Tech by VICE

How ‘Cyber Guards’ Patrol Networks Looking For Hackers

A new approach to stop hackers doesn’t use cutting edge technology, but good-old humans.

by Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai
Jul 12 2016, 7:14pm

Given the ever-increasing and seemingly unstoppable pervasiveness of hacks and cyber thefts, every year seems to be the year of the data breach.

And because of that, cybersecurity firms are racing to come up with solutions to stop hackers from getting into companies' computers, and make inordinate amounts of money in the process.

Root9b, a Colorado-based startup founded by former US military personnel, takes an original approach: instead of peddling a magic bullet "next-gen" technology, it uses actual humans to patrol its clients' networks.

There's usually a guard in the real world, behind locks, alarm systems, and other technology, argues Roo9b's chief operating officer John Harbaugh. "Where's that human guard actively maneuvering inside that network checking the doors, and making sure there's not an intruder?"

That's the idea behind Root9b's alternative approach to cyberdefense. As part of CYBERWAR, VICELAND's series on hacking, we went to Colorado Springs, Colorado, to meet Root9b.

Correction: a previous version of this post referred to John Harbaugh as Root9b's CEO, he is actually COO.