Recorded Future

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Recorded Future, Inc.
Privately Held
FoundersChristopher Ahlberg, Staffan Truvé
United States
Area served
ProductsRecorded Future
Number of employees
200 (May 2018)

Recorded Future is an internet technology company founded in 2009, based in Somerville, Massachusetts, United States, and Gothenburg, Sweden, specializing in real-time threat intelligence. Recorded Future automatically organizes open web, dark web, and technical sources for analysis so information security teams can stay ahead of cyberattacks. The company has close links with In-Q-Tel, CIA’s investment arm, and Google Ventures.[1] In January 2018, the company announced Fusion — a new product that makes Recorded Future "the only end-to-end solution for threat intelligence on the market."[2]


Using what they call a "Temporal Analytics Engine," Recorded Future provides forecasting and analysis tools to help analysts predict future events by scanning sources on the internet, and extracting, measuring, and visualizing the information to show networks and patterns in the past, present, and future.[3] As of 2015, the engine was described as "Web Intelligence Engine."[4] Likewise, the Washington Post, in an article authored by Stewart Baker - the former General Counsel of the National Security Agency (1992–1994), which had described the company as a predictive analytics web intelligence firm deleted the term upon request of RF.[5] The software analyzes sources and forms "invisible links" between documents to find links that tie them together and may possibly indicate the entities and events involved. Noah Schachtmann from WIRED – who first wrote about Google and the CIA both investing in RF – described the company in an interview as follows: "Recorded Future is a company that strips out from web pages the sort of who, what, when, where, why — sort of who’s involved, [...] where are they going, what kind of events are they going to."[6]

Clients initially included the financial sector with quantitative investors, but since 2013 they have changed to businesses seeking cyber security, per Ahlberg, for example SITA (IT company), a global air transport IT company.[7]


The company was founded in 2009 by Christopher Ahlberg[4] and had 20 employees as of November 2011.[8] Google Ventures and In-Q-Tel invested "under $10 million each" into the Recorded Future shortly after the company was founded. Google published this on May 3, 2010[9] In-Q-Tel is an investment arm of the CIA.[10] As of 2015, it had partnerships with IBM, HP ArcSight, Cimation, Ethnographic Edge, Tiberium Security, and Malformity Labs LLC per its company profile published by Businessweek.[4]


China Vulnerability Database Report[edit]

In November 2017, Recorded Future published analysis asserting that the Ministry of State Security (China) influences or alters their National Vulnerability Database (CNNVD) to coverup espionage activities.[11] The analysis concludes "vulnerabilities commonly exploited by malware linked to Chinese APT groups" are inconsistent with CNNVD publication practices. The company presented further analysis in March 2018 at the Kaspersky Labs Analyst Summit, presenting evidence that the Chinese government retroactively changed the original publication dates.[12][13]

Al-Qaeda Report[edit]

In May 2014, Recorded Future released a report called "How Al-Qaeda Uses Encryption Post-Snowden (Part 1)."[14] Part 2 of the report was released on August 1, 2014, supposedly with a strengthened "earlier hypothesis about Snowden leaks influencing Al-Qaeda’s crypto product innovation." On the same day National Public Radio aired Recorded Future claims of "tangible evidence" that Edward Snowden harmed national security by prompting terrorists to develop more sophisticated encryption programs.[15] Glenn Greenwald and Andrew Fishman criticized Recorded Future's report did not prove causation between Snowden's leak and improved encryption by al-Qaeda.[16]

Occupy Wall Street Media Monitoring Report[edit]

In 2011, Recorded Future reported, "... gaining online momentum for the Occupy Wall Street movement. When we look more carefully at influencers in this discussion using our Influencer Map, we find that Iran Press TV is the second largest influencer after the U.S. media!"[17]


In April 2015, a coding website accused Recorded Future of violating internet privacy by analyzing private Facebook messages, which it denied. The accusation was disproven when the assumed private link for private Facebook chat was found posted publicly online via a server log.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Hardy, Quentin (17 Nov 2011). "Crushing the Cost of Predicting the Future". The New York Times. Retrieved 13 January 2018.
  2. ^ Recorded Future (January 29, 2018). "Recorded Future Launches Fusion to Deliver the First Universal Threat Intelligence Solution". Retrieved January 29, 2018.
  3. ^ Holliday, Maynard; Holden, Chris (July 15, 2014). "Advanced Web-Based Temporal Analytics for Arms Control Verification and Compliance". Science & Diplomacy. 3 (3).
  4. ^ a b c "Recorded Future, Inc". BusinessWeek. Retrieved July 29, 2010.
  5. ^ Stewart Baker (August 3, 2014). "As evidence mounts, it's getting harder to defend Edward Snowden". Washington Post. Retrieved 31 May 2015. “While this may seem like splitting hairs, in the world of data analysis software “predictive analytics” has specific technical meaning which implies something different. We use the term web intelligence to reduce this confusion.”
  6. ^ Amy Goodman, Juan González (July 30, 2010). "Google Teams Up with CIA to Fund "Recorded Future" Startup Monitoring Websites, Blogs & Twitter Accounts". Democracy Now. Retrieved May 31, 2015.
  7. ^ a b Cale Guthrie Weissman (May 26, 2015). "Inside the company that can predict the future by analyzing every piece of information on the web". Business Insider. Retrieved May 31, 2015.
  8. ^ Cheshire, Tom (November 10, 2011). "The News Forecast". Wired UK. Retrieved December 25, 2011.
  9. ^ Mastrull, Amanda (May 4, 2010). "Google invests in company, Recorded Future, that tries to predict the future". The New York Daily News. Retrieved July 29, 2010.
  10. ^ Shachtman, Noah (July 28, 2010). "Exclusive: Google, CIA Invest in 'Future' of Web Monitoring". Wired. Retrieved July 29, 2010.
  11. ^ Recorded Future (November 20, 2017). "China's Ministry of State Security Likely Influences National Network Vulnerability Publications". Recorded Future. Retrieved November 17, 2017.
  12. ^ ALFRED NG (March 9, 2018). "China isn't being honest with its vulnerabilities database". CNET. Retrieved March 8, 2018.
  13. ^ Insikt (March 9, 2018). "China Altered Public Vulnerability Data to Conceal MSS Influence". Recorded Future. Retrieved March 8, 2018.
  14. ^ C (May 8, 2014). "How Al-Qaeda Uses Encryption Post-Snowden (Part 1)". Recorded Future. Retrieved August 14, 2014. The timeline above tells a compelling story showing how four to five months after the Snowden disclosures both mainstream AQ, as well as the break-off group ISIS, launches three new encryption tools.
  15. ^ Dina Temple-Raston (August 14, 2014). "Big Data Firm Says It Can Link Snowden Data To Changed Terrorist Behavior". Morning Edition. National Public Radio. Retrieved August 14, 2014.
  16. ^ Glenn Greenwald; Andrew Fishman (August 12, 2014). "NPR Is Laundering CIA Talking Points to Make You Scared of NSA Reporting". The Intercept. First Look Productions, Inc. Retrieved August 14, 2014.
  17. ^ Holden (October 1, 2014). "Iran's Growing Influence & Occupy Wall Street Protests". Recorded Future. Retrieved August 14, 2014.