U.S. Air Force Awards Phase I Small Business Innovation Research Funding to Area 1 Security for Cloud Email Security

Area 1’s First-of-its-Kind Cloud Email Security Solution Preempts Business Email Compromise, Ransomware and Other Advanced Phishing Attacks

Area 1 was acquired by Cloudflare on April 1, 2022. Learn more.

San Mateo, Calif. – November 10, 2021Area 1 Security announced it is the first integrated cloud email security company to be awarded the coveted Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contract from the United States Air Force. The funding will be provided through AFWERX, a U.S. Air Force initiative focused on accelerating innovation by engaging entrepreneurs within the service’s programs. Established by Congress 50 years ago, the SBIR contracts seek to empower the U.S. Air Force and its service members through innovative and forward-thinking technology partners, such as Area 1 Security.

As part of SBIR Phase I, Area 1 Security will engage in a program designed to introduce its cutting-edge anti-phishing solutions and technology to Air Force teams and develop a framework for future projects, including technical and other services.

With the funding, Area 1 Security, which has been recognized by Gartner as a Representative Vendor in the 2021 Market Guide for Email Security, will demonstrate its cloud email security solution to the U.S. Air Force. It is the first and only preemptive, cloud-native email security provider capable of stopping phishing campaigns 24 days (on average) before they launch. The company’s solution keeps inboxes clean of phishing threats, which cause 95% of cybersecurity incidents. Over a 12-month period, Area 1 Security prevented more than half a billion dollars in direct losses for some of the world’s largest healthcare, financial services, retail, and consumer goods brands.

Threat actors routinely target the Air Force and Department of Defense (DoD) with email attacks that could lead to data breaches and agency compromise. One such high-profile attack took place against SolarWinds in December 2020. Russian hackers staged a successful phishing expedition that ultimately impacted more than 200 private and governmental agencies. In another attack last July, the U.S. and its allies condemned China for a cyber assault on Microsoft email servers. The hackers, believed to be supported by the Chinese government, carried out ransomware or cyber-extortion attacks for millions of dollars.

“We believe Area 1 Security could have helped prevent these attacks. The initial entry points for most nation-state cyber attacks are Business Email Compromise (BEC) attacks that infiltrate the government’s trusted partners and technology providers. This can set off a chain of credential theft and other events that expose data and other critical assets,” said Patrick Sweeney, CEO of Area 1 Security. “We help organizations overcome these threats by protecting them across all phishing attack vectors — email, web, social and network — and ensuring that inboxes stay clean and free of threats. Our technology has proven that it can prevent these attacks across many commercial and governmental customers, and it is ready to adapt to the critical requirements of the U.S. Air Force.”

The DoD is not immune to BEC and other threats that typically target the private sector. For example, there has been a surge in military “spear phishing” as many personnel switch to telework. The 502nd Air Base Wing issued a warning about phishing email scams affecting countless airmen; as Col. Anthony Thomas, AFCYBER Operations director, has previously noted, “Spear-phishing attacks are a persistent threat to the integrity of our networks.”

Additional Resources

Area 1 Security’s mission is to stop phishing and other cyber breaches that trigger billions in losses each year, loss of sensitive data within governments, and compromise electoral integrity.

If you are a government partner interested in learning more or participating in a Phase II or Phase III SBIR program with Area 1 Security, please contact [email protected] or visit www.area1security.com.

About SBIR

The Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR/STTR) programs represent the nation’s largest source of early stage research and development funding for small businesses. The programs are administered by the SBA in collaboration with 11 federal agencies that collectively supported more than $4 billion a year in federal research and development funding. For more information on SBIR, visit https://www.sbir.gov.


AFWERX is the Air Force’s team of innovators who encourage and facilitate connections across industry, academia, and military to create transformative opportunities and foster a culture of innovation. Our mission is to solve problems and enhance the effectiveness of the service by enabling thoughtful, deliberate, ground-up innovation. We do this with an approach that combines startup urgency with the largest pool of motivated talent in the world to uncover opportunities to improve Air Force capabilities, connect and engage the right stakeholders, and facilitate outcomes. AFWERX was established in 2017 by the Secretary of the Air Force and reports to the Vice Chief of Staff of the Air Force. For more information on AFWERX, visit https://www.afwerx.af.mil/.

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Daniella Vallurupalli
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