Edinburgh-based digital forensic firm Cyacomb, which uses cutting edge technology to detect and block harmful online content, has received a funding package totalling £3.8 million.
The firm has developed software already being used by law enforcement agencies around the world that is 100 times quicker than existing digital sifting tools on the market.
Cyacomb will use the money that includes £2.6 million from the Scottish National Investment Bank (SNIB) to scale up its operations, explore new markets, and continue the push for an online world where no harmful digital content can be hidden or shared.
The funding round also attracted follow-on investment from existing investors Scottish Enterprise, Par Equity, the MacLeod Trust and Mercia Ventures.
Cyacomb CEO Ian Stevenson said: “Our forensics products help law enforcement find evidence fast, speeding investigations and supporting prompt safeguarding actions for children and the wider community.
“We are now turning our attention up-stream too, tackling one of society’s most pressing issues – the rising levels of child sexual abuse material being shared in our increasingly encrypted online world.
“Cyacomb Safety detects and blocks child sexual abuse material within the end-to-end encrypted environment whilst protecting user privacy and security.
“This funding comes at a strategic time for us as we expand our market reach and appoint a new non-executive director, Richie McBride.
“Richie, founder of Edesix Ltd, brings a wealth of experience in scaling software businesses, particularly servicing law enforcement and government clients.
“The bank’s support will ensure we are able to grow as a business, introduce our software to more organisations and ultimately protect children and improve online safety.”
Dallas Police Department is one law enforcement agency using Cycacomb’s platform to detect illegal material.
Detective Mike Fontenot, Dallas Police Department, said: “Cyacomb’s products offer true potential to hasten investigation and assist police departments across the world in protecting children, holding predators accountable for their crimes.
“The idea of triage is the rapid examination of devices to determine if illegal content is present.
“Cyacomb has managed to create software, that would have previously taken hours to complete, and condensed it to less than a minute. This was a real-world application of seized devices from an actual search warrant.”
Dan Sexton, Chief Technology Officer at the Internet Watch Foundation,said: “Innovation is vital in the fight against online child sexual abuse, and we have been pleased to work with Cyacomb on this cutting edge technology.
“As a part of our long-lasting collaboration, we’re now pleased to be running a pilot project to demonstrate how IWF data can work with secure-by-design Cyacomb technology to combat the spreading of child abuse material to keep children from harm.”
This is the SNIB’s first safety technology investment. It comes after a recent report by the NSPCC revealed Scotland is facing ‘astronomical’ levels of online child sexual abuse, while Police Scotland recorded just under 2,000 online child abuse offences last year.
Jane Reoch, Executive Director, at the bank said: “Cyacomb is at the forefront of tech development in Scotland. They perfectly align with our mission to harness innovation.
“Their software is delivering real, tangible benefits to society both in detecting harmful content, but also reducing trauma as officers no longer have to trawl through hours of offensive images – it’s all done quickly and efficiently with their software.
“It’s inspiring to support companies like Cyacomb in being able to grow and develop their product to take it further in to new, global markets.”