Today, we launch Fyde, the first line of defense against phishing and account takeover attacks. Fyde represents a giant leap forward in personal security, realizing our vision to protect everyday people from attacks that target their hard-earned financial well-being and personal reputation.
This is an important milestone on our journey that started in 2017 with a tight-knit group of serial entrepreneurs and seasoned engineers. Our wonderful team is assembled from decades of cybersecurity experience, building successful companies and solving large-scale information security challenges in endpoints and mobile devices. Most notably, our last venture Remotium, named Most Innovative Company at RSAC Innovation Sandbox 2013, was acquired by Avast in 2015.
Fyde is backed by top Silicon Valley venture capital firms with tremendous track records in cybersecurity and infrastructure investments. Rio Maeda of Draper Nexus joins Fyde as its Board Director. Rio brings invaluable business development experience and an insightful market perspective to our team. Insik Rhee of Vertex Ventures joins Fyde’s board as observer. Insik, a successful serial entrepreneur, brings decades of proven, pragmatic tactical thinking to help guide our strategy and growth.
Fyde started its journey back of a napkin style, first identifying a major gap in the largest cybersecurity challenge of our time: phishing and its variants. Based on our experience defending nations, public institutions and corporations, we observed that elements of today’s human factor attacks date back many decades. These attack vectors evolved from social engineering in the 1990s to email-based phishing attacks in the 2000s to the current sophisticated text and instant message-based phishing and voice-based phishing referred to as smishing and vishing respectively. Phishing, especially for the average person, was indeed an exponentially growing problem in search of a scalable solution.
We understood the need, but what really propelled us into action was the brazen email hacking incident involving John Podesta of the United States Democratic National Committee. Mr. Podesta fell victim to an elaborate phishing attack that instructed him to change his password due to an anomalous login attempt from Ukraine. The subsequent unlawful disclosure of those emails by WikiLeaks was in retrospect a state-sponsored operation designed to disrupt our free and fair election process. At this juncture, this problem was far more than an insufficiently addressed market opportunity, but a call to arms to defend what we hold dear.
In that spirit while preparing for Fyde’s launch, our core values were put to test by chance. Our co-founder, Jose Pereira’s, wonderful mother Emilia Ferraz, was targeted by a phishing scam distributed over WhatsApp. The scam leveraged an increasingly popular tactic in which you are asked to first share a spam message with 20 of your contacts and once that’s done you are prompted to complete an online form with a long list of personal information. The attackers targeted TAP Air Portugal, the main airline in Portugal, which is also popular across Europe.
The fake site (screenshots below) leveraged scammers’ latest trick, Internationalized Domain Names (IDN), with a single almost impossible to detect letter difference from the original site. In this case it was the elusive “ạ” letter, an “a” with a single dot below. We were quick to detect, block and report it which instinctually led us to check the site on VirusTotal and to our surprise 65 out of 67 participating services marked this pixel-perfect phishing site as safe. The biggest let down was Google Safebrowse, with all the major antivirus vendors coming in a close second.
Especially on mobile, people are being sold a false sense of security by Antivirus (AV) and Mobile Threat Defense (MTD) vendors. We are launching our free product today to dismantle these fallacies and break the long standing, ineffective status-quo in mobile and human factor security products. Our mission is to protect what we hold dearest, our family and our community, and we are glad to say that for Emilia we have delivered on that promise.
Fyde, security for life’s events. Machine-driven. Human-enhanced.
Download the free Fyde app from here.