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Barr Ellison Solicitors – commercial property
23 February, 2022 - 10:10 By Tony Quested

Darktrace turns screw on cyber spies with $53.7m swoop and $multimillion haul

Cambridge cyber security tech world leader Darktrace is enhancing its defence armoury for global clients through a key strategic acquisition – unveiled just days after securing a third blockbusting contract.

The UK stock rose 15.6p – almost 4.5 per cent – to 359.4p per share when the markets opened this morning on news that Darktrace was paying  $53.7 million in cash and equity for Dutch company Cybersprint.

Cybersprint is an attack surface management company that provides continuous, real-time insights from an outside-in perspective to eliminate blind spots and detect risks. 

The acquisition is aligned with Darktrace’s vision of delivering a ‘Continuous Cyber AI Loop’ and complements its self-learning technology and inside-out view.

Darktrace gains an additional European R & D centre based in The Hague when the deal completes on or around March 1. It will be settled via 75 per cent in cash and 25 per cent equity, valuing the transaction at approximately 12.5 times Cybersprint’s annual recurring revenue. 

Cybersprint’s attack surface management data can enrich existing Darktrace Detect and Respond products with external vulnerability data and accelerate the company’s market entry into new areas like proactive AI cyber security. For example, this capability will be introduced as a new module in the Prevent product family, feeding organisation-specific web data to Darktrace’s Attack Path Modeling technology. 

Darktrace CEO Poppy Gustafsson said she was “very excited” by the potential of the tie-up. She said: “Bringing inside-out and outside-in visibility together is critical and having access to the robust, rich, real-time external dataset combined with Darktrace’s Self-Learning AI means that customers get a holistic view of prioritised cyber risks to harden the parts of their organisation that are most vulnerable.

“With this acquisition we are able to leverage Cybersprint’s seven years of R & D to accelerate our Prevent product family – ultimately making it much harder for cyber-attackers to carry out successful missions.” 

The acquisition comes hot on the heels of a fresh contract success for Darktrace which has clinched a multi-million-dollar contract with one of the world’s largest semiconductor companies. The client has been using Darktrace’s Self Learning AI to protect its enterprise from cyber-attacks and threats. 

The customer has tens of thousands of employees working across labs and manufacturing sites worldwide. It has chosen to continue using Darktrace’s Enterprise Immune System as the semiconductor industry, which has a strong focus on R & D and holds large volumes of commercially sensitive data, faces a growing level of attacks from both insider-threat and espionage-driven adversaries seeking to steal valuable IP and proprietary solutions.

Self-Learning AI is ideally positioned to address these challenges as it does not rely on historical attack data but learns ‘self’ for an organisation. It constantly builds on its understanding of ‘normal’, meaning it is equipped to spot and stop never-before-seen attacks, whether they are insider threats or advanced, nation-state-led attempts to compromise data. 

The sheer volume of attacks today cannot be managed by humans alone – AI is needed to rapidly and precisely catch threats before they escalate.
This renewal follows the publication of an independent survey of businesses that have trialled, used or currently use Darktrace’s products, conducted by the equity research team at investment bank Berenberg. 

The survey found not only that 100 per cent of customers surveyed were satisfied with Darktrace’s products, but that 65 per cent expected to invest further in the Cambridge specialist’s technology in the future. 

Gustafsson said: “I am very happy that this leading innovator has extended its contract with us, indicating the value that our AI-powered technology brings to the business. 

“Defending the semiconductor industry is critical for our national security, especially at a time when the sector is facing supply shortages. We are proud to be playing a role in the defence of this space with Self-Learning AI, which intelligently detects and interrupts threats while business operations continue as normal.”

As Business Weekly previously reported, Darktrace has also recently won two other mega contracts – one a multimillion dollar deal with a world leader in aviation and the other a $1m contract with a global electronics business.

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