Payfont, the Edinburgh-based Cybersecurity and online identity protection specialist has been awarded £100,000 funding from Scottish Enterprise.
The award will help Payfont bring closer to market its ground-breaking online security to counter data theft disasters such as impacted Adobe, Target and Amex, protecting millions of online users and their online providers from Cybercrime.
Led by Dr David Lanc, former senior executive of RBS Cards, Payfont has introduced its “ultra-secure” database architecture, based on its patented fragmentation security.
The Anonymised, Distributed, e-Commerce Architecture (ADeCA) will protect organisations and their customers by managing distributed data fragments via a contextual security protocol. It makes a user’s data completely unique to that user, anonymous to others. This approach raises the bar significantly against Cybercriminals used to stealing large databases of data records that rely on standard encryption and linear access security methods.
The size of the market for Payfont’s innovation is massive and global. US retailer, Target suffered the theft of over 40m customer records holding debit and credit card details, and some 70m records with personal customer data. This has resulted in costs of over $240m for banks reissuing cards, as well as estimates of fraud on cards stolen at between $1.4bn and $2.2bn. 150m customer records were reputedly stolen at Adobe in one incident in 2013, and more recently, e-retailer Ebay suffered theft of 233m customers’ personal data, rendering those customers vulnerable to identity theft.
Cybercrime and its identity theft and money laundering consequences are now at epidemic proportions globally. Most recently, it’s been reported by UK banks that over £21m has been stolen from UK citizens in the first 5 months of 2014 from social engineering identity scams. This is on top of increased UK card fraud of £450.4m for 2013 up 16%. This epidemic has thrown a spotlight on the Payfont proposition as a rare opportunity to eradicate a problem that otherwise shows no signs of diminishing. In the USA, identity fraud was reported last year at $21bn, impacting 1 consumer every 3 seconds.
According to research from the Ponemon Institute, the 2014 average data breach cost for a company is US$3.5m, up 15% on 2013. The average 2014 cost per capita of such data breaches are estimated at $201 for the US and $158 for the UK respectively. The big losers are not simply organisations and banks, but their customers. Research by CIFAS, The UK’s Fraud Prevention service, indicates 65% of fraudsters in the UK now rely on identity theft to commit their crimes.
Wendy Hanson of the Scottish Enterprise SMART Scotland Appraisal Team said: “We were delighted to support Payfont Limited with a grant of £100k from out SMART: Scotland Programme. The company was awarded Feasibility Study monies to assist them with their project which aims to provide a safe and secure environment for online payments.”
Cybersecurity expert, Professor Bill Buchanan of Edinburgh Napier University said: “This work is unique, and continues our research work with Payfont into world leading cryptography designed to keep us all safe online. As part of the extensive Scottish Enterprise external due diligence process, an internationally respected firm of IP experts rated Payfont’s innovation at 4/4. This validates Payfont as a pioneer of world leading innovation in combating Cybercrime. Overall we love cryptography here and to implement a system in which information can only be rebuilt from crypto fragments is truly the Promised Land for computer security, where everyone has equal rights in how their data is used, and accessed.”
David Lanc, Chief Executive of Payfont said: “We deliberately developed and patent protected our ground-breaking online security model, before having it independently validated by leading Cybersecurity experts. We took this measured approach to prove we had robust building blocks, and to quantify statistically the breakthrough in online security our innovation can deliver in bringing safe online life closer to us all.
We now know our next generation security model is robust and capable of delivering fantastic returns. The next stage in bringing it to market is to test the scalability of our architecture in systemically protecting millions of people and businesses online everywhere from the top global Cybersecurity threats.
The Scottish Enterprise award will help accelerate this.
If we can achieve the outcome we foresee from this feasibility study, we believe we can provide online organisations and their customers with the protection needed to grow digital commerce safely and with confidence.”