Microsoft Chairman John Thompson spent a decade at the helm of security software developer Symantec. Since he stepped down in 2009, cyberthreats have gotten significantly more sophisticated and pervasive, which helps explain his latest bet.
Contrast Security, a Silicon Valley start-up whose software protects applications from attack, said Wednesday that Thompson joined a $16 million investment in the company. The deal was led by venture firm General Catalyst Partners.
Founded in 2014, Contrast was designed for a new era of software development. All types of companies — banks, retailers, automakers — now employ developers who are writing code, sharing it with co-workers, and pushing it to any number of devices and servers. Every step of the way that code can be corrupted by hackers.
Contrast is deployed at the beginning stages of software development to keep the bad guys out throughout the whole process. On the other side, the start-up's products can be used by companies that are constantly using new apps and programs, which all need to be vetted and monitored to make sure they don't contain malicious code.
"We've got to start to rethink the application security paradigm, not just the information security paradigm," Thompson said in an interview. "There have not been a lot of ideas that have emerged in that domain."