Startup Lastline debuts with anti-malware appliance

Startup Lastline debuted today with a combined anti-malware product and service called Previct, which works to prevent malware infections coming into the enterprise as well as inspect and analyze outgoing traffic.

Started in 2009 by three university researchers who are confident they've created a better mousetrap for malware, Lastline is based in Santa Barbara, Calif., and has about two dozen employees. It has received venture capital funding of about $3 million, including $1 million from The co-founders include CTO Giovanni Vigna, Chief Scientist Christopher Kruegel and adviser Engin Kirda. They also founded iSecLab. Lastline is headed up by CEO Jens Andreassen.

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The Previct appliance they're selling on a subscription-basis would typically be placed in front of the corporate firewall to ward off entry of malware into the organization, according to Vigna. "It's preventing malware through drive-by downloads or email attachments," he said, adding there's a cloud-based analysis involved as a service in this process.

He notes that much of the basic anti-malware research was done at UC California, Santa Barbara and Northeastern University. Though there are many anti-malware products of one kind of another on the market today, the closest competing product might be FireEye.

Kruegel said the technology behind Previct makes use of "code emulation" to analyze the structures of malware to understand the effect it's trying to have. Malware typically arrives with "instructions" that can be analyzed when downloaded and there are also indications that the website is bad.

Ellen Messmer is senior editor at Network World, an IDG publication and website, where she covers news and technology trends related to information security. Twitter: @MessmerE. Email:

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