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The original Safelayer technology, created a decade ago, veri-
fied bank employees and customers, increasingly important after
Europe implemented a digital signature law that allows use of digi-
tal signatures in place of physical ones. Safelayer captured approxi-
mately 80 percent of the Spanish market and expanded to Portugal,
France, Morocco, and several countries in Latin America.
Safelayer's innovation, says Buch, lies in software that is eas-
ily integrated into existing applications. In the past, companies
needed four to six months to integrate security, but "we have
a technology that can do the same in one month," says Buch.
Carlos Jiménez formed an interest in vir us detection early.
In 1988, while he was a university student in Madrid, the Friday
the 13th virus threatened university computers. Jiménez created
a new method for protecting computers from vir uses, monitor-
ing for potential viruses while executing a program instead of
when scanning a new disk. He gave his solution to the university
for free. "At the time nobody told me to patent the technology:
my first mistake," he says, laughing; he sent the solution gratis
to other companies as well.
By 1990, when companies had come to him to detect more
than 200 vir uses, he realized it was time to for m a company. Two
years later, he opened an office in California. Software magazines
recognized his original company, Anyware, for its new method
for fighting vir uses. "In 1998," Jimenez says proudly, "we were
the second most downloaded antivir us software on the Internet."
In 1998, he formed a new company, Secuware, that approaches
the problem from a different angle. Instead of detecting known
vir uses, the technology detects known applications. "It's like what
my mother said when I was a child: 'Don't trust strangers,'" says
Jiménez. "It's the same in the platform." Secuware also created
a preboot operating system that protects Windows itself. While
Windows r uns, the system quickly watches and monitors, but it
demands little power. This security operating system is in use
by the Spanish tax ser vice and the Bank of Spain, among oth-
ers, and the company has expand internationally to count NATO,
Warner Bros., and Walmart among its customers.
RealSec started out as a consultancy, providing original soft-
ware and integrating third-party technologies. In 2003, RealSec
began to focus exclusively on research for original products and
technologies. The company received international certification
for a hardware security module, an encryption device that meets
the security needs of major credit cards, banks, and government
institutions. Because it incorporates a tamper resistant layer, any
manipulation of the device would cause it to automatically erase
the information. It also has a digital key, stored on smart cards
allocated to three people in the company who are unknown to
one another. RealSec is selling these systems in Spain, in the US,
and in a number of Latin American countries.
The founders of S21Sec also saw the challenges in Internet
security a decade ago, and they took the question of how to pro-
tect companies from infiltration to those who should know the
most about it: the hackers themselves. In 1999, the company's
founders staged Spain's first hacker's conference in Mallorca. "It
was interesting because it wasn't the usual community of security
experts," says Igor Unanue, one of the founders.
S21Sec hired the best of the hackers and created a company
in San Sebastian, in the north of Spain, to turn their skills into
legal and profitable ones. S21Sec's founders had connections with
a local bank, and the bank's CEO invited company engineers, all
in their early twenties, to come and attack the bank's security.
Engineers took advantage of weak points in applications to
infiltrate other supposedly secure systems. Says Miguel Rezola,
Twenty years ago, Panda Security founder Mikel Urizarbarrena had already created a number of software systems. One of them
became infected with a virus that caused a ping-pong ball to drop down on the screen. In response, he started collecting viruses,
simply as a hobby. But by 1990, Urizarbarrena realized that the hobby could become a business.
Today the company operates in more than 200 countries, with offices in 56. Panda Security's products focus on security through
antimalware technology, protecting both consumers and businesses from viruses, spy ware, worms, and other Internet threats.
The company has launched many technologies since its founding. In 2004 Panda engineers created a program to identify viruses
proactively.To do so, engineers investigated the behavior of a file to determine if it is legitimate or potentially a virus. Building
on the 2004 software, Panda Security then developed a rapid method to automatically detect and disarm the overwhelming
wave of malware. Instead of scanning against a signature file within a PC, which is known to slow computer operations, the
information is sent to Panda's lab servers and scanned from what's known as "the cloud" against a database holding 29 million
examples and growing of malware.This product can deliver quick antivirus services, taking advantage of the collective intelli-
gence of millions of computers to stay up to date on viruses and malware without affecting PC performance.
Now Panda is offering this system free for personal computers. Cloud Antivirus was launched in the spring of 2009, and within
just the first few weeks, the software received millions of downloads.
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