8 companies making Chicago a booming hub for cybersecurity

One of Chicago’s biggest tech employers, Trustwave’s team of cybersecurity experts work directly with companies to manage security risks and protect their data. The company is the home of SpiderLabs, a global team of elite ethical hackers who investigate breaches, reverse-engineer malware and perform regular penetration tests on companies’ systems. It also helps organizations set up secure procedures for bringing employee devices onto their networks.

Founded in 2012, 5thColumn has already stacked up an impressive client list, including the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Energy and the U.S. Secret Service. But the Chicago-based boutique cybersecurity firm works with the private sector, too. 5thColumn specializes in test automation, network design, encryption, protocol development and responding to incidents immediately when they occur. And it’s growing its Chicago team in a big way.

Everyone knows that they’re not supposed to re-use the same password over and over again, but come on — how many strong passwords do you remember? Keeper’s mobile app and browser plugin helps consumers and businesses alike create and store secure passwords to keep their digital accounts safe, and lets you create two-step verifications for sites that don’t support them. The company also offers a digital security vault that lets users store and share their most important files securely.

As more of our work is done on mobile devices, it’s important to take a step back to think about how to protect them from breaches. Founded in 2009, NowSecure works with some of the world’s largest financial institutions and with companies in healthcare, defense, energy and manufacturing. Its services include mobile app security testing, incident response and compliance.

Any company that relies on technology for its operations is faced with far more cybersecurity threats than they could possibly deal with — so where should they begin? Kenna Security has built Big Data platform that analyzes an organization’s entire range of threats, creating a prioritized list of the order in which those threats should be handled. Those priorities are based on an assessment of how likely a vulnerability is to be exploited, as well as how severe the consequences of a breach would be.


Rippleshot employs advanced analytics and machine learning to understand a credit card user’s spending patterns and quickly detect when a card has been compromised. Once fraud has been detected, the company’s algorithms search for patterns across all compromised cards to find out where and when the compromise occurred. In doing so, the startup gives card issuers a chance to shut down other potentially compromised cards before customers fall victim to fraud.


Users accessing stuff they shouldn’t is one of the biggest cybersecurity threats companies face, but they can’t just lock up all their data either. Based in 1871, Anomalix uses machine learning to make data-driven decisions about the kinds of data and applications individual users should have access to. Once the company has created a baseline of permissions for an organization, it can automatically set up user profiles based on a new employee’s expected role.


For companies operating in highly regulated industries, protecting communications from prying eyes is an absolute business necessity. At the same time, barring employees from using text messages and instant messaging services can put a major damper on efficiency and collaboration. Vaporstream solves that problem by providing secure and regulation-compliant messaging services that are as convenient as sending a text message. The services also maintain proper records and don’t put intellectual property and customer information at risk.

Images via listed companies and Twitter.
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