What ‘Intrusion Deception’ Is And Why Juniper Paid $80 Million for It

Photograph: Chad Baker/Ryan McVay, Getty Images

Mykonos specializes in "intrusion deception" technology that can help companies identify online attackers.

By 2009, David Koretz had founded five technology companies from the time he was 14. Security snags he encountered at the fifth — an e-mail hosting company called BlueTie Inc. — prompted him to start No. 6, Mykonos Software Inc.

While he was running BlueTie, Koretz says he grew frustrated combating website attacks, often the onramp used by hackers to infiltrate corporate networks. Mykonos specializes in “intrusion deception” technology, which Koretz describes as a series of “tripwires” that can help companies identify online attackers.

The software is designed to lead attackers down data dead ends, toward stockpiles of credit card numbers that don’t exist or what seem like easily exploited vulnerabilities that are in fact false fronts.

“What this technology does is it places deception points along the way and when an attacker trips one of those tripwires, we are alerted to the fact they are there and can watch them carefully,” said Koretz, a 32-year-old Rochester, New York, native who races cars and climbs mountains in his free time. “They’ll go on a wild goose chase.”

Juniper Networks Inc. found the technology so compelling that it decided to shell out $80 million for Mykonos in a deal announced today.

Juniper, the second-biggest maker of computer networking equipment, can use Mykonos’ products to help its gear better withstand attacks, said Alkesh Shah, an analyst at Evercore Partners Research. Amid rising competition from rivals including Fortinet Inc. and Palo Alto Networks Inc., sales of Juniper’s SRX-series security devices fell 12 percent sequentially in the fourth quarter. “SRX sales have not been as strong as we would have hoped,” said Shah, who is based in New York. “This is a nice addition to that portfolio.”

For Koretz, named by Teen People Magazine as one of the “20 Teens Who Will Change the World” when he was 19, the sale isn’t too bad a milestone either.

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