach forward over the last few years,” said ThreatLocker Chief Executive Officer Danny Jenkins. “We believe this new injection of capital will enable us to improve our product and grow ThreatLocker’s market presence.”

ThreatLocker is competing in a growing market. An increasing number of enterprises are recruiting MSPs to help manage their IT infrastructure. As a result, demand for tools that can help MSPs carry out their work more efficiently is increasing as well. In a sign of the market’s growth, MSP software provider Kaseya Ltd. earlier this month inked a $6.2 billion deal to acquire Datto Inc., a fellow provider of tools for IT service providers. 

ThreatLocker also sells its software to managed security service providers, firms that specialize in assisting organizations with protecting their networks. This segment is growing rapidly as well. Multiple managed cybersecurity startups have raised funding in the past few quarters, among them Arctic Wolf Networks Inc., which achieved a $4.3 billion valuation last year.

Overall, cybersecurity companies raised an estimated $21.8 billion in funding last year. The fourth quarter set a new quarterly funding record of $7.8 billion, a sum that exceeded the previous record by more than $2 billion. 

Image: Unsplash

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