Dr. Anarban Banarjee, is the the Vice President of Research and the co-founder of StopTheHacker , a company specializing in distributing a suite of security technologies. Dr. Banarjee graduated with a Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of California. His thesis research includes well over 20 published papers in areas of internet security, measurements and web technology. Over the last few years, Dr. Barnajee has garnered respect among the web security community, rapidly advancing as a recognized authority in the fight against underground cyber crime. Dr. Banarjee’s profound expertise in Artificial Intelligence and web security along with his exuberant passion for innovative product development have propelled StopTheHacker into the much coveted position as one of the tech industry’s hottest startups.
The Asian Entrepeneur speaks with Dr. Banarjee today about his startup as part of the feature of the week.
Why is StopTheHacker relevant?
We know that about 6.000 Websites get blacklisted daily creating lost revenue and loss of confidence oft he visitors fort he owner when your site is down while you fix the problem. These websites mostly get blacklisted because hackers inject malicious code. Websites get hacked because they are vulnerable as companies are spending less time scanning and finding vulnerabilities since they can’t keep up with them anyway. Instead, companies moving their focus on scanning their websites daily or hourly to find out IF they are actually infected so they can act immediately.
While traditional AV scans website protection scans using signature based approaches only catch 50% of this dynamically changed and intelligent adjusted malicious codes, StopTheHackers AI based engine and advanced Machine Based Learning techniques can catch these never before seen malware.
How did StopTheHacker start?
The genesis began in around 2006 to 2007 when I was analyzing websites that distribute copyright content for peer to peer networks and found that a significant number of them seemed to harbor malware. This was followed up with more analysis into the types of web-malware prevalent on websites, leading to building of an early prototype that could detect web-malware.
Tell us about the state of internet security today.
The state of security is changing quite fast. The techniques that used to be standard to catch, and fix issues can no longer keep up with the pace at which malware is changing and the level of sophistication that is now seen in various types of malware. The Internet is also responding by implementing different kinds of behavioral technology to rise up and meet the challenge.
Do you think much improvements can be made with the current existing security technologies?
There are many aspects that can be improved, from application security, powering websites, to malware detection and much more. There is a lot of scope on building trust in browsers to execute code that we all trust as a community.
In opinion, why does Internet Security matter today?
It matters greatly. Consider the fact that billions of transactions occur on the Internet everyday, millions of business host websites, interact with their customers via their websites, social network personas and what not. If individuals and companies do not pay attention to Internet security, all this flexibility can come crashing down. Will people trust an unsafe Internet? No, they will be fearful of it, the ramifications can be tremendous, if people are afraid of visiting sites, consuming valuable information from the Internet.
So tell us about the startup process, how was it like?
The Company was founded in January 2009. First steps we took were to spend the grants we received from the National Science Foundation to develop and commercialize the artificial intelligence engine that our co founder Anirban Banerjee invented during hi PhD research. This engine allows us to catch never before seen malware, which is becoming increasingly important as traditional signature based and anti virus based security solutions can’t keep up with the changing threat landscape. The experience was challenging, but extremely illuminating. Talking to customers, understanding requirement they teach you a lot about how you think a product can be consumed by an end client is not really how the end client may want to use to solve the problem. For the first few years we tuned the prototypes, gathering feedback getting sales going, and then went full steam on building partner networks and selling to live customers.
Did you encounter any difficulties during the startup?
Yes, you have to be ready to work long hours, you have to be ready to change your mindset and listen to the customer, understand what the problem is, how they want the solution to work. Sometimes its hard and one can think, why does the customer not get it and its at that moment you realize. Hmm, maybe the product needs to change a bit. You have to be able to accept failures.
And how did you guys overcome these difficulties?
I had very good support from my co-founder and family. They encouraged me constantly and never let me get down. Its important to have friends who can help you see things rationally and not get disappointed.
How do you guys approach business development?
We sign up partners who resell our products through the hosting channel and also sell products via partners who are affiliates. We sign on both kinds of partners and work with them to make their time investment successful.
In what ways does StopTheHacker stand out from competitors existing in the market?
While our competition focus on the traditional approach of signature based protection and manual cleanings, StopTheHacker leads the way with its sophisticated AI engine, using machine learning techniques to catch 50% more malware, even never before seen malware, then everyone else and automated process of malware cleanup. In addition StopTheHacker delivers by far the most advanced features set including Facebook protection.
In your opinion, what are the ingredients to entrepreneurial success?
There are essentially 3 things and it’s really as simple as that. Focus on revenue, talk to customers and make sure you always get feedback from peers. Please think long and hard about doing a startup, there are lots of benefits, just make sure you think through it before. There will be tough times, but you will also have fun!
Connect with Dr. Anirban Banerjee and StopTheHacker today: