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Ayala group invests in phishing protection

Venture capital firm Kickstart Ventures, Inc. on Friday said the Ayala group had invested in SlashNext, a company that combats phishing attacks.

Kickstart manages the $180-million fund under the Ayala Corporation Technology Innovation Venture (ACTIVE), which is backed by Ayala Corp. along with its subsidiaries AC Energy, AC Industrials, AC Ventures, Bank of the Philippine Islands, and Globe Telecom, Inc.

“ACTIVE Fund, the largest venture capital fund to come out of the Philippines, has joined a team of investors to secure $26 million in Series B venture capital funding for SlashNext, the leader in SaaS-based spear-phishing and human hacking defense across digital channels and apps,” Kickstart said in an e-mailed statement.

“With new investors the ACTIVE Fund of the Ayala group as advised by Kickstart Ventures, G3 Enterprises, Telia Group, and participation from early investors Norwest, Wing, and Alter Ventures, the round brings SlashNext’s total funding to $43 million,” it added.

Kickstart said the amount would help SlashNext accelerate its mission to protect the world’s internet users from all forms of phishing.

“Ninety-one percent of all successful cyber breaches start with spear-phishing – including ransomware, data theft, and over $30 billion [in] financial fraud,” it said.

In a related development, the National Privacy Commission (NPC) also announced on Friday that 10 government agencies, including the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas and the Department of Justice, had joined efforts to catch those behind the recent smishing and text spams.

“Spearheaded by the CICC (Cybercrime Investigation and Coordinating Center), the group includes the NPC, Department of Information and Communications Technology, National Telecommunications Commission, Department of Labor and Employment, Department of Trade and Industry, National Security Council, and Anti-Money Laundering Council,” the agency said.

The group plans to set up a hub that will centralize complaints. — Arjay L. Balinbin

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