30 Years of Trend Micro

This year marks 30 years of Trend Micro. That’s three decades of working to make the world safe for exchanging digital information in a constantly changing technology and cyber threat environment.

Our founders often reference the humble beginnings of the company – starting from a garage in California – to highlight just how far we’ve come. Today, Trend operates in 60 countries around with world with more than 6,000 employees, helping make the digital world more secure for more than 500,000 businesses and millions of individuals.

Throughout these three decades, our focus has never changed, despite the changes to our increasingly connected world. Every “Trender” is inspired to help our customers stay one step ahead of the bad guys. Ultimately, knowing that our customers are safe and that we are making a difference in the increasingly connected world is what drives us forward.

Celebrating 30 Years

To celebrate our 30th anniversary, we’ve focused on two main things: Telling our story and sharing our culture with our employees, customers and partners through global birthday celebrations; and expanding our understanding of the latest technological innovations that are taking cybersecurity to a new level. The latter has primarily revolved around artificial intelligence (AI) – but not in the overhyped, buzzword sense of the term too often used in industry marketing hyperbole. We’re looking at AI in terms of how it can further improve how we protect our customers. AI is a necessary technique for dealing with the massive amounts of data generated in today’s connected world. In security, we use it to automatically detect unknown threats and deliver actionable intelligence, augmenting our decision-making and helping us respond better and faster to the highest risk threats.

Machine learning is at the heart of AI. We began using machine learning more than 10 years ago, so this approach is not new for us, but we’re constantly looking to expand our use of the most effective tools out there. Here are a few highlights from our journey with machine learning:

  • 2005: Spammers used misspelled words to evade rule-based filters, so we added machine learning to see through their tricks
  • 2008: The Smart Protection Networks – the first cloud-based global threat intelligence mechanism – was introduced, using machine learning to make sense of global threat data
  • 2009: Machine learning was used to rapidly categorize websites (gambling, porn, malware). This was applied to web-based script analyzers in 2010 to detect Adobe Flash exploits, as well.
  • 2016: High-fidelity machine learning – which includes the combination of pre-execution and run-time machine learning – was added to enhance detection of unknown threats like ransomware
  • 2017: TippingPoint network IPS added machine learning to categorize unknown threats
  • 2018: Writing Style DNA uses machine learning to detect email impersonation of company executives

Commitment to learning

To build a global team with deep understanding of AI and its applications for cybersecurity, we challenged the entire company – not just the 2,000 in R&D – to refine and grow their AI skills. Teams built algorithms and applied AI technologies to solve game challenges.

The idea was to make the whole process fun and educational for those who took part. By gamifying the whole experience, we have helped more of our Trenders will get familiar with AI and machine learning. Now they can use this experience to find new ways to solve security problems and/or design solutions to help with their daily jobs.

Commitment to our team

The contest started with a six-week preliminary competition that challenged teams to not only refine their understanding of key AI concepts, but also practically apply these concepts to win various challenges. More than 2,392 people from 14 countries participated in the contest among nearly 500 teams.

Out of this preliminary competition, 1,550 Trenders qualified for the finals, which was hosted this week at an internal event in Fukuoka, Japan. 

Commitment to partnership

One of the critical factors in making this a successful AI experience was to create a dynamic cloud environment to enable our teams to leverage any uses of AI technology. In this, we’ve been able to harness the power of Trend Micro’s long-standing technical collaboration with Amazon Web Services (AWS). Thanks to AWS we can grow or shrink infrastructure resources dynamically as needed based on changing requirements. Using an AI development setting means teams can deploy hundreds of GPUs dynamically in a short amount of time to power their machine learning algorithms.

Bringing employees together in a way that celebrates our culture of innovation, as well as a significant milestone in the company’s history, makes this a successful process for us. Whether this competition helps uncover more innovative use cases for AI and machine learning in our products or merely helps more of our employees understand and appreciate a technology that’s changing the world around us — it’s sure to have been a valuable exercise. Here’s to the next 30 years of Securing the Connected World.