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Norse – and a lesson for all of us

Posted by on January 30, 2016.

Hearing that Norse is apparently on the verge of imploding (see Krebs) reminded me of a conversation I had with Ilia Kolochenko, founder and CEO of High-Tech Bridge, last year. The gist of that conversation – paraphrased, not in his own words – is that security has become a safe haven for money men.

The economy has been difficult for some years. Traditional and established industries have suffered; but not security. The security industry has defied economics and has continued to grow, fanned by annually increasing corporate security budgets. As a result, new start-ups have blossomed; with money men queuing up to invest in the industry. You don’t need a good product to attract investment, you just need a good argument.

The result is that the security industry has far too many companies that have more money than expertise. But they will inevitably, eventually, be found out and found wanting. Has this started? Is Norse one of these companies? Time will tell. If it has a valuable product or service, that at least will be saved or bought by another company.

One of the Norse employees unceremoniously dumped earlier this month described the company’s intelligence as little more than a large collection of standard logs. That would suggest that it is one of the companies that Kolochenko was describing – a greater ability to attract investment than to defend networks.

The lesson for all of us is not to be taken in by the hyperbolic FUD that surrounds cybersecurity. There is a problem and there are solutions – but probably fewer of either than we are led to believe. We need to look further and deeper before we part with our money.

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