Power grids keep the juice flowing through our urban infrastructure, ensuring society’s logistics run smoothly and safely. In many highly-developed countries at least, we expect this level of functionality. But the reality is that we, along with this luxury we’ve come to assume, are vulnerable. There are moments though, where we perceive this vulnerability we’ve created and the need to secure our systems becomes a top priority.


First imagine this scenario:


You’re working in a building and the power goes out. You then realize it’s not just your building but the whole block. Maybe a whole neighborhood. An eerie silence fills the gap. This scene is actually not too hard to imagine, since power grids can be manipulated.


Researchers at Princeton University found that an IoT botnet of high-wattage devices, like AC-units and heaters, can expose power grids to large-scale attacks. It’s a new class of concern, called Manipulation of demand, or “MadIoT” where a botnet manipulates the power demand on the grid.


Secondly, consider a recent security breach report on Oracle’s E-business suite which is leaving 10,000 organizations vulnerable to financial fraud. This report states: "The financial fraud scenarios explained in this document are just a few attack vectors that a threat actor can leverage to successfully exploit this vulnerability." It’s not an isolated case either: massive scale security infiltrations increasingly trigger our phones with news alerts.


Meaning, the only way to match hackers is to attempt to be as creative as they are, just with the reverse intention: to secure and not to threaten.


Since it’s in everybody’s best interests–from the consumer to the corporation– to secure their systems and products, our question became: how exactly can we as the venture department of a high-tech company builder help do that? Our team at NBT thrives on this kind of challenge, and we give you our answer with the launch of our cybersecurity venture, Deflect.


With Deflect, we welcome into the NBT fold, top-notch cybersecurity expertise from Founder Kevin Voellmer. Kevin brings years of consulting experience from American insurance giant Liberty Mutual blended with start-up speed. We combine this knowledge and agility with our connections to the German industry superpower HDI, our partner. Finessed by our venture development team, we’ve co-designed a scalable business that mixes a consultation and subscription model, where Deflect supports IoT manufacturers and customers in identifying weaknesses in their IoT solutions before any malicious actor does.


We believe deeply in security by design: it makes more sense to predict security flaws early via architecture security reviews up-front, than await costly fixes later. Shaping the design and operation of devices will mean more security and improved business outcomes.


This stands to have a major impact when you consider that by 2023, the global (IoT) security market will grow to USD 35.2 billion. In the EU, the cyber market (which includes IoT developers, integrators and industrial consumers) will expand to be worth USD 47.17 billion. With such massive markets, you can easily imagine the growing necessity for cybersecurity services to avoid data theft, data breaches and device destabilization.


We can’t wait to tell you more but for now, take a listen to this video interview with Kevin about why he founded Deflect and watch this space for more NBT venture news!