Interview with Gianluca Tirozzi, co-founder of BitCorp
March 7, 2022
Interview with Gianluca Tirozzi, co-founder of BitCorp, a company operating in cyber intelligence, on behalf of governmental, police and military institutions of the Italian Republic, and in cyber security in favor of Public Administration, organizations, companies and other private subjects.
BitCorp is an IT creative lab where advanced cyber intelligence and security solutions are developed for both the government and private individuals, the latter of which is becoming an increasingly large audience, particularly in the wake of COVID and of one of the most serious global geopolitical crises since the Bay of Pigs. If that doesn’t sound like much, keep reading this article because today we are lucky enough to have Gianluca Tirozzi, co-founder of this wonderful innovative startup together with Christian Persurich.
What does BitCorp do?
BitCorp proposes technological solutions, both hardware and software, that are completely in-house, with special attention to security and protection of data, transactions, and communications using a scientific innovative approach. How does it accomplish this? Through a series of services that we will analyze together in the following paragraph.
The technological core of bitCorp’s offer in the sector is ZADIG, the first Intrusion Detection Prevention System (IDPS) completely made in Italy. This product is offered in addition to consultancy and evaluation activities in the specific sector, vulnerability management and pen testing, and the ability to carry out ad hoc interventions for the resolution of specific criticalities. Zadig, on the other hand, is gearing up to become the first Machine Learning Social Network (MLSN) to focus on cyber security. Indeed, the young Milanese firm intends to build a marketplace where the most advanced models generated by ZADIG’s installations for high end clients (enterprises with big amount of data processed) can be acquired by “n” small clients via tokenization of artificial intelligence models. This allows the latter to take use of high-performing models that they would never have been able to build on smaller quantities of transactions, and it allows those who develop those models to cut the costs of cyber security in those significant cases by selling them. Such a solution also has the ability to annihilate most adversarial machine learning strategies deployed by malicious hackers, the company’s engineers swear.
But this is a glance into the near future, when the environment will be mature enough to support what the corporation has planned with Quantum Key, in other words, an exclusive look for us. ZADIG, on the other hand, is omnipresent. It is organized as a modular platform, with the master version being the aforementioned IDPS on premise, and three additional products:
The ZADIG SIEM for Security Incident & Detection Monitoring, a module that can also be supplied as Software as a Service (SaaS) to smaller businesses, working in the Cloud, preferably IBM, a multinational corporation with which bitCorp is a partner.
The ZADIG ENDPOINT, which can intervene on all devices linked to the monitored network and is also sold as a service.
The ZADIG SMALL BUSINESS, winner the call “Start Up for Milan 2020”, aimed at micro, SMEs, and professionals. Unique in its class is a type of gateway, combined our soecific software with Common Criteria-certified hardware, capable of zeroing the threat of ransomware and malware, protecting, the corporate LAN, even included the devices of smart working employees without infringing on their privacy, whose care and attention is doctrinally inspired by bitCorp’s membership in the European Legal Tech Association (ELTA).
Of course, the tools mentioned above reflect a capacity for Incident Response (IR), threat resolution, and DDos attack prevention; a hybrid capacity, man/machine that finds its synthesis in the SOC as a Service provided by the corporation to customers who require such a service.
However, discussing bitCorp’s cyber security also entails discussing:
BitCorp Blockchain is a native tool completely in house developed and not based on any pre-existing framework (e.g. Ethereum). It was created primarily for the needs of communications security but it fits a lot of other uses. One of its applications, the Transport Encrypted Protocol, is the subject of a series of patents, and it is one of the five creative solutions finalists for the renowned Bold Award 2022, whose winner will be announced on April 22.
BitCorp’s technology that uses both machine learning and neural networks and is at the basis of the cyber intelligence middleware platform that also supplied the basic component for ZADIG, together with Elasticsearch and Suricata.
In addition to math and technology, the human element is seen as the most important and vital in the development of any technological solution. As a result, the bitCorp guys (average age under 30 despite the fact that the founders are older) believe it is unthinkable to provide cyber security without adequate training of customers and users of their products on the main pitfalls of social engineering and best practices in the use of devices, applications, and applications. BitCorp even delivers specialized training designated for specific government organizations and entities of the national market in an almost unique fashion.
In short, BitCorp is an eclectic company that lends its skills to the most disparate fields, from the legal-philosophical reflection to the dawn of the metaverse, from the contrast of cyber crime and cyber terrorism to the research applied, from the new paradigms of information technology to the market of cyber art with specific Non Fungible Token (NFT) solutions really secure by design. A range of creative services united by three elements: innovation, humanity, effectiveness.
Are you interested in learning more about cybersecurity services offered by bitCorp? Read the interview below!
Hi Gianluca, nice to meet you and thanks for the time you are dedicating to us. BitCorp: tell us about it in your own words.
Thank you for giving us the opportunity to introduce ourselves and for paying attention to us. BitCorp is for me as a dream which come true, the concrete proof that at 50 years old you can reinvent yourself as an entrepreneur. That’s what happened to me and to my partner and brotherly friend Christian Persurich. For this reasons when I tolk about my company a cannot other than speak about it with Love. But what counts in business is not the talk but the facts: first of all a start-up that was born from scratch is entering its fourth year of operation, with budgets growing from year to year as its assets and capital stock fully paid, passed last year from 10,000 to 200,000 euros. We were just three when we started and now we have 12 collaborators, 7 of them software engineers and 1 PhD in mathematics for AI models. We got the NATO CAGE in January this year; we are Microsoft, IBM and VMware partners; Consis shareholders; we won all the calls for grants we participated in (13 for over 300k of research funding); we have been funded by Invitalia, the State Agency for Development for over 840k; Banca Intesa is supporting us in an extraordinary way through its Innovation Lab and the first big investors who come forward… and then we are beautiful: just take a look at the photos on our website. In short, in our company we work a lot, but we laugh a lot, too. Once a great man, Commander Luigi Ferraro, a gold medal winner for military valor, told me: “work to have fun, then the money will come as a consequence”. And this is what best defines the company we founded: extraordinary humanity and the desire to work well.
How and when did the idea for BitCorp come about?
I start out like one of those jokes from the 80s, the Pacman and Commodore 64: a sociologist, a criminologist, and an electrical engineer meet in a bar… and this is what happened in February 2018 when I and Christian, respectively the sociologist and criminologist, both engaged in a PhD, met the engineer Gabriele Pegoraro in an anonymous bar in Milan to talk about statistical indicators to be used in our academic work and we realized we were in front of the god of hackers, moreover unaware of being one. A big bearded guy with good eyes and the gift of IT creativity. Both of us coming from the institutional intelligence, we had been dealing for almost twenty years with terrorism boots on the ground around the world, we understood that Gabriele’s skills were going to fill a series of technical gaps that seemed insurmountable for the environment. In May of the same year we founded bitCorp and from there to acquire the reputation of those who “do something extraordinary” in cyber intelligence was a short step. But limiting ourselves to a limited market seemed to us like wasting a great talent in a sector today more than ever overcrowded with players, more or less emblazoned and embellished, but with few real skills. Knowing how to attack implies, in war, also knowing how to defend oneself. And since one is born a warrior, just as one is born an artist, and one does not become one, it is not enough to sniff where there is business to express talent and competence. It takes vision and that bit of luck.
Having said that, bitCorp was lucky to be born thanks to two great talents (humility requires me to get out), Christian, with his ability to set goals and plan their implementation, and Gabriele, with a deep knowledge of computer science, from protocols to apps, from hexadecimal to microprocessors, from the world of virtual machines to web services down to tor networks, to onion sites, dark and deep web and an inexhaustible desire to study. The team we have built in these three and a half years is made of 12 people characterized by real passion in what they do. Young engineers who have chosen and remain in bitCorp, despite being courted by Universities and big players, because they do exactly what they wanted. Only in this way there can be creativity, hence our slogan: Intelligence Creative Lab.
ZADIG, tell us about this bitCorp “product” that is so prevalent in your service area
Well, you guys were so good at talking about it in introducing us that I wouldn’t want to bore the reader by repeating things that have already been said. ZADIG is a platform whose unique aspects are a long term project that will mature as we gain market share. I am talking about MLSN whose paper we would like to bring to the Usenix NSDI conference this year. With ZADIG SMALL BUSINESS we have created a security tool for minor IT infrastructures, those that operate in most Italian companies and that until today were relegated only to the use of antivirus, often rendered ineffective by the lightness of the users in approaching the devices. A gigantic market in which only now, with the pandemic and the winds of war in Eastern Europe, discovers all its fragility to cyber attacks, more and more, always worse. And we are here, we are ready with a solution in perfect balance between effectiveness and economy.
Blue Team and Red Team: this colorful differentiation struck us, can you tell us more about it?
It’s actually a paraphrase of the jargon around cyber security, Red Team are the attackers while Blue Team are the defenders. Here the thing goes beyond what happens in most of the companies that make cyber security where the Red Team is the one in charge of the so-called penetration test while the Blue Team is the one in charge of detection and remediation. In our company the Red Team does also that, and it does it with real hackers, trained on the “street”, but mainly it is the team in charge of research and development in projects related to cyber intelligence, with scientific methods that our cyber punk hackers have learned in the classrooms of the best Italian universities, with most of which bitCorp is now consortium. Vice versa the Blue Team develops solutions and provides its services in areas related to cyber security. Red attack, Blue defense!
BitCorp: what is the origin of the name?
“Bit” as the bit of the computer, “Corp” as the Marine Corps. In short, we are the combination of military experience with IT and telecommunication talents. This name is Christian’s creation, like all product names. Among its ideas I’m very proud of “Zadig”, which gives the name of our IDS/IPS system, a name inspired by the name of Voltaire’s character, Zadig, considered the first modern detective in literature for the application of the deductive method to an investigation. As the cyber investigations performed thanks to the full stack of mudules whinch integrate our solution: IDS/IPS, SIEM, Endpoint, Gateway. So cool, another great name found by my partner! I really appreciate him when he has such great ideas.
Upcoming developments can only go in the direction of quantum keys, soon computational capabilities will be available that can disrupt the current concept of encryption and decryption. Therefore, both by virtue of effective services in the field of cyber intelligence and cyber security, investment in this type of research cannot be ignored. Especially since our laboratories are close to the Politecnico di Milano, among the protagonists of POLIQI, the first network of Italian quantum nodes and with which we already have promising technical interlocutions.
Curiosity: Which project are you most attached to?
We are devoted to all our projects, from the work of Greta Scarpa, our brilliant administrator, in the field of digital art with the ambition of launching an empowerment project for the inclusion of women collectors, artists and entrepreneurs in the NFT world, to ZADIG as MLSN up to the most ambitious, the Transport Encrypted Protocol, which could sanction the beginning of an all-Italian Telco ecosystem with the strategic and independence advantages that we can well imagine. But maybe the most beautiful project is us, bitCorp, with the dream and ambition of those who are still at the beginning and know they can do something special and lasting: something great.