Rapid7 praises open source with the Magnificent Seven

Opinion by Dan Raywood

It is 18 months since I first met with Rapid7 and since that time, the company has begun making larger strides into the European market.

It is 18 months since I first met with Rapid7 and since that time, the company has begun making larger strides into the European market.

Speaking to its recently appointed regional vice president for EMEA Alexander Draaijer, he told me that after it received a $50 million investment, it decided it was the time to make a proper expansion into Europe and a year on, it had ‘experienced good growth'.

He said that the company has hired 150 people globally since the start of the year,  and has also opened offices in Amsterdam, Hong Kong and Sydney, while also opening an Innovation Center in Massachusetts.

“Cyber crime is on the rise, and with so much hype and scaremongering going on, it can be hard for organisations to assess the risk to their business. Rapid7 simplifies this challenge, helping our customers identify their vulnerabilities and understand the context around them, so they can prioritise remediation and mitigation efforts,” said Draaijer.

Jen Ellis, director of global communications at Rapid7 said that the company ‘knew where it was going' before the investment but this allowed it to ‘put its money where its mouth was' and support innovation, such as with its Magnificent 7 project.

This, Draaijer explained, was a chance for open source projects to be given funding by Rapid7 to enhance its open source interests. A fund of $100,000 was created for seven open source projects where financial and business support would be offered. The initial first round was done at the beginning of this year, and the next round will be done this month.

For the company that acquired the Metasploit project from HD Moore, who now acts as chief security officer at Rapid7, the company has kept its interest strong in this space.

Draaijer said: “The Magnificent 7 programme has been running for the last year and we support seven open source projects with funding and getting them a better presence in the industry. Companies can apply for it and we are looking for others to support.”

One technology that the company funded through the Magnificent 7 project is the Cuckoo Sandbox an open source automated malware analysis system created by Claudio Guarnieri, who has also joined the company to conduct malware research.

He told SC Magazine that he developed the technology in 2010, and after joining Rapid7 in July  2012, he had been continuing to develop the project as part of his role.

Guarnieri said: “The Sandbox software analyses malware and it makes it very simple to run any file and see what it does and see what is malicious. It has been great so far as we have been using it in different contexts.” 

Asked if this programme was developed to fill a gap in the market, Draaijer said: “We feel there is. We go to companies and see how they interpret security and they say it is too complex, so maybe there is too much security? Each company has a different context but not everything is reliable.

“With Rapid7, there is an integration of Nexpose and Metasploit and while we see competition, we have our own opportunity and a lot of companies can find their solution and our mission is to simplify complex terms, as there is so much to gain from it.”

The company has a solid grounding and is well known in the US, and arguably, has not replicated that in the European market to date. With a presence and enthusiasm for start-up technology, it has nailed its colours to the mast and programmers young and old will welcome their initiative.


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