Why we're watching it: Lastline in November made its official debut with an anti-malware product and service called Previct which aims to prevent malware infections from entering the enterprise and also inspects and analyzes outgoing traffic. Though there's plenty of competition in malware detection today, the three university researchers (from UC Santa Barbara and Northeastern University) who developed it claim it's a better anti-malware mousetrap.
The technique Lastline came up with gets out in front of malware by using code emulation to securely analyze what effect the malware is trying to have rather than try to detect malware based on signatures as traditional antivirus would, says Christopher Kruegel, co-founder and chief scientist. In terms of competition, Lastline regards its approach as somewhat similar to that of FireEye, an earlier startup that's gotten plenty of attention for its anti-malware detection process.
Fun fact: The company's founders also started the International Secure Systems Lab (iSecLab), which helps share research across five labs in the U.S. and Europe.
Nok Nok Labs
Headquarters: Palo Alto, Calif.Founded: 2011 Funding: Undisclosed Leader: Phil Dunkelberger, CEO and founder
Why we're following it: Dunkelberger, who was co-founder of PGP Corp. in 2002, is making the case that cloud-based computing services and their users would benefit from a new style of strong authentication based on an open authentication protocol. Expect software from Nok Nok Labs this year. A big question is whether enough large hardware and software vendors will get on board. But Dunkelberger, as he did at the recent Cloud Security Alliance meeting, is energetically arguing change is needed, asking, "How many have ever ripped out an authentication method? Not many -- it's costly and hard to do." But despite the fact that so many authentication types exist today in what's a security "Tower of Babel" and the cloud means "the perimeter doesn't exist anymore," there's no easy way to turn on authentication based on risk use cases, he argues. His idea? A scalable authentication protocol for the cloud defined by working groups so it will be free, and products that can add value in management. It's another case of stay tuned for the next chapter, which could be at the upcoming RSA Conference in San Francisco.