BioCatch, an Israeli cyber-security start-up with a system that ferrets out hackers by checking how they move their mouse, said Tuesday that it raised $10 million in Series A financing. Blumberg Capital and Israeli crowdfunding VC firm OurCrowd led the round.
“Online finance and banking sites, among others, require users to enter names and passwords to gain access, but that still doesn’t guarantee security,” BioCatch CEO Benny Rosenbaum told the Times of Israel in a recent interview. “Our system provides a much better level of protection, checking over 400 bio-behavioral, cognitive and physiological parameters to create unique user profiles for visitors to banking and e-commerce sites.”
Similar to handwriting, said Rosenbaum, each user has an individual “web presence,” which describes a certain way they move their mouse, how fast they move it on the page, which links they click on and in what order and more. BioCatch calls this the Cognitive Signature, a sum total of all the factors that go into an interactive session. BioCatch’s technology can record all this information and associate it with the specific user who is logged in and interacting with the site.
When a user interacts with a BioCatch-powered site for the first time, the system records their behavior and adds it to their user profile, along with username and password information. When the user returns, the site’s authentication system checks the login information, while BioCatch checks to see if the user’s Cognitive Signature matches the one in their profile. If it doesn’t, that user is barred from accessing the online account and information, even if they have the right password.
BioCatch is deployed in eight banks, e-commerce sites and enterprises in six countries. Tuesday’s funding should help the company grow, a BioCatch statement said. “The capital will be used to expand R&D efforts and continue growth in key markets, including North America, Europe and Brazil,” the statement said. The system works on smartphones, tablets or PCs. In 2011, the company raised $4 million in seed money.
Last month, BioCatch released its e-commerce edition. The company said it could replace the CAPTCHA, the string of letters and numbers users need to authenticate that they are human and not a “bot,” a computer program that is part of an attack network controlled by a hacker, used to log onto sites and conduct denial of service attacks, among other things. Many users find CAPTCHAs annoying, as they are often displayed in strange fonts and on odd backgrounds in order to prevent a remote computer from automatically reading it and entering it in the authentication box. BioCatch’s system, said Rosenbaum, is capable of figuring out whether a remote user was man or machine, enabling sites to do away with the CAPTCHA.
“BioCatch’s goal is to provide effective fraud protection, while improving user experience for customers visiting banking and e-commerce sites,” said Rosenbaum. “This funding will allow us to continue strengthening our offering and expand our global reach in strategic markets, while keeping some of the world’s largest and most influential institutions safe and secure.”
Published by Times of Israel on June 17, 2014