Milan, November 23, 2018. United Ventures, an independent Italian venture capital manager specializing in software and a digital innovative company announced a €2 million “Round A” investment today in favor of EXEIN. EXEIN is a cybersecurity startup that deals with the security of the Internet of Things (IoT) and critical industrial infrastructure devices. The investment aims at further developing its product and its unique feature: a firmware-embedded security software that can operate offline with no cloud computing thanks to advanced code optimization.
EXEIN was founded in July 2018 by Gianni Cuozzo as a spin-off of Aspisec, a leading cybersecurity company in Italy. It aims to address the huge security threat posed by smart-connected devices and their firmware vulnerability. EXEIN is the first company to produce middleware software for firmware security that can be incorporated into the hardware. It operates directly on the firmware for a deeper-level defense from inside.
Currently, the latest security standards protect and optimize the IoT and smart-connected platforms, but not the firmware. Hardware manufacturers are competing to create cheaper components in order to increase sales, expand their user database, and then provide such data to profiling companies. As a result, the budget dedicated to the firmware is insufficient (less than 30% of the total budget for each device) and only 1% is destined for security, thus leaving a huge margin of vulnerability.
Attacks and firmware exploitation escalates by 50% every year in our increasingly interconnected world. Firmware issues constitute the most dangerous threat to the public and private life of people given the possibility of hacking devices to make them perform unauthorized actions, such as random system shutdowns or credentials collection.
Gianni Cuozzo, founder and CEO of EXEIN, said:
The IoT market is set to reach $267 billion by 2020. Similarly, the market for supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) in the same period will reach $32.7 billion. Now, as 90% of firmware is vulnerable, it is very clear how vital the need for a unique solution, such as EXEIN, is. EXEIN is not just a retrofitting application. It is also compatible with most firmware, such as bare metal, real-time, and Linux-based firmware. We are excited to continue this project with the United Ventures funding, which represents a real breath of fresh air. We hope that our cybersecurity tools will benefit many companies and public bodies.
Massimiliano Magrini, United Ventures Co-Founder and Managing Partner, stressed:
Leaders determine the success of a start-up company, and with EXEIN we are investing in highly talented and experienced entrepreneurs. Analyst at NATO and United Nations workshops and nominated by the MIT Technology Review for the ‘Under 35 Innovators’ Italy award, Gianni has proven excellent in bringing together entrepreneurial and technical skills. We are excited to invest in his company and the goal of protecting the privacy and security of millions of people around the world.
The innovative EXEIN solution includes an automatic inversion and compilation system, continuous firmware control, and dynamic threat control directly on the device through the network equipment. Further, it can perform all its operations without consuming external computational power or memory and with no internet connection. Among its main features, the following stand out: local and cloud-distributed Artificial Intelligence; autonomy; offline monitoring; precise profiling of hardware behavior, as well as the presence of a parallel learning system that generates a correct pattern analysis, thus allowing for the creation of an ideal operating model.