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Aug 17, 2022
May 16, 2022

Exalens Wins NCSC Cyber Den Competition at CYBERUK 2022

On Monday 11th in the last plenary session of the conference, Exalens were announced winners of the NCSC Cyber Den at CYBERUK 2020, the UK Government's flagship Cybers Security

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The CYBER DEN is a unique “Dragons Den” competition where some of the brightest UK cybersecurity startups pitched to a cast of leading industry and NCSC “dragons” on their innovative approaches to solving some of the UKs toughest cybersecurity challenges. The “dragon” cast included an impressive mix of senior NCSC and industrial technical directors from the likes of BT and Amazon Web Services.

Lindy Cameron CB OBE, CEO of NCSC, announced Exalens as a winner based on our “security for manufacturing systems and factories with a totally new approach”. The “dragons” listened intently to how Exalens’ cyber-physical AI for Digital Industry bridges threat detection across computer systems and physical machines, with a virtual security analyst that automates their analysis, so that both IT and OT teams can identify threats, respond in seconds and stay ahead of attackers.

Exalens CTO and Cofounder Dr. Ryan Heartfield, who pitched on behalf of Exalens, had to say:

The CYBER DEN was a unique and once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to really share with a diverse audience, and senior industry experts, the context and gravity of the perfect storm that is brewing for cybersecurity within the industrial and manufacturing sector. Digital transformation in the sector is leading to hyperconnectivity between computer systems, physical machines and the Internet in ways that are revolutionising industry, but equally exposing these systems to attack and compromise by cyber criminals and hostile nation states. Technology revolutions, like that we are seeing in Industry 4.0, call for revolutionary approaches to cybersecurity, which we exemplified with our approach of introducing a virtual security analyst that has cyber-physical visibility.
Dr Heartfield during his CYBER DEN pitch

Dr Heartfield continued:

One particular question a dragon posed was related to a key challenge faced by all monitoring and detection tools – ‘what is your technology’s false positive rate?’. This killer question provided a great opportunity to explain how and why we have codified security analyst workflows in the AI of the platform. Of course, false positives can never be reduced to zero, however, the approach taken by Exalens is to replicate and automate the triage, analysis and hypothesis testing that human operators regularly conduct (both from a cybersecurity and physical anomaly assessment point of view), so that with a growing body of knowledge, the system can automatically increase the confidence of reported incidents to validate their noteworthiness. Exalens virtual security analyst performs this analysis activity in seconds, which usually takes human operators anything from hours to days.  Therefore, whilst we cannot eliminate false positives, our approach not only significantly reduces them ever being reported (by replicating the process humans go through to validate incidents), and at the same time, reduces the amount of time analysts themselves would have to spend reviewing a false positive in the first place – and not only for IT security analysts, but for Operational Technology engineers as well!

By winning the NCSC Cyber Den, Exalens have now been offered bespoke support by the NCSC to help support technical development, evaluation and market exploitation of Exalens cybersecurity solution.

Exalens accepting our announcement as winners of the NCSC CYBER DEN at CYBERUK2022

Dr Heartfield said:

It goes without saying that we are absolutely thrilled to have been selected as a winner of the NCSC Cyber Den at CYBERUK 2022, and we look forward to the bespoke support from the NCSC to further shape and iterate our technology for the Industry and Critical National Infrastructure, so that we can deliver cyber resilience through automated cyber-physical security which enables and empowers Industry 4.0 for the UK’s Digital Industry.