Cyan Forensics, based in Edinburgh, Scotland, has raised £5 million (roughly $6.9 million) in a Series A funding round led by Par Equity. This takes the overall sum raised to £8 million ($11 million) to date.
Cyan Forensics creates software that can quickly detect and block illicit content including child pornography and terrorist content. This is achieved by comparing material to an official blocklist of restricted content, which is shared with consumers in an encrypted and protected format.
Images of child pornography, bomb-making manuals, or terrorist material used in radicalization may be among the content. The product is mainly intended for use by forensic investigators in law enforcement, cloud providers, and social media sites.
It can be used on confiscated machines in real time or on a forensic picture of hard drives. It is extremely accurate due to its secure comparison with known illegal material. The size of the database used for comparison and the speed at which it operates set it apart from many other approaches. It can search a 1TB hard drive in just 27 minutes (MD5 hash scanning would take 7 hours, 30 minutes).
As part of the Child Abuse Image Database, Cyan Forensics also has a deal with the UK Home Office to offer its resources to police forces around the country (CAID). The rapid automated triage technology has been dubbed “game-changing” by the UK government. It has the potential to make a significant difference in the battle against online child sexual exploitation and imagery, according to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) in the United States.
Cyan Forensics plans to use the new funding to expand its team and facilities in mainland Europe and North America. “We believe we are at an inflection point globally, and that the UK is at the forefront of online safety technology and has a major role to play in the global picture,” says CEO Ian Stevenson. To drive transformative solutions to safeguard online, more dialogue, policy, and integrated global change are needed. “Cyan is at the very heart of this picture.”
“The funding will help Cyan scale up, improve their role in global markets, and build out more applications for the Contraband Filter technology in social media, cloud, and other online use cases,” said Paul Munn, Managing Partner of Par Equity.
Ian Stevenson (CEO) and Bruce Ramsay formed Cyan Forensics in 2016. (CTO). Ramsay is the new chair of OSTIA, the UK Online Safety Tech Industry Association, and is a former police forensic analyst. OSTIA is a non-profit organisation dedicated to developing technological solutions to improve online protection.