X , the research lab founded by Google, has spawned a new company to fight cybersecurity threats.
Chronicle was founded to track down the “thousands of potential clues about hacking activity [that] are overlooked or thrown away each day,” according to Stephen Gillett, CEO and co-founder of Chronicle, writing in a blog post.
For cyber criminals safety is in numbers. IT systems send out tens of thousands of security alerts a day but security teams are “lucky if they can review a few hundred of them,” Gillet wrote. The result: hackers can go undetected for months.
Paradoxically, threats get harder to detect as organizations increasingly deploy a hodgepodge of security products, according to Gillet.
Chronicle – a spinoff of R&D outfit X, which itself is a subsidiary of Google’s parent company Alphabet – will try to build tools to stay ahead of constantly-morphing threats, as spelled out in a web page that outlines the framework of the company.
Chronicle will also use machine learning to fight threats. The company believes its advantage lies in tapping into the "enormous processing power and storage" that power other Alphabet initiatives.
“Google has always had a slightly different version of the security story than traditional security product and service companies,” Sean Pike, a data security analyst at market researcher IDC, told Fox News.
“They've thought about a larger perspective for some time. This feels like it could be a big picture approach to an issue that everyone else is already trying to tackle,” Pike added.
Chronicle will have two services: a new cybersecurity intelligence and analytics platform for large “enterprise” customers and VirusTotal, a malware intelligence service acquired by Google in 2012.
VirusTotal scans antivirus engines and website scanners to determine if they contain malware, according to the web page that serves as a primer on Chronicle. Unlike many antivirus programs, VirusTotal “only scans the individual files and URLs that a user uploads to the platform [and] offers users a second opinion on content they suspect has been compromised by malware,” according to Chronicle.
This helps fix security breaches or "harden their cyber defenses,” Chronicle said. The service is also used by antivirus companies to ensure their products are kept up to date with the latest threats.
Chronicle’s cybersecurity intelligence and analytics side of the business is in the initial phases of testing an early version of the product so it isn't yet disclosing details, the company said in a statement on its website.
With cybersecurity competition like Symantec, Check Point, IBM and McAfee, the question is whether Chronicle can make a difference. “I think that remains to be seen but they certainly have the power to do so,” IDC’s Pike said.