Corelight closes $9.2M Series A to help enterprises battle ransomware

Its already been a year of multiple high profile ransomware attacksand now cybersecurity startup Corelight has bagged a $9.2 million Series A round, led by Accel Partners. Osage University Partners and Riverbed Technology Co-founder Dr Steve McCanne also participated in the round.

Preventing ransomware is among the listed use-cases for the startups first product, the Corelight Sensor, which it describes as a flight data recorder for its target enterprise customers networks allowing them to quickly and easily go back in time to try to understand sophisticated cyber attacks.

As well asinvestigating and preventing ransomware, the product aims to address other security threats including denial of service, unauthorized access, misconfiguration, abuse, exfiltration of data, malware infection, insider threat, port scanning, advanced persistent threat, plus phishing and other mail-based attacks or incidents.

Corelights investment comes against a backdrop of existing enterprise market traction for its network visibility products whichare themselves built atop a widely used open source framework (called Bro) which co-founderDr Vern Paxson began developing all the way back in 1995 when he was working at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Users of the Bro framework are slated to include Amazon andDeloitte.

The teams route for commercializing their open source framework is via Corelights turn-key solutions forenterprise network visibility which they say reduce deployment time and complexity.

The Corelight Sensor also offers paying customers a comprehensive API; enterprise integrations for Splunk, Amazon S3 and Kafka; performance optimizations yielding 3-4x higher data processing throughput compared to standard servers; a high performance FPGA-based network interface card; optimized file extraction and log filtering.

Commenting on the Series A in a statement, Accels Eric Wolford, said: We often invest in very widely-used open source projects. But its uncommon for them to have much enterprise market traction. And whats highly unusual for a Series A company like Corelight is to have a shipping product built on battle-hardened open source software and dozens of paying customers including six of the Fortune 100, plus one of the largest private companies in the US. Ive never seen that before.

Corelight said the Series A funding will be used to accelerate its growth plans to meet market demand for its products through investments in sales, marketing and engineering.

Were busy working on a series of new features customers are asking for so they can focus effort away from sensor management and towards higher-value activities like data analysis, threat hunting and incident response, noted Greg Bell, CEO of Corelight, in a statement.

We help our customers solve cybersecurity problems faster than they can today, often decreasing the time to resolve incidents from hours and days down to minutes. This new investment will accelerate our progress.

Prior to taking in VC funding, the San Francisco-based company has been supported by an SBIR grant, while the Bro project was initially funded by the National Science Foundation at the International Computer Science Institute.

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Early Bitcoin Investor Has Some Advice On How Much Money to Hold in Bitcoin

As bitcoin approaches yet another record, Union Square Ventures LLC’s Fred Wilson says investors should be careful how much of their portfolios are allocated to digital currencies.

Wilson, who first invested in the sector in 2013, wants to set the record straight on exactly what percentage of someone’s investments should be tied to things like bitcoin.

“I have about five percent of our net worth in crypto assets, across a number of vehicles; direct holdings, Union Square funds, token funds, etc.,” Wilson said in a blog post. “I think that’s likely at the high end of what the average person should have, but I also think its not a ridiculous number for the average person to have.”

If someone had invested in bitcoin the same day that Wilson announced his venture capital firm’s investment in Coinbase Inc., a trading platform for cryptocurrencies, they would have seen their investment rise a whopping 5,000 percent.

Here’s a look at how much a few different types of investor should have tied to cryptocurrencies, according to Wilson:

  • Young, aggressive risk takers should have the highest allocation at 10 percent of net worth
  • Someone who’s a sophisticated investor, but maybe not as much of a risk taker should have 5 percent
  • The everyday investor who’s more conservative, but still willing to take on some risk should devote 3 percent
  • Someone at the retirement age and simply trying to preserve their portfolio shouldn’t have anything in crypto

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    Why Arbitrage Traders Are Salivating Over Bitcoin Futures

    The proverbial free lunch is just sitting there in the hours-old bitcoin futures market. So why isn’t it being gobbled up?

    Cboe Global Markets Inc.’s new contracts were priced as much as 13 percent higher than bitcoin itself since trading began Sunday night, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

    That should have arbitrage traders salivating, especially among market makers starving after their — already successful and hugely profitable — efforts to make other similar assets trade in lockstep. Pity the poor S&P 500 arb living off spreads well below 1 percent, or merger arbs in the U.S., where the median gap is just north of 1 percent, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

    “Arbitrage will close that gap, but it will be days and weeks,” Cboe Chief Executive Officer Ed Tilly said on Bloomberg Television Monday, less than a day after launching the product.

    Arbs make money when two strongly related assets converge in price, selling the one they consider pricey, buying the other, profiting off the difference.

    Their job is a little complicated with these futures. Bitcoin’s wild volatility makes it harder to predict where the most-active contract, which expires in January, will settle, Tilly added. Only a few thousand contracts have traded so far, perhaps not enough to exert much influence on the cryptocurrency. And some investors might be willing to pay a premium for futures on a regulated market instead of going to the trouble of creating accounts at bitcoin exchanges, which have been repeatedly hacked with millions of dollars worth of tokens stolen.

    “People feel a lot more comfortable in the futures on the Cboe than on an unregulated exchange,” said Kevin Kelly, managing partner of Benchmark Investments, which analyzes futures markets to develop indexes. 

    Then there’s the fact that when the Cboe contracts expire, buyers get cash, not bitcoin itself. When a derivative is cash-settled, that tends to weaken links to an underlying asset.

    “If you’re doing a cash-settled future, it’s just a bet,” said Aaron Brown, a former managing director at quant hedge fund AQR Capital Management who invests in the cryptocurrency and writes for Bloomberg Prophets. “If that’s not related to any underlying physical transaction, the only people who want to do it are gamblers.” The wide arb spread is “a big issue. It’s an illiquidity, it has to go away.” 

    Soon, Cboe won’t be the sole regulated exchange offering bitcoin futures. Rival CME Group Inc. will launch its own contracts on Dec. 18. And Nasdaq Inc. is planning to bring a competing product to market next year, Bloomberg News recently reported

    The price gap between bitcoin and bitcoin futures won’t last forever, said Dave Weisberger, CEO of CoinRoutes, a cryptocurrency data and order routing company.

    “The futures will ping-pong between premium and discount,” he said. “I suspect at some point, potentially triggered by a negative event, it will flip. Markets go up and down, and bitcoin has been no different. It’s just been fast.”

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      NYC Brothel Customer? The Feds Now Have Your Number

      Eleven Manhattan Korean ‘massage parlors’ that allegedly offered girls up for explicit sex acts were busted on Wednesday in a widespread sting.”>

      Depending on the neighborhood in Manhattan, a person could go to Fantasia on the Lower East Side, Asian Flower in Murray Hill, Rose House in Midtown or eight other massage parlors offering a premium-priced girlfriend experiencemeaning condom-less sex acts, priced at a premiumaccording to charges the feds unsealed Wednesday.

      And if your phone number was one of the 70,000 different ones that called any of the 11 places, all of them knew about youand now the government does, too.

      The places operated as a sort of fetish franchise, with owners sharing information on customers and warnings about cops. The women who worked there came from South Korea, often rotating between the parlors to appeal to customers looking for new girls, according to the 30-page criminal complaint filed in New Yorks Southern District Court, which charged 11 owners, workers and ad placers with money laundering and conspiracy.

      The Brothels were independently owned, but assist each other, the complaint reads. For example, the Brothels share a customer list, employed overlapping groups of women, and exchanged information regarding law enforcement.

      As to the 70,000 numbers, those were on a list [that] was divided into multiple categories, including, among other things, approved customers and suspected law enforcement. In addition the list contained notes about the customers.

      A person with personal knowledge of many of the establishments and people named in the charges, and who asked to remain anonymous, praised the government papers for accurately describing the mechanics of the sex business, and elaborated on that list:

      If you call up, they have a laptop with a database and they tap in the last four numbers and youre blue, yellow or redfor good, marginal, or no wayso they all have it and its very accurate. Plus brief notes.

      If it were you for example, the person told a reporter, and you divulged who you are, it would say Daily Beast editor, dark hair, beard, nice guy. Or asshole, depending on how you acted.

      They log whatever name you give them unless youre stupid enough to have your name on your phone but a lot of these guys use burners. The guys who are married and the guys who are important, they get trick phones specifically for this.

      The federal investigation tracked $1.4 million in allegedly laundered funds over five years, with much of it washed through Bitcoin, gift cards and other difficult-to-trace transactions. But thats likely a small fraction of the money the operations brought in, the person with knowledge of the businesses said (and back of the envelope math also suggests).

      I would say that at $1,000 a day, they break even, the person said. And bear in mind that often the owner also works in the room, so when she gets booked shes getting it all. For other workers, the house usually take $100 from each customer, with them paying $200 an hour, or $350 for a girlfriend experience. A good place will bring in 20 to 30 guys on a good day. After the first ten, its all profit.

      The GFE thing, the house still gets $100. Bear in mind that most of the owners work in the room so theyre respectfullike, nobody wants to do that shit so let the girls make the extra money.

      South Koreans can travel to the United States fairly easily with a visa waiver, the criminal complaint notes, so the women can arrange for their travel themselves for the most part, with no need for the brokers who once facilitated bogus tourist and student visas for women they then connected with brothel owners here.

      Make sure you put in that nobodys trafficked and that everyone was doing it of their own volition, the person with first-hand knowledge of the business said. If it was a shithole and it was dirty and the girls were doing cocaine all day, thatd be one kind of thing. But thats not the case here. These girls are here to work, and make money.

      Or, as the charging papers detail, most women now make their own way to the States, with no need for brokers and at least (s)ome of the women fully intending to work illegally as prostituted women upon their arrival.

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      Among the 11 people charged were son-and-mother duo Ryan Lion King Kim and Hoi Ham, who allegedly discussed how to hide their money on the chat app KakaoTalk and quoted in the charging papers. At one point, Ham says shes worried that the website the brothel advertises on leaves evidence. Kim tells "mom" that she should use that evidence when filing taxes. As teaching piano.

      Even after this law enforcement bust, there are still a lot of piano teachers working in Manhattan. Along a stretch in Midtown, ground level is all sandwich shops, bank branches, hotel lobbies, and kitsch gift shops. One story up, its clairvoyant parlors, tailor shops and a lot of Asian spas.

      On Wednesday evening, another spa, which advertises massage services on the sex-work website Backpage, had its marquee posted above a ground-floor hobby shop, where a clanging train bell played on constant loop in the buildings lobby.

      Hot Lips, another massage parlor on the same block, which was named in the Southern Court indictment, could not be reached by phone or doorbell.

      Still another massage parlor on West 45th St. was also charged. To get to that onewhich, the person with knowledge of the parlors said, was exceptional in that it also provides actual massagesyou need to know where to find it. Located in a narrow, nondescript office building, the Manhattan Rainbow Spa posts no signage or advertisements outside or in the lobby. The building security guard operating the elevators quickly surmised that a Daily Beast reporter (the one without the beard) did not have an appointment upstairs.

      The reporter then called the spa from the lobby and heard voice on the other end. It was the only time any of the brothels had answered a call all day.

      The reporter asked: Have the police been there?

      No, no, the woman on the other end replied. A long pause, and then: Are you calling for a massage?

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      Bitcoin Plunges 29% From Record High

      Bitcoin plummeted, extending its drop to 29 percent from a record high, on speculation some traders were buying its offshoot amid a struggle over the digital currency’s future.

      Bitcoin dropped to as low as $5,605 on Monday, from a record high $7,882 reached on Wednesday, data compiled by Bloomberg show. Bitcoin cash rose to $2,426 on Sunday, before plunging to $1,379 as of 9:32 a.m. in Hong Kong, according to

      Bitcoin has slumped since the cancellation of a technology upgrade to increase its block size, amid speculation supporters of the proposal bid up bitcoin cash to undermine the original bitcoin.

      “It’s the bitcoin cash pump,” said Arthur Hayes, chief executive officer of BitMEX, a cryptocurrency exchange based in Hong Kong. “It’s obviously a coordinated action of certain individuals who have a vested interest in bitcoin cash.”

      At the heart of the debate is how bitcoin’s underlying technology can accommodate rising transactions as its popularity booms. While increasing its block size would help, opponents argue it would only concentrate mining power, undermining the decentralized nature of bitcoin.

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