Startup to Challenge Botnets

Somewhere, at an unknown location in downtown Atlanta, a stealth-mode startup company is listening in on bot conversations -- and developing a method to disrupt them.

Damballa, a new venture spun off from research conducted at Georgia Institute of Technology, is working on products that can recognize the online transmissions used to form botnets, according to reports. The technology is currently being delivered only to government agencies, but a commercial offering may eventually be in the cards, investors say.

Named after a powerful voodoo snake god, the startup received $2.5 million in Series A funding in June from several venture capital companies, including Sigma Partners, Noro-Moseley Partners, and Imlay Investments.

The company is being built on the research conducted by Merrick Furst, an associate dean at Georgia Tech's College of Computing and a widely-recognized researcher on bot behavior. Furst, who is president of the new company, worked with Wenke Lee, an associate professor in the same department, and David Dagon, another well-known bot expert who is also affiliated with Georgia Tech. The founders named a CEO earlier this year: Steve Linowes, who co-founded Web access software developer Encompass Inc. in 1999 and later sold it to Yahoo! Inc.

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— Tim Wilson, Site Editor, Dark Reading

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