Startup Bromium Could End Computer Viruses Forever

Simon Crosby, Bromium
Simon Crosby, co–founder, CTO, Bromium

[credit provider=”Bromium”]

Dear Enterprise World, please do yourself a favour and check out the new tech being introduced today by industry legends Simon Crosby, Ian Pratt and Gaurav Banga.Their new startup, Bromium, is releasing software today that could mean the end of computer malware as we know it. They call the software product vSentry and they call the underlying tech the Bromium microvisor.

Essentially this tech gives you a “disposable virtual computer” for every task you do on a Windows PC, cofounder Gaurav Banga told Business Insider. (They will have a version for Macs, too, in a couple of months.)

Think of it like having a thin sheet of glass between each Window and the guts of your PC. So when you go to Facebook, you get a piece of glass, when you check e-mail, you get a new piece of glass and so on. If your computer picks up a virus from e-mail or the ‘net, no matter. It can’t bust through the glass and infect the actual computer. The virus dies when you close the window.

That sounds like a fat resource hog that would make a PC super slow. But thanks to technology included in just about every Intel CPU, for the past three years it’s not. Those chips have been specially made to work with technology like this, known as virtualization. “These are PCs with the Intel Core i3, i5, or i7 sticker” says Banga.

Bromium works so fast, PC users don’t even know it’s installed, its cofounders promise.

“The user experience remains unchanged. The microvisor is completely hidden from the user who enjoys a native, hi-def user experience,” cofounder Simon Crosby told Business Insider.

This all gets more interesting when considering the people involved. Crosby and Pratt created virtualization software before. They developed the open source Xen project, a popular alternative to VMware. Their company, Xensource, was purchased by Citrix for $500 million in 2007 and it remains a big part of Citrix today.

Pratt helped Intel develop its on-chip virtualization tech, too. Banga is best known as CTO and SVP of engineering at BIOS software firm Phoenix Technologies Ltd. But he had a long career working with virtualization tech prior to that, launching his career at NetApp.

The software is being sold to enterprises, not directly to consumers. It will cost about the same as buying desktop virtualization software from Citrix, Banga says.

Bromium has raised $35.7 million so far in two rounds, including a $26.5 million series b in June lead by Highland Capital Partners with Andreessen Horowitz, Ignition Partners, Lightspeed Venture Partners and Intel Capital participating.

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