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Oscar Williams

News editor

Alphabet’s Chronicle security firm launches Backstory telemetry platform

Alphabet’s security moonshot Chronicle has joined forces with Avast and Proofpoint to launch a new threat analysis product it claims could transform enterprise-grade cyber security.

The service, dubbed Backstory, combines data from the two vendors with Alphabet’s analysis tools to provide insights into potential threats.

“Backstory compares your network activity against a continuous stream of threat intelligence signals, curated from a variety of sources, to detect potential threats instantly,” the company said.

“It also continuously compares any new piece of information against your company’s historical activity, to notify you of any historical access to known-bad web domains, malware-infected files, and other threats.”

Chronicle’s ability to store threat data for so long means insights which would otherwise have been lost can be harnessed to determine whether a network has been compromised. Chronicle claims, for example, that its software would have been able to help a bank establish if it had been compromised by the malware used in Russia’s alleged attack on the DNC’s email server.

If the Backstory sees widespread adoption, it will position Alphabet – the parent company of Google – as the central repository of the security industry’s data in a move that could raise privacy concerns. Customers can opt out of sharing their data, but Chronicle claims that if they don’t, data will “remain private” anyway. “It isn’t scanned by or available to anyone for other purposes,” it said.

As well as enlisting Avast and Proofpoint as its inaugural “insight partners”, Chronicle has also partnered with endpoint security company Carbon Black to provide telemetry over a “much longer time horizon than is possible otherwise”, the company said.

“Security is neither an enterprise problem nor a consumer problem; it is a universal challenge, and not one that can be solved by any one company acting alone,” said Avast’s consumer president Ondrej Vlcek.

“Avast and Chronicle are working across the consumer and enterprise threat landscape at a very large scale not before seen in our industry. It’s impossible for any single company to have sufficient threat insights to stay ahead of bad actors, and only with cooperation can the industry defend against the big cyber security issues of our time.”

“We are thrilled to have Avast as our inaugural Insight Partner at the launch of Backstory,” added Chronicle CEO and co-founder Stephen Gillett. “Our new security and analytics platform is built with the ability to scale easily using the large amount of quality threat intelligence from Avast.”