Cybersecurity startup Sternum raises $27M to ‘immunize’ IoT devices

Sternum, a three-year-old IoT cybersecurity startup based in Tel Aviv, has secured $27 million in Series B funding, led by Spark Capital.

Internet of Things devices are more popular than ever, yet cybersecurity remains a looming concern. The number of attacks on IoT devices more than doubled during the first six months of 2021, according to Kaspersky, and the security credentials of these devices — which often ship with easy-to-crack default passwords and insecure third-party components — is starting to attract the attention of governments.

Sternum is aiming to tackle this growing problem by providing embedded security for IoT devices, which can be integrated both at the point of manufacture or retrofitted at any point in their lifecycle. (Sternum says it’s successfully embedded into code that was written back in 2013.) The technology brings actionable intelligence and active mitigation to any internet-connected device, from routers and smart toys to medical devices and critical infrastructure, and prevents the exploitation of known and unknown vulnerabilities in real-time.

“No existing product is doing what Sternum is doing,” Natali Tshuva, CEO and co-founder of Sternum tells TechCrunch. “Most solutions in the market today are able to discover anomalies, but they can’t protect the device itself against exploitation. 

“We have built new algorithms that are capable of identifying the fingerprints of an attacker in real-time and preventing attack,” Tshuva added. Prior to co-founding Sternum, Tshuva was a software developer in Unit 8200, the Israeli Defense Force’s equivalent of the U.S. National Security Agency.

The funding round, which also saw participation from existing investors Square Peg Capital, the Hinrich Foundation, and European VC firm btov, is the largest amount ever raised by a female-founded and led security and analytics firm, according to Sternum. The investment will be used for research and development, to advance the platform, and to grow its headcount; Sternum currently employs 20 staff, and plans to increase this number by threefold to 60.

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