With an ever-evolving landscape of cyber threats, the necessity for innovative, effective, and user-friendly security products has never been more apparent. Current security solutions, however, seem to lag behind, struggling to adequately address the challenges posed by increasingly sophisticated cyber-attacks.
SquareX, the brainchild of cybersecurity trailblazer Vivek Ramachandran, is on a mission to revolutionize the cybersecurity landscape with a unique browser-based solution, designed to fortify online safety for consumers. Fresh off a robust $6 million seed round, spearheaded by the renowned Sequoia Capital Southeast Asia, there’s no better time to delve into the workings of this promising venture. Join us as we sit down with Vivek, uncovering the exciting nuances of his latest endeavor.
1. Can you tell us more about the current cybersecurity landscape and the need for a purpose-built browser security product like SquareX?
Consumer behaviour has evolved a lot over the last decade. Unfortunately, consumer security products haven’t. The current cybersecurity landscape today shows that consumer security solutions clearly do not work well. We hear news on billions of dollars being lost to phishing attacks, identity theft and even banking frauds. In fact, according to a CNBC report on March 2023, these scams and frauds cost consumers $8.8 billion in 2022 alone.
This trend of increasing frauds, identity thefts is worrying and has left consumers at large vulnerable and anxious of their online safety. The widespread monitoring and consumer web tracking which happens daily, further adds to the worry that consumers’ identities are not and never protected online.
SquareX believes that the biggest reason why consumers are unsafe online is because the existing generation of product offerings are not performing as well as it should and gets in the way of consumer productivity. The moment the user experiences inconvenience in their work flow, consumers will automatically disable the software or use it without proper measures, thus leaving consumers prone to falling prey to multiple cyber attacks.
Addressing this problem, SquareX presents a productivity first solution which ensures that users are able to do their jobs and tasks perfectly well while keeping safe. SquareX aims to do this by applying an absolute non-blocking philosophy to any form of threat which comes their way.
With this solution, SquareX also enables consumers to keep their identity safe and private. SquareX is the first in building solutions keeping consumer security and productivity at the centre of all its core features for consumers to be fearless online!
2. What inspired you to develop a cybersecurity product specifically designed to address threats to web browsers?
For nearly two decades, I have been immersing my skills in offensive cybersecurity, detecting cyber attacks, educating thousands of professionals worldwide from Government agencies, fortune 500 companies to universities through my company Pentester Academy (now acquired by INE); and even sharing my findings at top conferences like Black Hat, DEF CON, etc. My initial approach has always been from a hacker’s perspective, seeking out vulnerabilities and exploring ways to challenge and compromise different systems to prove their insecurity.
However, after many years of this work, I’ve come to realize little has been happening on the defense side. With technology becoming more pervasive, cyber threats are growing more potent, indicating a disconnect between the speed of technological advancements and the development of security solutions that can protect people’s data and assets.
This has pushed me to investigate further as to why people weren’t using the easily available security products to protect themselves and their data. After deep-diving into this topic and conducting research, I have discovered that the low adoption rate of security products was due to them often impeding consumer productivity through the blocking of activities and often causing fear, leading to the document being discarded.
By addressing this issue, I have been inspired to build SquareX. Square X will take a counterintuitive approach to delivering consumer security with ease. The company’s goal is to create a new generation of security products that allow users to be fearless online.
3. Can you explain how SquareX’s cloud-powered temporary container sandboxes work to protect users from threats online?
Container sandboxes are ephemeral and form watertight boundaries. By running any suspicious links/files/resources within these sandboxes and projecting them back into the browser, we ensure that malicious code can never run on the user’s computer. On the server side, once the user finishes viewing/editing a document or link, we destroy the containers on his request so there is no private data retained.
4. What is SquareX’s vision for the future of internet security, and how does the company plan to achieve it?
The future of internet security is to ensure that consumers are able to go online freely without fear of being compromised or attacked.
My aim is to make cybersecurity a non-issue, allowing users to use the internet with complete confidence. That is why SquareX’ s mission is to put the user’s needs first and provide security solutions that never impede productivity or restrict users’ activities.
So, SquareX doesn’t just provide you security, it also provides a veil of anonymity and privacy in every feature that the product has to allow consumers to go online with full confidence and to be completely fearless online.
The company has just raised seed funding from Sequoia Capital and just came out of stealth mode. We are a deep tech cybersecurity company and hence, a majority of the funds would be used for R&D and engineering to get our product ready for prime time release.
The remaining funds would be used to power our go to market strategy and to promote this tool to the marketplace.
5. Lastly, how have early adopters received SquareX, and what are their thoughts on the product?
In March 2023, SquareX welcomed its first set of users, Alpha Squad #01. These users have had unlimited access to the product and are enjoying the freedom and protection SquareX offers. This group of Alpha users have given feedback and insights which has been crucial in strengthening SquareX’s features and functionality.
This group of users have expressed their high level of interest in adopting SquareX based on its mission to keep them safe and fearless online – 24/7, 365 days a year.
SquareX’s product features of privacy, security and ease of use is another hit amongst the majority of this group of early adopters.
Lastly, this group of beta testers have also indicated that they are now worry-free when it comes to security threats because the SquareX solution is going to ensure that it works in the background, making their entire experience safe, anonymous and private.