Area 1's Oren Falkowitz was among CEOs who pitched for Fortune Magazine's Brainstorm Tech Unicorn Idol 2015. The judges were Amy Banse, managing director at Comcast Ventures; Brad Feld, managing director at Foundry Group; and David Stern, former commissioner of the National Basketball Association (21 July 2015). The winner of this competition was the start-up Accion. Video Source: Youtube.
According to an NYT report from 11 June 2016, ex-NSA hackers formed a start-up in 2013 called Area 1, based in Redwood City, California, USA. They have hacked Chinese hackers attacking American targets; and they have hacked North Korea's missile launch systems. In this overlap between public and private interests, with a whiff of government contracts and outsourcing national security, Edward Snowden responded in social media. He wondered why classified information was shared in a mainstream press piece, which also promoted this new company in the area of 'threat intelligence.' NYT:
"Area 1 was founded by three former N.S.A. analysts, Mr. Darché, Oren Falkowitz and Phil Syme. The three sat side by side at Fort Meade, tracking and, in some cases, penetrating adversaries’ weapons systems for intelligence. A little over two years ago, they decided to start their own company and raised $25.5 million in funding from major venture capitalists and security entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley, including Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers and Cowboy Ventures, and security veterans like Ray Rothrock, the chief executive of RedSeal, and Derek Smith, the chief executive of Shape Security.
Area 1 is a new player in threat intelligence, a nascent subsector of the security business that includes companies like iSight Partners and Recorded Future that track attackers in underground web forums and on social media, gleaning intelligence about them.
Threat intelligence is still more art than science. The jury is still out on whether companies are equipped to use that intelligence to thwart hackers. Area 1 claims that it can head off attacks through the compromised servers it is tracking. It can also use its vantage point to see where attackers are setting up shop on the web and how they plan to target their intended victims."
Area 1 CEO and co-founder Oren Falkowitz. In 2015, Area 1 raised USD $15 million in support from Icon Ventures and Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers. Image Source: Fortune.
Ex-NSA hackers, now a startup, tell NYT they hacked North Korea's missile launch systems. https://t.co/MjgBIlFmIo pic.twitter.com/Oq5WwQekA0— Christopher Soghoian (@csoghoian) June 12, 2016
NSA's #TAO has an ECI compartment for these ops details. First time I've seen Top Secret material in a press pitch. https://t.co/ypaoDqvFbj— Edward Snowden (@Snowden) June 12, 2016