Check back for Q&A profiles on all the competition finalists.
The first-ever InvestMaryland Challenge is down to its final round with just 33 companies competing for more than $300,000 in grants and business services. The final winners will be announced during the Governor’s Cup Awards Ceremony on April 15.
One of the companies, selected out of more than 250 applicants, is Baltimore-based Light Point Security. To find out a little more about this growing company, founded in 2010, we spoke to co-founder Zuly Gonzalez.
Q. What does Light Point Security do, and how would you explain it to the average person?
A. We have a virtualized web browser and we prevent network computers from getting malware by allowing people to browse the Internet from remote browsers that does all of the dangerous parts of parsing and rendering a website and only sends back an interactive display of that website, so there’s no harmful content and no scripts that run on the end computer. It’s just a piece of software so companies basically just buy that software and install it on their computers and their network and it just runs and protects their networks as well as their employees from malware.
Q. What is the worst case scenario if someone does not use a product like yours?
A. They could get malware from browsing a site. One recent example is Facebook, Twitter, Apple and Microsoft—all four of those were in recent weeks infected by Web-based malware because their employees browsed to a work-related site about iPhone software development. It was a benign site that had been hacked and was spreading malware, so their employees visited that site and their networks got compromised. In fact, 75 percent of organizations are victims of cyber attacks and the attacks cost enterprises an average of $5.5 million a year—so if they’re not using our product and they’re compromised, it could cost them $5.5 million to fix it up.
Q. Tell us more about the unique and innovative things your company is doing. How is it moving the industry forward?
A. Most traditional security software products focus on detection-based security. They’re using filters, algorithms, signatures and some sort of intelligence behind the scenes to try and determine whether something is safe or dangerous. For example, anti-virus will scan files to try to determine if something is malicious based on their signatures. The flaw with these technologies is that that there’s so much malware coming out—for example, there’s 16,000 new malicious websites and 80,000 new malware variants created every day, so there’s such an abundance of malware that’s being spread that it’s impossible for these detection based software systems to be able to know exactly what’s safe and what’s not. There’s a lot of malware that sneaks by them because they aren’t able to detect it as malware. That’s the flaw in detection based security. What we do instead is isolation based security. We assume that everything is bad, everything is malicious and we keep it contained in an area where it can run if necessary, but it doesn’t do any harm to the network or the computer. It cannot reach any customer or company data. It’s just isolated all by itself where we can wipe it.
Q. If Light Point Security were to win prize money in the contest, how would it use the money to further its goals?
That money would be tremendous for us. Right now, it’s just the two of us and we’ve been entirely self-funded up to this point. We started with just 10,000 and we’ve built a really complex product just with that little bit of money. We would use it to further our marketing, maybe hire a marketing specialist, as well as hire a software developer to help us further our product, to get it refined and add some nice features that people have been asking us for.