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Google CEO Praises, Invests In Israeli Cybersecurity Startup

Google CEO Eric Schmidt, who was in Israel this week, publicly praised the Israeli cybersecurity startup Illusive Networks, after a venture capital firm he partners with invested $5 million in the startup, Entrepreneur magazine reported Tuesday.

Illusive Networks raised $5 million in Series A funding from cybersecurity think tank Team 8, which is a partner with Innovation Endeavors, the VC firm founded by Google Chairman Eric Schmidt.

“Illusive Networks is a perfect example of the kind of ‘out of the box’ thinking necessary to challenge the growing threat of targeted attacks,” Schmidt said in a press release.

Team 8 is an Israel-based cybersecurity incubator and venture capital firm.

Illusive Networks’ method for catching hackers involves layers of deceptions that entice a hacker to go deeper into a company’s network until he gets caught. The Israel-based technology website Geektime explained how Illusive Networks technology catches hackers.

Illusive Networks’ Deception Everywhere technology prevents targeted attacks and APTs [advanced persistent threats] through a series of traps and deceptions. When the system detects that the intruder has fallen into a trap, illusive’s system immediately reports the attack. In this way, security personnel can identify and stop an attack in its initial stages. This all happens in real time, before the attackers have a chance to cover their tracks. …

In a conversation with Geektime, [Illusive Networks co-founder Shlomo] Tobol explained that rather than continuing to invest money in expensive added layers of security, illusive networks believes in fighting the attackers. He says that his company discovered two main weaknesses among the attackers. First, the fact that they are greedy human beings with human weaknesses who make mistakes and are subject to temptation. Second, the fact that they have to constantly be on the move and are looking for the next target within the company’s web of deception.

As such, Illusive Networks appears to be tackling a game theory situation known as the signaling problem. For instance, take two suspects, one innocent and one guilty. Both have a strong incentive to protest their innocence. So how do you tell the difference between them? You have to design some mechanism that will allow the guilty and innocent to sort themselves out through different incentives. This is precisely what King Solomon does in the famous legend of the two women who come to him insisting that a baby is theirs. He suggests cutting the baby in half, which distinguishes the true mother, who says, “No, give the baby to the other woman,” from the false mother who agrees. Presumably, Illusive Networks has found a way to differentiate legitimate users from hackers based on incentives, although they probably can’t tell us what that mechanism is.

In a meeting Tuesday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Schmidt praised Israel as a leader in the technology sector and reaffirmed that Google would continue to invest in Israel.

[Photo: IsraeliPM / YouTube ]