Most of our computer time is spent in a web browser checking email, creating documents, transferring files, banking online, shopping, or streaming entertainment. This leaves us vulnerable to security threats like phishing, identity theft and session hijacking, but many cybersecurity tools were developed when the main threats were file viruses, worms and network attacks, he said Vivek Ramachandranthe cybersecurity entrepreneur and researcher who discovered this Cafe Latte Attack.
To combat browser-based vulnerabilities, Ramachandran founded SquareX. The Singapore-based cybersecurity startup announced today that it has received $6 million in seed funding from Sequoia Capital Southeast Asia, which it will use for research and development and its go-to-market plans.
SquareX aims to serve as an alternative to current cybersecurity products by being tailor-made for browser-based cloud SaaS tools. It integrates with browsers as an extension, allowing users to open links and files in disposable browsers that serve as temporary container sandboxes. The headless browsers run in SquareX’s data centers, so threats don’t reach users’ computers and they don’t have to worry about their personal information being exposed.
Prior to launching SquareX, Ramachandran was the founder of Pentester Academy, a cloud-based cybersecurity training startup that allows users and businesses to study how hackers penetrate their businesses. Pentester Academy was Acquired by INE in 2021.
Ramachandran told TechCrunch that while running Pentester Academy, his customers complained about the number of times their security products were disabled by users because it was affecting their productivity. For example, someone who is about to receive an important Word document from a contact would mark that file as malware and end up disabling the security software to view it. As a result, Ramachandran realized that many security products are actually counterproductive because they make people less likely to use them.
As a result, he developed SquareX, which doesn’t block access to files or resources even if they’re deemed potentially malicious. Instead, it uses its disposable browsers. Ramachandran said SquareX is intended as an alternative to VPN, antivirus, anti-malware and other endpoint security solutions.
SquareX’s disposable browsers allow anonymous browsing from anywhere. Users can “dispose” it at any time, meaning no data is stored and the browsing session is instantly destroyed and removed from SquareX’s servers. Ramachandran said it is more secure and private than incognito mode because the websites visited or files downloaded by the user are not stored on their computer.
“By creating one-way environments, SquareX ensures that a user’s identity and data are decoupled when accessing the internet,” he added. “This ensures that even the most sophisticated website trackers are unable to track, log and tie users’ activities to their identities.”
SquareX’s go-to-market strategy will initially focus on the US, UK and Asia.
In a statement on the funding, Anandamoy Roychowdhary, Surge partner at Sequoia Southeast Asia, said, “The online world is about to get a whole lot worse as the AI revolution is geared toward malicious code development.” Every available cybersecurity solution is in protecting internet users only likely to succeed, which isn’t much of a consolation if they get hacked and lose money. SquareX is the first solution we’ve seen that takes a 100% protection approach – no matter how new and sophisticated the attack is, it has no chance of infecting users. This is the future we believe all internet users deserve.”