Three companies and leaders who think differently about security: Deep Instinct, most innovative startup; Vectra, most innovative emerging company; Paul Vixie, most innovative thought leader.

Dark Reading this year is launching a new annual awards program, the Best of Black Hat Awards, which recognizes innovative companies and business leaders on the conference’s exhibit floor.
The 2016 Dark Reading Best of Black Hat Awards recognize three categories of achievement: the Most Innovative Startup, which cites companies that have been in the industry for three years or less; the Most Innovative Emerging Company, which cites companies that have been operating for three to five years; and the Most Innovative Thought Leader, which recognizes individuals from exhibiting companies who are changing the way the industry thinks about security.
These new awards, chosen by the editors of Dark Reading, are not an endorsement of any product, but are designed to recognize innovative technology ideas and new thinking in the security arena.
In future years, Dark Reading hopes to expand the awards program to recognize new products in different categories, as well as more individuals who are making a difference in the way we think about security.
Most Innovative Startup: Deep InstinctThe finalists for our Most Innovative Startup Award are Deep Instinct, which is driving past machine learning with an artificial intelligence concept called deep learning; Phantom, a security orchestration tool that provides a layer of connective tissue between existing security products; and SafeBreach, which provides a hacker’s view of enterprise security posture.
The winner is: Deep Instinct. Here’s what our judges wrote about Deep Instinct: 
“This was not an easy decision—each of the finalists, Phantom, Deep Instinct, and SafeBreach, bring really intriguing and useful technology to the security problem.
In the end, we selected Deep Instinct as the Most Innovative Startup. Here’s why:  the concept of a cerebral system to detect malware and malicious activity at the point of entry in real-time and quashing it then and there solves many of the other security problems down the line.
If the tool can catch the malware when it hits the endpoint, a security pro theoretically wouldn’t need to check out security alerts, correlate them among various security tools and threat intel feeds, and then take the appropriate action (sometimes too late).

And unlike traditional antivirus, this technology looks at all types of threats, not just known malware, which of course is key today given the polymorphic nature of malware.
We considered Deep Instinct’s approach of automatically stopping a threat at the endpoint, where it first comes in, using software that can on its own understand that it’s a threat and continuously learn about threats as unique and promising for security organizations.

Deep learning is the next stage of machine learning, mimicking the brain’s ability to learn and make decisions, and Deep Instinct is the first company to apply this type of artificial intelligence to cybersecurity, which also made it a top choice.
In addition, benchmark tests of Deep Instinct’s technology indicate a high degree of accuracy in detecting malware, at 99.2%.

And unlike some endpoint security approaches, it occurs locally and there’s no sandbox or kicking it to the cloud for additional analysis.”
Most Innovative Emerging Company: VectraThe three finalists for our Most Innovative Emerging Company are SentinelOne, which combines behavioral-based inspection of endpoint system security processes with machine learning;  Vectra, which offers real-time detection of in-progress cyber attacks and helps prioritize the attacks based on business priority; and ZeroFOX, which monitors social media to help protect against phishing attacks and account compromise.
And the winner is: Vectra. Here’s what our judges wrote about Vectra: 
“It was a tough choice, but in the end, we selected Vectra, because it addressed several of security professionals’ most persistent challenges, with solutions that were both inventive and practical.
Infosec pros are inundated with alerts about threats. Whether those warnings come from media reports, newsletters, or one of many pieces of security technology, it’s often hard to prioritize them. Maybe it was declared “critical,” but is it critical to me? Maybe it was “medium,” but is it critical to me? Infosec pros have attackers dwelling on their networks for many, many months, largely because security teams cannot quickly make sense of all this threat data.

And infosec pros try to solve problems faster by adding new security technology that can sometimes put a huge strain on the network.
We chose Vectra as the winner, because their solution helps prioritize threats for your organization specifically, can reduce attacker dwell time, and do so with a lightweight solution.
Vectra’s tool tunes into all an organization’s internal network communications, and then, using a combination of machine learning, behavior analysis, and data science will identify threats, correlate them to the targeted endpoint, provide context, and prioritize threats accordingly — as they relate to your organization.
Vectra can detect things like internal reconnaissance, lateral movement, botnet monetization, data exfiltration and other malicious or potentially malicious activities throughout the kill chain.
Most importantly, Vectra’s tool allows security teams to identify their most important assets, so that the tool will know to push even a gentle nudge at those systems to the top of the priority list.
With just a glance at the simple, elegant visualization used by Vectra’s threat certainty index, an infosec pro will know in moments what precise endpoint needs their attention first.”
Most Innovative Thought Leader: Paul VixieThe three finalists for our Most Innovative Thought Leader are Krishna Narayanaswamy, Chief Scientist and Co-Founder of Netskope, Inc., a top specialist in cloud security; Dr. Paul Vixie, Chairman, CEO, and Co-Founder of Farsight Security Inc., a leader in DNS and Internet security; and Jeff Williams, Chief Technology Officer and Co-Founder of Contrast Security, who focuses on application security.
And the winner is: Paul Vixie, Farsight Security. Here’s what our judges wrote about Paul: 
“This was perhaps the most difficult choice we had to make in the awards, because all three of these individuals are thought leaders and difference-makers in their own fields of security.

Each of them is a contributor not only to innovation in his own company, but to the industry at large.
In the end, we chose Paul Vixie, at least in part, because he likes to work and research and innovate in areas where few others are working.

The world of Domain Name Systems often seems impenetrable even to security experts, yet it is an essential element to the global Internet and, potentially, a huge set of vulnerabilities that could affect everyone who works and plays online.
In the last year or so, Paul has taken some of the lessons he’s learned about DNS and the way the internet works and built Farsight Security, which collects and processes more than 200,000 observations per second to help security operations centers and incident response teams more quickly identify threats.
It works by analyzing DNS, which is a fundamental technology that the bad guys have to use, just as the good guys do.

And while Farsight is not the only company working in the DNS security space, it has developed new methods of analyzing and processing the data so that enterprises can make better use of relevant information.
Paul doesn’t stop with the work he is doing at his own company.

As a longtime contributor to internet standards on DNS and related issues, he continues to participate in a variety of efforts, including source address validation; the OpSec Trust initiative, which is building a trusted, vetted security community for sharing information, and internet governance, including the controversial discussion around route name service.
While all three of our finalists are deserving of special recognition, we feel that Paul Vixie’s contributions to innovation at his company, to enterprise security, and to internet security worldwide earn him this award.”
Our congratulations to all of this year’s Dark Reading Best of Black Hat Awards winners!

Tim Wilson is Editor in Chief and co-founder of Dark Reading.com, UBM Tech’s online community for information security professionals. He is responsible for managing the site, assigning and editing content, and writing breaking news stories. Wilson has been recognized as one …
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