The UK’s National Cybersecurity Center (NCSC) has selected five start-ups to help tackle the constant threat of ransomware attacks.

In response to a global wave of increasingly frequent and sophisticated ransomware attacks in 2021, NCSC and startup incubator Plexal have called on the private sector in January 2022 for companies working on new ideas and technologies to participate in their joint venture. NCSC for start-ups. initiative.

NCSC – part of the British signal intelligence agency GCHQ – said at the time that it wanted to hear from start-ups that: they believe they can provide more accessible and cheaper forms of protection and mitigation; work on protected archives or other technologies that can minimize the impact of a ransomware attack, if any; and have developed technology that addresses the risks posed by the Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) in support of remote workers.

Another goal of the accelerator is to develop technologies that can be used by SMEs and organizations with fewer resources to protect themselves.

Joining the initiative, the five selected startups will be able to develop, adapt and pilot technologies to help tackle the ransomware threat, which the government has identified as “the UK’s most significant cyber threat” in its National cyber strategypublished in February.

In addition to seminars on marketing, financing and business development, start-ups will have access to technical experts and NCSC incident response teams.

Startups include Cyntegraworking on technology to help organizations recover operations after ransom software or another cyber attack; Goldilock, which develops physical hardware to create an air gap between online and offline systems, in turn isolating assets and networks from the Internet; and Vault Sentinel, which aims to help customers minimize downtime and reduce the recovery of their cyber attacks from weeks to days.

Other startups include Validato, a security testing platform that simulates threat scenarios to help companies test their defenses, and SOS Intelligence, which works on automation technology that collects pre-selected keywords from organizations and then scans the dark web, devouring threat data and searching for mentions of these keywords in Telegram channels or forums.

“Ransomware remains the biggest cyber threat to organizations in the UK, and tackling it requires a collective effort,” said Chris Enzor, NCSC’s deputy director of cyber growth.

“The five companies selected to join the NCSC for Startups initiative offer a variety of innovative approaches to tackling ransomware – we look forward to working with them and ultimately furthering the UK’s cybersecurity.”

Saj Huq, Chief Sales Officer at Plexal, added: “The potential for innovative and new ways to deal with ransom software can often be overlooked. Startups selected to meet this challenge will experience a unique opportunity to collaborate with Plexal and NCSC, gaining critical insights and developing solutions to increase society’s resilience to unprecedented digital risks and increasingly motivated threats.

The NCSC Startup Initiative is also supported by Deloitte, the Cheltenham-based cybernetics firm CyNam, a provider of QA technical skills and the Cheltenham-based Hub8 collaboration space. The initiative itself is also run by Cheltenham, where GCHQ is based.

Steve Barkley, lead minister of cyber affairs and chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, said: “We have long recognized the importance of cybersecurity, but with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine there is an increased risk of activity, which means more urgency. visible. That’s why it’s so important for government and business to work together to counter the threats we face. “

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