Google X has launched a cybersecurity startup with a difference
Google X – the Alphabet incubator that hatched the company’s take on driverless cars, drones and Project Loon – has a new startup in its roster. A bit more prosaic than its past initiatives, Chronicle still has the power to make a huge difference to the world, as the company seeks to revolutionise the world of cybersecurity.
Chronicle – which squeaks in just behind Chrome in an alphabetical list of Alphabet properties – comes in two parts: the first is cybersecurity intelligence and analytics, which examines security data of large companies looking for threats. The second is VirusTotal – a malware intelligence service that Google purchased in 2012, but according to Stephen Gillett, the new company’s CEO, that part will continue to run as it has for the past six years.
“Thousands of potential clues about hacking activity are overlooked or thrown away each day,” Gillett wrote in a Medium post announcing the launch of Chronicle. This shortage of human eyes would be augmented by Chronicle, and a preview version has already been implemented at a number of Fortune 500 companies, the post explains. Using the same “fast, powerful, highly-scalable infrastructure that powers a range of other Alphabet initiatives,” Gillett says that Chronicle should be able to help employees zone in on suspicious threats in minutes, “rather than the hours or days it currently takes.”
On top of this, Google’s own storage should be helpful for analysing long-term attack patterns generated from multiple sources over a number of years, Gillett added. Machine learning and Google’s experience of search should make for a compelling cybersecurity package, Gillett reckons. “We hope that by making this mix of technologies available to more companies at affordable prices, we can give ‘the good guys’ an advantage and help us all turn the tide against cybercrime.”
What those affordable prices is unclear for now, but it should be enough to make existing enterprise cybersecurity solutions a little uneasy. When the financial muscle of Alphabet invades your turf, there’s very little you can do to prepare for the incoming shakeup. Still, by Gillett’s own admission the ambitious plan will take a fair amount of time to take shape. “We know this mission is going to take years, but we’re committed to seeing it through,” he wrote.
“None of us have to settle for cybercrime being a fact of life, or for a reactive, expensive existence of cleanup and damage control. We’re looking forward to working with many organisations in the coming years to give good the advantage again.”