Cybersecurity / Funding / Startups

IoT security startup ReFirm Labs raises $2M

The Maryland company is looking to raise awareness about the need to secure firmware, aka the software powering connected devices.

Fulton-based IoT security startup ReFirm Labs raised $2 million in new funding, announced CEO Derick Naef.

The funding, dubbed a Pre-A round, was led by Fulton-based cybersecurity startup studio DataTribe and New Dominion Angels. Maryland’s TEDCO and Virginia-based Tysons Angel Investors also participated. The company previously raised $1.5 million, which was also led by DataTribe.

“ReFirm Labs has ingeniously devised a simple and reliable way for monitoring security across an entire system of deployed IoT devices, and we’re very excited to invest in their growth and continued product development,” Tony Surak, a partner and CMO at DataTribe, said in a statement.

Founded in 2017 by former National Security Agency technologists, ReFirm Labs makes a product that tests firmware, which is the type of software that controls the hardware of a connected device. Called Centrifuge Platform, the product is designed to ferret out potential places where an attacker could gain entry, and also continues to monitor the software.

“Our approach is really about allowing you to proactively scan the firmware before you put it on a network and identify that these [devices] have known vulnerabilities,” Naef said. The platform can be used both by manufacturers looking to build secure products, and developers looking to make sure what they deploy is safe.

Naef said firmware is one of the “underappreciated attack vectors” in the realm of cybersecurity, and the growth of connected devices is only making this more apparent.

The company has been seeing interest from the telecommunications industry, where companies are readying infrastructure for 5G. The increased connectivity offered by that next-generation wireless technology will also mean more devices coming online that create new applications. Yet from a security expert’s point of view, that means more places for attackers to gain entry.

“If you’re not securing firmware in devices or 5G infrastructure, that’s basically creating more attack vectors for the bad guys to get in,” he said.

ReFirm Labs also has customers working in drones, cloud infrastructure and data centers, automotive and healthcare.

The funding will allow the company to ramp up sales and marketing as it seeks to raise awareness in the market. The company is also continuing to develop the product, Naef said. Based out of DataTribe’s offices, the eight-member team could grow in the area on both the product and sales and marketing sides in the coming months with new hires.

Companies: ReFirm Labs

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