FOSTER CITY, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Norse Corp. today announced the findings of a comprehensive forensic review conducted to examine details cited in a blog post on the company, written by veteran security reporter Brian Krebs and published on Krebs on Security. That post has since gained traction with other media outlets, which have shared Mr. Krebs’ reporting.
“Our goal here is simply to set the record straight, with information that is verifiably accurate,” said Howard A. Bain III, who was last week named the company’s new CEO and interim CFO. “We believe that once they have gone through these facts, Mr. Krebs—who we have long respected for his invaluable reporting on technical issues—and other journalists who have shared his opinions will see that Norse and its founding executives have been unfairly maligned. This is a strong company that leads the market with innovative data-gathering techniques, peerless data assets and unique human analysis. We will not counter any opinions, but the facts are unimpeachable.”
The Krebs on Security piece fundamentally builds on the premise that “previous ventures launched by the company’s founders reveal a pattern of failed businesses, reverse mergers, shell companies and product promises that missed the mark by miles.” However, the comprehensive Norse review proves that the article includes factual errors, and ‘guilt by association’ inferences that collectively offer an inaccurate perception of the company’s strengths, abilities and standing in the information security industry.
The Krebs article makes repeated references to the following companies: Cyco.net, Nexicon, Orion Security Services, and Priviam. Norse, the company, has no relationship with these four companies.
Norse Corp. was formed in April 2010 by Sam Glines and Tommy Stiansen.
Mr. Stiansen has never created any “shell” entities. On an individual level, Mr. Stiansen and Mr. Glines do have relationships with some of the companies cited by Mr. Krebs. In particular:
As the founder of Pluto, Mr. Stiansen became an employee of Cyco.net when it acquired Pluto in 2004. In 2005, Cyco.net changed its names to Nexicon. He continued to work at Nexicon until 2009. He did some work for Priviam, but the company was underfunded and he never received a base salary. He was also a contractor with Orion Security Services (which was acquired by Cyco.net) via Pluto.
Mr. Glines was also an employee of Nexicon. He was never an employee, contractor or stakeholder with Cyco.net, Orion Security Services, or Priviam.
Krebs on Security states: “The founders of Norse Corp. got their start in 1998 with a company called Cyco.net (pronounced ‘psycho’). According to a press release issued at the time, ‘Cyco.net was a New Mexico based firm established to develop a network of cyber companies.’”
Facts: Norse Corp. was co-founded by Samuel M Glines and Tommy Stiansen. In 1998, Mr. Glines was employed by Accenture Corp., and Mr. Stiansen resided in Norway. A Securities and Exchange (SEC) filing on the first organization meeting for the Board of Directors of Cyco.net, dated April 1, 1999 provides the following information:
- Date of Meeting: April 1, 1999
- Date of Incorporation: January 25, 1999
Officers of Cyco.net:
- President & CEO: Richard A. Urrea
- Secretary: Daniel Urrea
- Treasurer: Daniel Urrea
- Chairman of the Board: Richard A. Urrea
The minutes of this meeting are available here with the SEC. There is no mention of either Mr. Glines or Mr. Stiansen in this or any other recorded government document that the Norse investigation found. Meanwhile, there are more details available on Cyco.net here in a prospectus filed with NASDAQ.
Krebs on Security states: “The Orion acquisition reportedly came with $20 million in financing from a private equity firm called Cornell Capital Partners LP, which listed itself as a Cayman Islands exempt limited partnership whose business address was in Jersey City, NJ.”
Facts: Information regarding this transaction can be found in a NASDAQ filing here, and neither Mr. Stiansen nor Mr. Glines is noted, described or otherwise affiliated with the acquisition of Orion by Cyco.Net (which is now known as Nexicon).
The Krebs article states that in August 2011, the founders raised $50,000 in seed money from Capital Innovators to jump-start Norse Corp.
- Norse did indeed receive $50,000 from Capital Innovators in 2011, but it was not “seed money” – the company already had other investors.
The article states that in September 2015, KPMG invested $11.4 million in the company.
- In September 2015, Norse Corp raised a total of $11.4 million in its series A1 round of funding where KPMG was the lead investor. KPMG did not invest that full amount; there were other investors in the round.
The article repeatedly quotes former Norse employee Mary Landesman, a senior data scientist at the company.
- In her role, Ms. Landesman’s access was limited to honeypot data; she never had access to core Norse technologies. Many of her comments are therefore not based on a full understanding or awareness of Norse’s technical strengths and abilities.
The article quotes several other former Norse employees.
- While presented as facts, virtually all of the statements represent personal opinions.
From the headline on down, the article pertains to cover the full scope of the company.
- In fact, the article only covers a small set of Norse’s offerings—the company’s products, services and data assets go far beyond those described in the post.
“We believe that Mr. Krebs’ reporting relies heavily on drawing tenuous ties to past entities while glossing over Norse’s unique intellectual property assets, undeniable technical strengths, strong competitive advantages and overall market presence,” Mr. Bain noted. “We are aware of the challenges facing the company, and we are committed to making the changes necessary to overcome those obstacles. We ask only for a fair and comprehensive evaluation of the company as we pursue business opportunities and serve our mission to provide the best threat intelligence to a market that clearly needs superior security services.”
Norse is the global leader in live attack intelligence, helping companies block the threats that other systems miss. Serving the world’s largest financial, government and technology organizations, Norse intelligence dramatically improves the performance, catch-rate and return-on-investment of the entire security infrastructure. The Norse Intelligence Network, a globally distributed distant early warning grid of millions of sensors, honeypots, crawlers and agents, delivers unmatched visibility into difficult-to-penetrate geographies and darknets, where bad actors operate. Norse processes hundreds of terabytes daily, and weighs over 1,500 variables to compute real-time risk scores for millions of IP addresses and URLs every day.
Norse; Norse Appliance; Norse Intelligence Service (NIS); and Norse Intelligence Network are trademarks or registered trademarks of Norse Corporation. All other names and trademarks are property of their respective firms.