You might attend one of the large cyber security trade shows or a national conference on defeating hackers and keeping your company's data safe, and emerge thinking "hackers don't have a chance of getting in". And then you see yet another headline on yet another big data breach, and reality kicks in. We're far from winning you think. But wait, there's a new technology in town, which has the ability to start levelling the playing field.
If a set of technologies clearly don’t work well, should you blindly keep on using them? That’s the question we asked ourselves several years ago when looking at today’s inadequate authentication systems and products. We could see that all of them suffered from major flaws. Perhaps the biggest is that they all require users to give up something valuable - like a mobile number or fingerprint (to name just two) - which can ALL be stolen.That’s worth repeating. Virtually all current authentication systems depend on user secrets or objects which can be stolen, rendering them weak and vulnerable. So we set out a number of years ago (around 2005) to create something where the user’s all-important “secret” could not be stolen, is never exposed, only resides in the user’s head, and does not depend on users having to carry extra bits of plastic (including phones) to prove who they are. Shayype technology we believe is the first real advance in cyber security for decades. Now users can enjoy the convenience of passwords, with the strength of 2FA - without the clutter and cost of having to use extra devices. Not even phones! Shayype displays a different code (a one-time passcode or OTP) on the user’s screen, meaning it’s far more secure than say vulnerable “two-step” authentication systems where users are sent codes by text. These can so easily be diverted to hackers’ own phones simply by taking over a user’s mobile account. We also hope to save the world from the burden of having to use longer and “stronger” passwords, which just get harder to remember – so end up being written down or stored en masse. All that’s now inthe past. The future now looks more secure for all of us, as at last cyber security can (pardon the pun) Shayype up.
Jon is Technical Director of ShayypeLtd. and has been working in the field of systems and software engineeringsince 1989. After graduating from De Montfort University (Leicester) with aBEng (Hons) in electronic engineering, he joined Philips Communications andSecurity in Cambridge as a systems design engineer, creating large securitysystems for clients such as Manchester Airport (Terminal 2) and the Bank ofEngland. Since leaving Philips in 1996, Jon has undertaken software developmentroles for BT, Nokia, EDS, IBM and T-Mobile, specialising in softwaredevelopment using open source platforms and cutting-edge multi-media webapplications.
Jonathan is the founder of Shayype having pioneered pattern-based authentication in Europe as long ago as 2005. His background is in communications, media (both as print and broadcast journalist), public relations and conference organisation. In 2008 a company he set up to begin exploring the potential of device-less OTP authentication was awarded “Cool Vendor”status by Gartner, and in 2009 the same company won UKTI’s Franco-British Award for Innovation. Now as part of the Shayype team he hopes to save the world from the burden of passwords, replacing them with what is arguably the first new knowledge-based “factor” for use in human authentication in decades.
Paul is responsible for commercial development at Shayype.He is an experienced corporate business builder, having led Companies acrossEMEA, including playing a key role at FedEx, where he created a newdivision to focus on e-commerce activity to address the new needs of thedigital age. For the past 10 years he has been a hands-on Investor,helping early stage tech businesses across multiple sectors start and scaletheir operations. Three companies he has supported have featured in the SundayTimes Fast Track 100 – and his goal is to add Shayype to that list, based onthe value the company will create for its customers.
HOW CAN WE HELP?
Due to its flexibility, Shayype is an ideal ‘extra’ factor or ‘fallback’ system, which could operate if other systems have failed. For example, if a biometric system – such as a fingerprint reader – couldn’t operate due to several factors (e.g. user’s fingerprint has worn away) Shayype could still operate.
Absolutely. Users of Shayype combined with most of the state-of-the-art IAM packages on the market allow users to authenticate just once rather than having to do it again each time they want to use individual applications. This means that your applications don't have to deal with login forms, authenticating users, and storing users – which hugely raises security (as there are no longer multiple places where possibly ‘shared’ passwords are stored). Once logged-in to an IAM via Shayype, users won't have to log in again to access a different application.
Yes. Like having multiple passwords, you can have more than one pattern. However (although this is up to individual users) you may decide having just one, or even two, patterns is enough.
You’ll be able to re-set your pattern securely. (Talk to us directly to find out how user security is maintained.)
Yes. There are other so-called IaM packages available, but we came across Keycloak (created by Red Hat, now part of IBM) and could see it was excellent and would allow us to offer off-the-shelf versions of Shayype to enterprises and other types of organisation. We refer to the combined solution as Shayype Keycloak.
Shayype is the ideal answer. Users will be armed with something that’s as simple (some would say simpler!) as passwords – a mentally-held pattern or shape – which has all the effect and strength of two-factor as it ‘generates’ one-time passcodes. And all without having to carry any additional hardware, even a phone.
Instead of vulnerable fixed strings of characters, users are armed with secret patterns or shapes, which when applied to small grids containing numbers (typically 5X7) populated with random (frequently repeated) single digits, neatly and elegantly provide users with new ‘one-time’ codes for each transaction, while resisting threats such as shoulder-surfing.
The patterns are used to create database keys in conjunction with an exclusive secret-sharing algorithm, offering many more levels of difficulty to hackers.
Shayype works on any device you’re currently using provided it has a screen. So literally anything from computers and tablets to ATMs and door locks. All you need with you is your Shayype secret pattern.
If there’s a risk of you being overlooked or recorded, there are two additional versions of Shayype (‘Evade’ and ‘Swipe’) designed to defeat such threats. Talk to us directly about those.