Large-scale online identity theft is a pretty regular occurrence these days; major organisations from all industries have been attacked. Notable victims in 2015 included TalkTalk, VTech and controversial dating site Ashley Madison – so it seems no business is safe.
Those attacked stand to lose more than just money; most will find their reputations damaged as well, with customers struggling to maintain trust after their personal data has found its way into malicious hands.
There is some hope, however. Password Protect is an innovative box designed by British security firm Silicon Safe. Its purpose is to store passwords separately from the main network, keeping them out of the reach of hackers.
Password Protect ‘impenetrable’ via typical attack routes
The key thing to note here is the use of hardware as a protection tool, instead of software which is more prone to vulnerabilities. This was a conscious decision from Silicon Safe’s founders, Dr Will Harwood and Roger Gross, who initially came up with the product as part of an academic exercise.
In order to build the solution, the pair hard-coded a chip, making sure it didn’t run any conventional operating system or software. Also, the box’s only purpose is to securely store passwords, and its make-up is much simpler than that of most back-end databases – it runs on just 10,000 lines of code. These characteristics, according to the makers, are what make Password Protect impenetrable via typical attack routes.
The solution’s development will no doubt be welcomed by security-conscious organisations across the UK and beyond. More good news comes from the announcement that Dr Harwood and Mr Gross have secured £1 million in funding for their project, meaning it should be ready to purchase by April.
Those looking to add Password Protect to their defence arsenal will be required to pay £100,000 in upfront costs, followed by ongoing maintenance payments. It might sound like a lot, but with the frequency of attacks rising rapidly, it could deliver a return on investment in a relatively short space of time.