GE backs blockchain cyber security start-up

Xage, a cyber security start-up that uses blockchain technology to securely link industrial machines from oil wells to smart meters, is raising $12m from investors including GE Ventures, as the US government warns about gaps in the defences of the energy industry.

The company is one of a new generation of start-ups trying to cater to increased concerns about cyber attacks on industrial equipment connected to the internet. The Department of Homeland Security and FBI warned earlier this year that the Russian government has compromised networks in critical infrastructure, while the rise of ransomware enables cyber criminals to profit from interrupting industrial equipment.

Xage is unusual in using blockchain, the technology first used by cryptocurrencies, to create a distributed network of devices that can authenticate the digital fingerprint of each machine.

The start-up is valued at about $35m before the new funds raised, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Duncan Greatwood, Xage chief executive, who joined the company from Apple, said the need for distributed security was becoming “more urgent”. The energy industry wants to take advantage of technologies that give it remote access to far away oilfields or wind farms but needs to make them secure from hackers.

Source: Financial Times

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