EXEIN secures €2M for world-first firmware cybersecurity solution

November 23rd, 2018

United Ventures announces a €2 Million pre-Series A round of funding into EXEIN, the cybersecurity startup that seeks to secure the Internet of Things (IoT), industrial and critical infrastructure devices using a world-first firmware security solution that includes offline monitoring. The round represents the largest investment into Italy’s cyber security sector to date.

Founded in July 2018 by Gianni Cuozzo as a spin-off project undertaken by Italy’s leading cybersecurity firm, Aspisec, EXEIN looks to tackle the huge security threat posed by connected smart-devices and the vulnerabilities carried within their firmware.

IoT and smart-connected platforms are well-secured and optimized using the most recent security standards, however, firmware is not. Hardware manufacturers are racing to make the cheapest hardware possible in order to sell more devices, grow their installed base for collecting data and sell that data to profiling companies. The fall-out from this is that insufficient budget is set aside for the firmware (less than 30% of the device budget) and only 1% is allocated to security, leaving huge vulnerabilities.

In a connected world, these firmware issues are the most dangerous threat to public life and privacy since devices can be hacked and made to perform unauthorised actions including random system shutdowns or credential harvesting. Firmware attacks and exploitation are currently rising by 50% every year.

EXEIN provides a world-first firmware security software and middleware solution that can be injected like a vaccine inside the hardware in order to defend it from inside, working directly within the firmware at a lower level.

Key features of the EXEIN solution include:

– Autonomous Security –the EXEIN payload can perform security action in an autonomous way. Thanks to an embedded decision tree, EXEIN is capable of not only understanding malicious behaviour but performing security measures autonomously.

– Offline Monitoring – the EXEIN payload can work offline without using cloud computing and integrates itself directly into the firmware, thanks to the advanced code optimization EXEIN can perform all the operations without external computational power and storage. EXEIN can operate with or without Internet connection.

– Hardware Profiling – an advanced hardware profiling system allows precise tracking of the hardware behaviour and management of memory packets within the firmware memory.

– Parallel Learning – a parallel learning system reduces time to learn and create a correct pattern analysis thus enabling the creation of an ideal functioning model.

– Artificial Intelligence – artificial intelligence is distributed locally and in the cloud promotes a lower time to action compared to competing systems, ensuring greater security.

EXEIN was primarily developed as a continuous firmware protection middleware, focused on cybersecurity issues on firmware hijacking but it can be used to collect and implement:

  • Bandwidth usage metrics
  • Energy consumption metrics
  • Fault prevention algorithms integration
  • Hardware distribution metrics into networks
  • Net discovery protocol usage
  • Passive push of firmware update without firmware rebooting
  • Warranty process handling

Gianni Cuozzo, Founder and CEO of EXEIN said, “The IOT market is set to reach $267 Billion by 2020. The SCADA market is similarly reach $32.7 Billion by the same date and with 90% of firmware unsecured, there is a clear and vital need for a unique solution like EXEIN which is not only a retrofitting application but already compatible with most firmware such as baremetal firmware, real-time based firmware and linux based firmware. We are very excited to move our project forward with a fresh injection of funding from United Ventures and hope to benefit many businesses and the general public with our cybersecurity tools.”

EXEIN’s pioneering solution includes an auto-reverse and compiling system, continuous firmware checking and dynamic threat intelligence through the network appliance directly on the device.

The funding from United Ventures will ensure further research and development into the EXEIN solution which includes the task of rewriting mathematical theories.

Massimiliano Magrini, Co-Founder of United Ventures, remarked, “Critical to the success of any start-up is the people at the helm and with EXEIN, we are investing in a very talented entrepreneur with proven track record. A regular attendee of NATO workshops and nominated for the MIT Italy ‘Innovators Under 35 Award’, Gianni has proven excellence in combining entrepreneurial and technical capability. We are incredibly excited to be investing in his company with the mission of protecting the privacy and security of millions around the world ”.

UV2’s investment in Exein is also supported by the European Investment Fund through InnovFin Equity, with financial backing from the European Union under the financial instruments of Horizon 2020 and the European Fund for Strategic Investments (“EFSI”) established under the Investment Plan for Europe. The purpose of EFSI is to support the financing and implementation of productive investments in the European Union and ensure greater access to finance.

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