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Bowie cyber firm raises $23 million to ‘hack the hackers’

Steve Ryan, co-founder and CEO of Trinity Cyber. (Trinity Cyber photo)

Steve Ryan, co-founder and CEO of Trinity Cyber. (Trinity Cyber photo)

Bowie-based startup Trinity Cyber raised $23 million as it plans to expand its infrastructure and workforce as part of its plan to “hack the hackers.”

Trinity wants to go after the “bad guys” rather than placing the blame for every attack on users who made a mistake, like not downloading the latest software patch, said Steve Ryan. The company’s CEO and co-founder, Ryan worked at the National Security Agency for 32 years.

“Nobody even talks about the adversary,” Ryan said. “Just acknowledging that there is a bad guy on the other end, if there are things that we can do to make life very hard on the bad guy, that’s what we’re going to do.”

With the money it raised in this Series A round, Trinity plans to expand its workforce, grow its infrastructure and “sell, sell, sell,” Ryan said. The company planned out what it thought it would need to come up with how much money it should raise.

The $23 million raised by Trinity would have been the third-highest raised by a Maryland startup during the first half of the year, according to PwC’s quarterly MoneyTree report.

In looking for funders, the company wanted to find someone that could give it the “Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval, he said. They found that in Intel Capital, the investment arm of Intel Corporation, which led the round.

“As cyberattacks become more sophisticated, technology to counter them needs to stay one step ahead,” Wendell Brooks, Intel Capital’s president, said in a statement. “As the threat landscape continues to grow, so does the opportunity to provide cutting-edge technology to protect a company’s valuable data. We are excited about being part of Trinity Cyber’s innovative commitment to helping companies stay secure.”

Unlike most traditional cybersecurity options, which react to known threats, Trinity works to intercept attacks by disrupting hackers while they are trying to get into a system.

“What we came up with was a way to quite literally get in their way and look at the methods that they employ and do things to that method so that what they are trying to do doesn’t work,” Ryan said.

Right now the company sells mostly to clients in the health care, energy and finance sectors, though Ryan declined to name any particular clients, noting that’s something he does not believe a cybersecurity company should be doing.

“We kind of take it as a thing of pride, our website will never say, here’s all the cool things we do and here’s all the companies for whom we do it,” he said, adding that including those materials makes a hacker’s research easier. 

Trinity also announced Monday that it had added former White House official Tom Bossert to its management team as chief strategy officer.

Bossert served most recently under President Donald Trump as a White House homeland security and counterterrorism adviser and is a national security analyst for ABC news.

“The trend in global cyber attacks has been going in the wrong direction for some time, and American businesses are paying the price. It’s time we meet this problem with a truly preventive solution,” Bossert said in a statement. “Trinity Cyber provides a high-caliber solution to U.S. businesses that is capable of defeating nation-state level attacks and long overdue.”

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