Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

Virta Labs Introduces PowerGuard™

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Virta Laboratories, Inc., a start-up founded in 2013, detects malware and anomalies in IoT and medical devices. 

Virta Labs recently introduced their flagship product called PowerGuard™.  While it looks like an everyday power outlet, its embedded intelligence detects when an infected device is plugged into the outlet by analyzing subtle power consumption patterns. PowerGuard™ spots cybersecurity risks quickly with zero software installation or hardware changes, a crucial point for operators of high-assurance devices that are rarely kept up to date with security patches. Dug Song the CEO of Duo Security and a U-M Alum states, “Virta’s platform can detect malware more effectively than NSA can read your email. The best part, it’s literally plug and play with no messy software installation. It’s easier than installing a Nest thermostat to gain the upper hand on malware.”

In 2014, Virta Labs was named Best of Boot Camp at the conclusion of Ann Arbor SPARK’s Entrepreneurial Boot Camp. As Best of Boot Camp winner, Virta Labs received membership to the New Enterprise Forum (NEF) and a NEF coaching team for one year as well as an engagement with the Ann Arbor SPARK business accelerator. Ten teams and 40 volunteers participated in Ann Arbor SPARK’s Entrepreneurial Boot Camp. Virta has become a hot spot for Michigan graduates from machine learning, cybersecurity, and electrical engineering.

CEO Denis Foo Kune recalled, “A turning point was when a large hospital in the West called us out of the blue because they could not find plug-and-play security monitoring solutions for their embedded platforms.”

As hospitals begin beta tests, medical device manufacturers are cheering for Virta. Bill Aerts, Director of Product Security for Medtronic, Inc. explained that, “Kevin is widely credited as establishing the field of medical device security.  His highly respected research lab has produced some of the world's leading experts in medical device security.  And now he’s driving the creation of new security tools for the industry.”

Virta Laboratories was co-founded in part by Prof. Kevin Fu and former CSE postdoctoral researcher Denis Foo Kune.


Posted: August 12, 2015