Alphabet unveils new cyber security business

Google parent company Alphabet announced it is deploying a new security firm dubbed Chronicle, with the aim of helping businesses recognize and thwart cyber attacks. The company will leverage Google’s computing and storage infrastructure, as well as machine learning technologies, to enable companies to analyze their security data.

Cyber attacks have been on the rise over the past few year, which has increased spending on security solutions in return. Last September, for example, Equifax announced that the personal information of potentially 143 million U.S. citizens had been accessed by hackers between mid-May and July, marking one of the biggest security breaches not just of the year, but history. According to a​ report from Allied Market Research (AMR), the global managed security services market is projected to reach ​almost $41 billion by 2020.

Chronicle emerged in 2016 as a part of Alphabet’s “Moonshot factory” X group, a unit which focuses on testing self-driving cars, drones, wind energy kits, among other projects. The new company will be divided into two parts, according to Chronicle CEO Stephen Gillett. The first part involves a new cybersecurity intelligence and analytics platform intended to help companies break down and understand security data. The second part involves a malware intelligence service called VirusTotal, which Google acquired in 2012.

“The reality for most companies today when it comes to cybersecurity is reactive: find and clean up the damage,” Astro Teller, head of Alphabet’s X, wrote in a company blog post. “The real moonshot, which is still several years away, is predicting and deflecting cyber attacks before they infiltrate an organization’s network.”

Although Chronicle has been kept under wraps over the last couple years, the unit has collaborated with some Fortune 500 companies to help test and preview its cybersecurity platform. “None of us have to settle for cyber crime being a fact of life, or for a reactive, expensive existence of cleanup and damage control,” wrote Gillett. “We’re looking forward to working with many organizations in the coming years to give good the advantage again.”

The announcement of Alphabet’s Chronicle occurred the same week Amazon said it will acquire security start up Sqrrl. The deal comes at a time when Amazon is looking to attract more companies from U.S. intelligence agencies. Financial details regarding the acquisition have yet to be disclosed.

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