Smartphone security via visual technology

Member Article

Liverpool Hope partnership developing new smartphone security system

Liverpool Hope University has partnered with London-based Tento Technologies to develop new visual technology to improve security for smartphones.

The new process could eventually do away with the need to remember passwords.

Doctoral candidate Neil Buckley and Dean of Science Professor Atulya Nagar are working on mathematical models and algorithms to perfect the security of the Tento Token Authentication System, using digital applications of the principle of ‘secret sharing’.

The Authentication System, which delivers one-time encrypted logins, allows for secure internet access and online payments, and can also be adapted to detect counterfeit packaging and tickets.

When users download the free Tento app, they receive an embedded personal TentoID. When they log into a website that has Tento plugins installed, the website throws up a QR-code. The user scans that QR code with their mobile device and it will reveal a one-time-use login on their mobile device’s screen, which they can then type in to their chosen website to gain secure access.

In effect, a mobile device, when used with the TentoID app and website plug-ins, becomes a secure password generator.

The password is visual, so not only is it inaccessible to hackers, but even the user’s mobile phone does not know the password. The password is also destroyed as soon as the user has entered it into their chosen website.

It has been patented in the UK and USA and has patents pending in Canada and Europe. Tento Technologies recently secured £35,000 from the Department for Business Innovation & Skills after winning their Innovate UK 2015 Cyber Security Challenge.

Liverpool Hope University’s Department of Mathematics and Computer Science is one of the few places in the world where research is done into visual cryptography (VC) – hiding secret messages in sequences of random numbers or dots.

Howard Yates, Managing Director of Tento Technologies said: “We were delighted to have discovered that Neil Buckley at Liverpool Hope is researching visual cryptography and even more delighted that he and Professor Nagar have agreed to work with us on the development of our authentication products.

“Proof of identity and transactional trust are at the heart of our products and these factors will be boosted by the academic credibility that our collaboration will bring.”

Professor Atulya Nagar said: “This is an important area of research in Cyber Security in general and information encryption in particular.

“Liverpool Hope’s Department of Mathematics and Computer Science, which is based in the Faculty of Science, is internationally recognised for its expertise in Computational Mathematics and we have a growing University-Industry linkage and knowledge transfer activities”.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Simon Malia .

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