Startup StopTheHacker Gets $1M In Funding

StopTheHacker, a San Francisco-based startup that sells Web site security via the cloud, said Monday it has received $1.1 million in initial funding.

Public and private investors making the investment included Runa Capital, an early-stage venture capital firm, and Brian NeSmith, former chief executive of Blue Coast, a maker of Web gateways, StopTheHacker said. The money will be used for sales and marketing and product development.

StopTheHacker uses machine learning and artificial intelligence techniques in remotely searching customers' Web sites for malware and links to malicious Web sites that have been secretly embedded by cyber-criminals. The company's technology analyzes all the components on a site, such as the HTML, JavaScript and text, to see if they contain malware-like traits.

StopTheHacker co-founder Michalis Faloutsos, a professor at the University of California, Riverside, claims the company's technology is more effective than traditional methods using signatures and blacklisting. "We are able to detect malware that no one else has seen before," he says.

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At the end of the month, StopTheHacker plans to expand its product line to include automatic malware removal, scanning corporate Facebook walls for malicious content and support for foreign languages, the first being German.

Demand for Web site monitoring is driven by the risk of having Google or other search engines list a property as a malicious site and removing it from search results. StopTheHacker projects that the number of Web sites monitored for malware will rise from 10 percent today to 90 percent in 2015. Faloutsos compares it to the adoption of anti-virus software in the early years of the PC.

StopTheHacker believes its subscription pricing will be attractive to SMBs that can't afford dedicated IT staff for Web site security. The company sells three services. Depending on the complexity and size of the Web sites, malware detection ranges from $5 to $500 a month. Vulnerability assessment costs $100 a month, and monitoring to make sure a Web site hasn't been blacklisted ranges from free to $10 a month. Discounts are available for buying multiple services.

StopTheHacker is open to having its services sold by resellers. The company plans to announce this week that Host Europe Group, one of the five largest Web-hosting companies in Europe, will resell StopTheHacker services. Founded in 2009, StopTheHacker was funded by the National Science Foundation through 2011.