Oliver Sild of WebArx

Oliver Sild – Founder of WebArx

I am Oliver Sild, the founder of WebARX (now Patchstack), a web security company protecting websites from third-party code (such as WordPress plugins/themes) vulnerabilities.

I live in Estonia where I have previously co-founded a co-working space and a cybersecurity community CTF Pärnu, which is running a physical hackerspace and organizes regular hacking competitions.

I studied computer networking, but most of what I’m doing has been self-taught. Before WebARX I was running a web development company that focused on building websites and e-commerce stores based on Joomla, WordPress, and Prestashop. Back then, we also helped companies to secure their sites and helped businesses recover from online attacks.

I’ve always been into creating new things and challenging myself. In 2018 I was awarded with recognition as the young entrepreneur of the year and brave entrepreneur of the year.

The Journey Began

When it comes to my digital-life in general, I’ve been “that tech guy” since primary school. I was running private game servers of an old MMORPG (Darkeden) on CentOS when I was 14 or 15.

Even before that, I was running an SMS service where you could order Chuck Norris jokes and coded some fun tools (like if you remember MSN freezers).

Technology and the internet have been part of my life since a very-very young age. I even remember changing MAC addresses and swapping ethernet cards on my old desktop PC when my father cut off my internet connection so I’d do the chores (of course I rebelled). Fun times.

Anyhow, we used Joomla at first for the majority of web development projects because WordPress at the beginning was too much of a blogging platform. It was also not yet demanded by most customers, but that changed quickly.

The Need for WebArx

WebArx Logo

WebArx (Patchstack) Logo

When we started, there already were companies providing website security solutions. On the other hand, we saw that many of the solutions were focused on dealing with the consequences and were targeted to website owners.

WebARX is focused 100% on prevention and more precisely on the largest issue in particular (which are the vulnerabilities in the plugins/themes and other third-party code in your sites).

We are solving the problem from the very roots so we don’t just protect websites from the attacks and vulnerabilities, but we also have a community of ethical hackers (currently 160+ individuals) who are searching for vulnerabilities in plugins/themes and other web development components and we help them to address these issues before someone with malicious intents.

We are building a very high-end security product and therefore we mainly provide it to digital agencies, freelancers, and web professionals whose main business is building websites for other companies. That allows us to secure the web faster.

Oh, and it’s not just for WordPress. We do it for Joomla, Drupal, Magento, and any PHP based websites. Soon, we will also support Javascript and other languages.

Launching an MVP in the security space is tricky. We got a lot of attention already before the launch, so there were very high expectations while you need to be careful to not believe your own hype.

We are very proud that WebARX was chosen to be one of the top cybersecurity startups and we with 6 more startups from all over the world were invited to a cybersecurity business program in London that lasted for intensive 3 months.

So, the WebArx is a security platform to protect your websites from plugin/theme and any other third-party code vulnerabilities in real-time. You can manage security among hundreds of websites from a single dashboard.

Besides WebArx, I run Plugbounty.com – The very first public bug hunting platform that focuses on open-source web development components. Currently in the beta phase with 160 ethical hackers.

There is another tool, Wpbullet – A simple static code analysis tool for WordPress Plugins/Themes. This was built by one of our researchers and was actually added under official OWASP projects.

Myself with my Brilliant Team

WebArx Team

WebArx Team

We are a fully distributed team (we did it before it was cool). We regularly meet somewhere in the world. It’s not a full team picture but the founders are here (our CMO Agnes was taking the picture). I think it just fits well because it’s from our company meetup in Spain.

Advice for Business Owners

It’s very simple actually. Just make the first step – it doesn’t matter how small or big it is, it will get you to places you can’t imagine.

Right now online conferences, remote working, and also mental health tools are becoming increasingly popular.

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WordPress & Beyond

This year, we mainly focus on growing the product vertically. In short, we’re making everything we have right now a lot better. We are also growing our team – if you’re reading this and want to be part of changing the way web security is done for the coming generations, feel free to reach out!

I think if the WordPress community and also Automattic do the right steps, it can become what Matt Mullenweg calls “the operating system for the web”.

WordPress definitely has its flaws, but with the community that big, I think they can be overcome. There definitely will be competition, but I personally don’t think that Wix and other similar websites as service solutions pose a very large risk. If you look at statistics, Wix is actually losing its market share already compared to WordPress.

My Love for the WordPress Community

I regularly attend WordCamps and I have even been part of organizing one in Estonia. We also hosted the WordPress Security meetup during WCEU in Berlin. I think WordCamps are definitely important for the community to get closer. WordCamps do feel more like a community event rather than a conference.

I have massive respect towards Jan Koch, Kyle Van Deusen, and Nathan Wrigley to name a few. There are many amazing people in the WordPress community that I’m talking to on a semi-daily basis.

How I Keep Myself Updated

I haven’t read any actual books about WordPress, but when it comes to the industry, I really liked “Social Engineering: The Science of Human Hacking” which I finished just lately.

I follow a lot of blogs and read all kinds of different content. I’d say I mainly read stuff about cybersecurity, entrepreneurship, economics, etc.

I Have a Life Other Than the Work

I skateboard and during summertime, I also set up a slackline in parks. Last summer I spent an insane amount of time on the water with skimboards. I also play airsoft for some adrenaline rush.

I love to spend time with family and friends. Georgia and Thailand are my favorite travel destination, I really enjoy different cultures.

Besides all of these, I have a cat called Enn and a golden retriever named Lilly who we just adopted less than a month ago.

I Reward Myself by 

Mainly by traveling. I think the biggest reward for me is that I can work on what I genuinely love to do.

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