General Electric Ventures, a venture capital subsidiary of General Electric (GE), is investing on a cybersecurity start-up, Xage. GE Ventures, along with City Light Capital and NexStar Partners, are the investors in a $12 million fundraising led by the cybersecurity start-up and March Capital Partners.
The startup employs blockchain technology in industrial Internet-of-Things (IoT) to link the machines with meters securely. These requirements come after the US government warns of the increasing potential cyber-crimes and security gaps in the energy industry.
According to FBI and The Department of Homeland Security, Russians invaded the industrial infrastructure networks at the beginning of this year. On the other hand, ransomware and malware were the other common things employed by the hackers as a source of profit from interfering with the industrial IoT.
Prior to the fundraising, Xage was valued at around $35 million. “For industries to benefit from the IoT revolution, organizations need to fully connect and protect their operations. Xage is enabling the adoption of these cutting-edge technologies across energy, transportation, telecom, and other global industries,” states Abishek Shukla, managing director of investment GE Ventures.
Xage uses blockchain technology, widely known for initially used by the cryptocurrencies. Through this technology, Xage creates a decentralized network of devices which verify each machine’s digital fingerprint.
Through blockchain technology, the anomalies existing on a certain device can be identified on a decentralized network. Consequently, this prevents cyber-attacks from spreading through a centralized network. This can help the energy industry in securing themselves from the hackers without the fear of giving remote access to distant renewable energy farms
“For IIoT technologies to successfully take hold, we need to deepen and broaden the integration of comprehensive cybersecurity within industrial systems,” states Duncan Greatwood, CEO of Xage Security and ex-Apple executive.
Industrial control systems can be challenging to secure, as they are often manufactured earlier before latest cyber-security threats surfaced. Also, machines are usually produced by different manufacturers, which further create an issue for security.
General Electric, besides investing in the Xage’s blockchain technology for Industrial Internet of Things, is also looking to implement blockchain technology in their subsidiaries. These include patents for blockchain technology in aviation monitoring, 3D-manufacturing verification process, and maintenance systems.
Moreover, General Electric Transportation, a subsidiary of General Electric, has joined the Blockchain in Transport Alliance (BiTA), an association in implementing Blockchain technology in the freight industry. General Electric is also discovering the use of blockchain technology in connecting consumers with the renewable industry.