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Putting the proof in hack-proof.

It was a call to arms that reached every code kiddie in the country. Barrington-based Bodacion claimed that its server was hack-proof, and then stepped back to watch. In the ensuing melee, the company discovered that their security blanket was wrapped as tight as they thought. Co-founder Eric Uner chats about hackers, mythology, and keeping the hood locked.

How did the company get started?

The co-founder, Eric Hauk, and I were working together at Motorola and when we left in 1995, we started a company called Virtual Media. We were kind of a software SWAT team. We came into a company that was in trouble and pulled the rabbit from the hat, we solved whatever problem they had. We developed our own hosting center, and this was before there were large server closets. That’s when we saw all of the problems associated with Web hosting, the security and reliability issues, and that’s when the company began to change its focus.

For your hack-proof Internet server, you chose the name “Hydra.” Why the name of such an unattractive figure from mythology?

The Hydra of mythology actually has a lot of features that we wanted in a server. Basically, it was a large, unstoppable, many-headed beast with self-healing capabilities. The more you attack it, the fiercer it becomes. We like to think of our technology the same way.

Are you concerned that calling your technology hack-proof will taunt hackers into attacking you?

We hope it will. That’s why we put the message out there, that’s why we keep using that term, to get them to attack. We’ve offered $10,000 to anyone who can crack our biomorphic security measures and prove it. So far, no one has done it. Last spring, we even upped the prize money to $100,000 for a few months, and people still didn’t crack it. However, many tried.

How many hack attempts do you see?

We see them all day long. In all, we’ve had tens of thousands of attempts, and of course that went up when the prize money was increased. The volume is just tremendous, to the point that we’re well beyond the point where we can watch an individual one. We’ve even contacted some of the people to tell them they’re on the wrong track.

Besides keeping your technology safe, what other challenges does the company face?

One of the larger ones is that we’re selling a product that works extremely well for government applications. However, the certification processes that are involved to be able to sell to the government are extremely lengthy and costly. Some agencies have been trying to accelerate the process, but it still takes time and money. Larger companies have the resources to throw into this process, but as a small company, we don’t.

Are you concerned about having to reveal proprietary information during this certification process?

Most definitely. We have technology that is very revolutionary and everybody wants to see it. They want to look under the hood, and we’re just not ready to divulge that. Some of the certifications do involve having to expose our technology during reviews, and we’re trying to protect ourselves from that. We’re doing something that no one else has done, and we’re even making claims that some people find outrageous, but we’re sticking by them. That’s worth protecting.

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