SquareX reels in $6M for its browser security platform
Cybersecurity startup SquareX today announced that it has closed a $6 million seed funding round led by Sequoia Capital Southeast Asia.
The capital will go toward product development and go-to-market initiatives, the Singapore-based startup detailed. The investment comes a few weeks after SquareX made its namesake cybersecurity platform available to an initial group of users. Going forward, the startup reportedly plans to focus on growing its market presence in the U.S., Asia and the U.K.
SquareX’s platform is designed to protect consumers from online threats such as malicious websites. It blocks hacking attempts using a browser extension that runs locally on consumers’ devices. According to the startup, its technology can replace traditional cybersecurity products such as antivirus programs.
A browser equipped with SquareX’s extension doesn’t render web pages locally, but rather in cloud-based sandboxes the startup describes as disposable browsers. Because webpages are processed in the cloud, their code is not downloaded onto users’ computers. This makes it impossible for any malware that may embedded in the code to reach consumer devices.
According to SquareX, its platform can similarly block malicious documents and other malware-infected files. When users end a browsing session, the cloud-based sandbox that SquareX generated for the session is deleted along with all its data.
The startup’s sandboxes render web pages using a so-called headless browser. That’s a type of specialized browser implemented without a user interface. Such programs are mainly used by developers to test websites for technical issues.
According to SquareX, its platform is designed as a more convenient alternative to traditional antivirus products. Such products’ threat detection algorithms sometimes incorrectly flag legitimate web pages and files as malicious. Because SquareX relies on cloud sandboxes rather than threat detection algorithms to flag malware, it doesn’t inadvertently block legitimate files.
The company sells its platform under a freemium pricing model. According to the startup, consumers can use the platform for up to one hour per day at no charge. For users with more advanced requirements, SquareX offers two paid versions priced at $8 and $15 per month.
“By creating a seamless, browser-integrated cybersecurity solution, we are empowering consumers to be fearless online and take control of their own security on the internet,” said SquareX founder and Chief Executive Officer Vivek Ramachandran. “We believe that a safer internet experience is not only possible but essential, and SquareX is dedicated to making it a reality for everyone.”
The approach of opening web pages in the cloud rather than on users’ devices to block malware is also gaining traction among enterprises. Cloudflare Inc. offers an enterprise cybersecurity product, Cloudflare Browser Isolation, that prevents malware from reaching workers’ devices by rendering web pages in the cloud. McAfee Corp. and a number of other companies offer similar tools.
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