Detecting hacks in real time

Alex Dings co-founded Bitsensor, a start-up from the Eindhoven University of Technology. The cybersecurity tool can detect a hack in less than one second and gather large amounts of information about the hacker. Bitsensor now has around 20 clients, primarily in Belgium and the Netherlands, and has raised €400,000.

Technologist: What made you decide to create Bitsensor?

Alex Dings: Ruben van Vreeland, my co-founder, began hacking sites like Kickstarter, eBay and Indiegogo as a hobby when he was 14 years old. He often came across terrified companies that didn’t know what to do when they were hacked. That gave us the idea to launch Bitsensor. It is a plug-in integrated within the application that we’re protecting. In real time, it continuously analyses all the data that comes in and out.

T. What are the advantages of this system?

AD. Typically, it takes an average of nine months for a company to realise it’s been hacked. We’ve cut this time down to 50 milliseconds. Additionally, our tool, which is integrated into the application, gathers huge amounts of information about the hacker and the damage caused. This information can be used to block the hacker or can be given to the police. It can also be used to prove the truth; for example, if a hacker publicly claims to have stolen data, that can seriously damage a company’s reputation.

T. Which companies are not very well protected?

AD. Smaller companies that often don’t have the budget for IT security are the most at risk. But some big corporations that only verify their systems once a year are just as vulnerable.