CORRECTED-UK surveillance expert joins Mike Lynch-backed cyber security firm

Fri Jan 31, 2014 4:48am EST

(Corrects name of Andrew French to Andrew France throughout)

Jan 31 (Reuters) - Darktrace, a cyber security firm backed by tech entrepreneur Mike Lynch, has recruited UK surveillance expert Andrew France as chief executive, the Cambridge-based company said on Friday.

France joins Darktrace from his position as deputy director for Cyber Defence Operations at GCHQ, the British agency for signals intelligence, where he helped formulate the UK's national cyber defence strategy, Darktrace said.

Darktrace was the first investment made by Lynch's $1 billion Invoke Capital fund, which he set up after he left Hewlett-Packard Co in 2012.

Lynch sold Autonomy Corp, the software company he co-founded and led, to HP for $11 billion in 2011 in a deal that later turned sour over allegations of accounting irregularities. Lynch has contested the allegations.

Invoke invested between $10 million and $20 million in Darktrace last year. The company has developed software that uses algorithms to detect and investigate abnormal behaviour in a computer network, working on the assumption that the network has already been infiltrated.

France said it was impossible to stop people getting into IT networks, even with the best network and physical security.

"Darktrace does analytics in a way that changes the approach from being post-incident to being able to illuminate incidents as they are happening in real time," he said in an interview. (Reporting by Paul Sandle in Bangalore. Editing by Andre Grenon)

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