Zimperium Raises $8M For Mobile Security That Turns The Tables On Attackers

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Gillmor Gang Live 12.20.13 (TCTV)

Let’s say you’re at the airport, checking your email on your iPhone over the wifi. Well, you’ve already made your first mistake. You’ve trusted the airport network to be secure enough to protect you from hacker attacks.

Zimperium announced today it has raised $8 million from Sierra Ventures to build out its mobile technology designed to protect you from those attacks at the airport or wherever else you might be.

The company also has a tool for IT administrators to monitor all those devices registered to the network. The company now has a super secret project in the works to turn the tables on the hackers. To do that, they are going to hire more hackers, which obviously makes sense. That should not be too difficult, considering Kevin Mitnick, one of the most famous hackers in the world, sits on the company’s board of advisors.

Zimperium has a mobile app called “zAnti” that is meant to give the every day user the ability to test networks to see if they have vulnerabilities such as the danger of “man in the middle,” attacks. These attacks hijack a user’s session and then act as a silent eavesdropper masquerading as a trusted participant.

For example, Frank and Veronica know and trust each other. But their network has gotten hacked and this dude, Lester, has put himself in the middle, pretending to be Veronica. Frank is so happy to check out the link from Veronica, and that’s all it takes. Lester has succeeded in taking over the conversation and gaining access to Veronica’s network of taco truck apps — or whatever the info she has that Lester now seeks to exploit. Lester has convinced Frank to give access to his network as well by sending him a link that he knows Frank will be enticed to open.

The people behind Zimperium are no joke. CEO Itzhak “Zuk” Avraham spent three years with the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). So you can just imagine what he worked on while there.

It’s no surprise then that Avraham would boast that this new top-secret project will be able to stop attacks such as Stuxnet, the computer worm designed to attack nuclear operations.

Mobile — the next frontier — is a gold mine for the security pros. Angel List has 108 companies listed that specialize in mobile security. But Zimperium has already proven it has the chops. Now it has to show it can be a bad-ass business, too.