August 26, 2014 By Scott Dance, McClatchy News Service
When federal databases containing sensitive information on U.S. intelligence or nuclear weapons come under cyberattack, the agencies call on major companies like Lockheed Martin, Verizon and Booz Allen Hamilton — as well as a two-year-old startup in Federal Hill — to shore up defenses.
Maddrix LLC is among seven companies to be the first ones accredited in a new National Security Agency vetting program. The firms use complex data analysis and digital forensics to root out invaders that are lurking or have left behind tracks during their intrusions.
The NSA increasingly relies on contractors to scour for, contain and repair data breaches by what are known as "advanced persistent threats" — repeated, if not constant, intrusions from hackers in other countries. Defense and intelligence agencies not only need to protect their critical information, but also valuable intellectual property and the integrity of key and often vulnerable infrastructure such as the power grid, chemical manufacturing and the financial system.
"The government can't handle it all by themselves," said Stephen Windsor, Maddrix's president, who co-founded the company with Ron Shaffer.