Israeli cybersecurity firm BioCatch secures $145m in funding

Israeli cybersecurity firm BioCatch secures $145m in funding

Company uses biometrics to identify fraudsters through subtle behavioral cues; plans to move into public sector in 2020 as scammers look to exploit virus crisis

Illustrative image of BioCatch software in use on a phone. (YouTube screenshot)
Illustrative image of BioCatch software in use on a phone. (YouTube screenshot)

Israeli cybersecurity firm BioCatch on Wednesday said it had secured $145 million in funding led by US investment firm Bain Capital.

The Series C funding round included other US- and Israel-based investors including OurCrowd, American Express Ventures and CreditEase.

BioCatch, an Israeli pioneer in the field of behavioral biometrics, grew by 150 percent in 2019 and services over 40 of the world’s largest financial institutions, the firm said. The company is planning to start operating in the public sector in 2020.

“The current environment has spawned a large increase in bad actors seeking to take advantage of distracted individuals working from home or dispersed companies whose technologists are scattered in remote locations,” Howard Edelstein, BioCatch chairman and CEO, said in a statement. “In such times, technologies like behavioral biometrics become more important than ever.”

Israel’s National Cyber Authority has repeatedly warned of an increased danger of hacking attacks as more of the population works from home amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Behavioral biometrics are a breakthrough in cybersecurity technology that identifies people by how they do what they do. Other online security measures identify people by who they are, through face recognition or fingerprinting; what they know, such as a secret question or a password; or what they have for identification, such as a token or a one-time code sent by text message.

Everyone has a distinctive way of moving a mouse, tapping a phone or typing on a keyboard, and behavioral biometrics are able to measure and analyze these patterns.

Moreover, when people identify themselves at their bank or an online store by inserting information about themselves, like their home address or date of birth, they are using long-term memory rather than short-term. This can be identified by the way they interact with their computer or smartphone, and behaviors that are divergent from this familiar pattern can be flagged as unusual, generating an alert.

BioCatch has developed software that checks 500 bio-behavioral, cognitive and physiological parameters to create unique user profiles and a personalized web presence for each user of banking and eCommerce sites.

The startup was founded in 2011 by Avi Turgeman and Uri Rivner. It has been selling its detection products to banks and other customers globally.

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