Payfont

Background

Payfont, winner of the Innovation of the Year award at the 2016 Scottish Knowledge Exchange Awards, is a Scottish Cybersecurity start-up. It has developed a completely non-linear, dynamic generation of identity and data security that renders data compromise and identity theft virtually impossible statistically, even by the most sophisticated Cybercriminals.

Dr David Lanc, an online security expert, leads Payfont. Dr Lanc was instrumental in introducing the 3DSecure protocol for online card payments and a key player in the UK Chip & PIN rollout that started the global standard.

His vision is of a world where individuals control their online identity and privacy, making usable security available to everyone, and where organisations store data in a completely anonymous, contextless state, useless to Cybercriminals but making ultra-secure Cloud possible for all.

 

Challenge

Payfont’s dynamic authentication framework transforms protection for people. However, a key risk today remains in data stored at rest. Research and ongoing publicity of high-profile data breaches prove that data at rest is vulnerable to Cyberbreach, despite significant investment in technology-based security and linear encryption.

 

Solution

Payfont approached Edinburgh Napier University (ENU) and, in particular, Prof Bill Buchanan, to research the application of its patented identity authentication IP to data at rest.   ENU and Prof Buchanan have significant applied research reputations in the field of cryptography and Cybersecurity, and, importantly, could provide the level of close and trusted collaboration Payfont required, given the inherent value of its underlying IP.

This research was funded by a Scottish Funding Council Innovation Voucher, administered by Interface.

Dr Lanc worked closely with Dr Lu Fan, assisted by Prof Bill Buchanan, both Edinburgh Napier, and Prof Lachlan MacKinnon of University of Greenwich to devise, build, scale and validate the world’s first non-linear, dynamically crypto-fragmented data storage architecture.  This led to the innovation in data security product now known as ADeCA  (Anonymised Distributed eCloud Architecture).  ADeCA secures data in a way that renders it completely useless to outsiders without authentic access.  ADeCA is engineered in Scotland.

 

Payfont's close relationship with Edinburgh Napier University is built on collaboration, complimentary skillets, respect for each parties capabilities and a ruthless drive towards building a more secure online security. Our simple goal is to create an online world that balances the real need for people and organisations to be safe, but also the fundamental need for all societal demographics to be included, and people’s privacy to be respected.

 

We have delivered patent pending, breathtaking innovation that will provide the world with realisable next generation data security at a fraction of the cost of today’s spend. Edinburgh Napier now works closely with Payfont, through joint projects, commercial secondments and direct knowledge transfer. These activities blend the best of academic and commercial research, building not only a new body of “dynamic, non-linear security" research, but also a new generation of thinking and approach to how society can benefit from the online world in the fullest manner.

 

The Scots are famed for their engineering heritage. We hope our software engineering collaboration with Edinburgh Napier can extend that proud tradition, and rebuild our reputation in Financial Services, an online market for which our technology is tails made.  David Lanc

 

Benefits

By securing the front door (identity) and back door (data at rest) to the online world, Payfont IP can drive economic and societal value in a way no other software has, benefiting Scotland and the world online economy.

The impact of the collaboration on and with the ENU has been significant, as follows:

• As part of their strategy to build their sustainable capability, Payfont and ENU have signed three separate collaboration agreements, which are being pursued.
• A direct collaboration agreement for 40% of Dr Fan’s time to concentrate on research and development of cryptographic and security approaches. He would be a welcome addition to the Payfont team at anytime;
• A Knowledge Transfer Partnership;
• Sponsorship of a PhD. student to carry out research in areas which are relevant to the company's focus; and
• Further innovation voucher application to support advanced cryptographic design, building on their “engineered in Scotland” brand.
• Since the start of the feasibility study, Payfont has created 14 direct jobs to advance their agenda for innovation;
• The company is now attracting UK, US and International interest in investment and collaboration including support from the US Embassy Commercial Service;
• Relationships with the Scottish and UK governments via cabinet ministers, MPs/MSPs and senior civil servants are now taking place;
• They company remains guarded in making public disclosures, but invitations to industry events is increasing, and their ability to demonstrate their IP in a simplified way is becoming a reality.

In 2016,  they will bring their innovation to the world.

Dr Fan in particular continues to work as part of the Payfont team on ADeCA, further enhancing the leading work on commercial and academic endeavours in this critical Cybersecurity area.

 

Please note that Interface administers the Innovation Voucher Scheme on behalf of the Scottish Funding Council. All funding applications are reviewed on a case by case basis by the Scottish Funding Council, guidelines can be found here.