Darktrace: Personal experience with the AI network immune system

In my blog, I will try to write about technology that I have personally worked with in some fashion. I did implement and use Darktrace technology for several years. In this article, I’ll briefly describe my experience with Darktrace, working with some former FBI and CIA agents, and Darktrace in terms of company history and what Darktrace does.

During my time using Darktrace, I had the pleasure of meeting and collaborating with several former FBI and CIA agents who worked for the company. The technology was new and intriguing, one of the early cybersecurity products to leverage AI in new and “cool” ways. I also thought there must be something to it if all these former FBI and CIA agents joined the company.

Now what was probably the “coolest” experience I had during my time involved with Darktrace happened one day when I sat down for a casual lunch at a Darktrace event in San Diego. I was sitting alone, then someone sat with me and I wound up having lunch and a nice discussion with Alan Wade.

Alan Wade is a retired United States government official who served 35 years in the CIA total and was the CIO for the CIA from 2001 to 2005, when he retired. Wade is a highly respected figure in the intelligence community and has been involved in numerous initiatives related to information technology and cybersecurity.

He was involved with Darktrace in an advisory capacity. He joined the company’s advisory board in 2015 and served in that role until 2019. As an advisor, Wade provided guidance and insights on cybersecurity and threat detection, drawing on his extensive experience in the intelligence community.

Now, on to what Darktrace is and does.

Darktrace is a cybersecurity company that leverages artificial intelligence (AI) to provide real-time threat detection and response for enterprises. Its platform, the Darktrace Immune System, uses AI algorithms to detect and respond to cyber threats in a way that mimics the human immune system. This approach allows Darktrace to provide proactive and autonomous cybersecurity solutions to its customers.

Company History

Darktrace was founded in 2013 by a group of mathematicians and cyber experts from the University of Cambridge. Its co-founders include Poppy Gustafsson, Dave Palmer, and Nicole Eagan. The company’s goal was to create a cybersecurity platform that could detect and respond to advanced cyber threats that traditional security tools could not.

Since its inception, Darktrace has experienced rapid growth, expanding to over 40 countries and receiving numerous accolades for its innovative approach to cybersecurity. In 2018, Darktrace was valued at $1.65 billion after a funding round led by KKR, a private equity firm.


Darktrace’s AI-powered platform, the Darktrace Immune System, works by monitoring an enterprise’s network traffic and creating a baseline of normal behavior. From there, the platform uses AI algorithms to detect anomalies that could be indicative of a cyber threat. Darktrace’s technology can detect a wide range of threats, including malware, insider attacks, and zero-day exploits.

The Darktrace Immune System is designed to be a self-learning system, continually analyzing network traffic to improve its ability to detect and respond to threats. When the system detects a threat, it can autonomously take action to neutralize it or alert security teams to investigate further.

Darktrace’s platform can be deployed in a variety of environments, including cloud-based and on-premises infrastructure. It also integrates with a range of third-party security tools, such as SIEMs and firewalls, to provide a comprehensive cybersecurity solution.

I will tell you one of the features of Darktrace that really stood out over the competition at the time was the Visualizer. People, myself included, were getting hooked on the 3D network visualization of devices and the real-time representation of data flow between all devices.

It is a feature that provides a real-time, graphical representation of an organization’s network and the devices and endpoints that are connected to it. The Visualizer displays a dynamic, interactive map that shows the connections between devices and provides details about the traffic flowing between them.

The Darktrace Visualizer uses machine learning algorithms to analyze network traffic and identify the devices and their interconnections. It also provides real-time alerts when unusual behavior is detected. The Visualizer is designed to help security teams quickly identify potential threats and vulnerabilities, and respond to them in a timely manner.


Darktrace’s innovative approach to cybersecurity has made it a leader in the industry. By leveraging AI algorithms to detect and respond to cyber threats, Darktrace’s platform provides real-time threat protection that is highly effective in detecting and stopping even the most advanced attacks. As the threat landscape continues to evolve, Darktrace’s technology will play an increasingly important role in securing enterprises against cyber threats.

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