May was another busy month in the Cyber / Intel arena, with a significant increase in venture capital activity and news regarding the ever-increasingly precarious cyber threat environment grabbing headlines. Researchers in the UK found embedded hardware “backdoor” vulnerabilities in chips commonly used in defense applications and news of more large-scale data losses surfaced.
Offensive cyber activity was also in the news as The New York Times reported that U.S. officials confirmed responsibility (with the close participation of Israel) for the Stuxnet virus, aimed at disabling Iran’s uranium enrichment activities. Additionally, May saw the discovery of a successor to Stuxnet, known as “Flame,” which has recently infected systems across the Middle East and appears to be intended for gathering intelligence data.
Several companies focused on Big Data solutions raised venture capital funding in May, while two other Big Data firms were acquired by larger industry players to augment existing offerings. Accel Partners and Sequoia Capital also invested $70 million in SaaS data collection and analysis provider Qualtrics, the two firms’ largest-ever joint investment.