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6 security companies to watch

Tim Greene | Jan. 27, 2012
This group of security companies includes several that want to capitalize on technology ideas that were originally devised to serve communities of special interest but could now take on a wider cybersecurity role.

Fixmo can partition these devices and create a secure sandbox in which corporate data is handled, ensuring that data can't be accessed by the rest of the machine, blocking it from potentially being compromised. The products are already being used by the Department of Defense to secure Android devices.

With these solid credentials and an infusion of $29.5 million last year, the company should have noteworthy expansion and enhancements soon.

Universal Secure Registry

Headquarters: Newton, Mass. Founded: 2007 Funding: Private Leader: Founder is Kenneth Weiss Fun fact: Weiss is the creator of what is now the RSA SecurID two-factor authentication token.

Why we're following it: You can't have enough factors in multi-factor authentication, and Universal Security Registry is boosting the number to three-plus.

Kenneth Weiss, the founder of Universal Secure Registry, brings an impressive credential to the venture: He is the father of the two-factor authentication tokens known as SecurID.

With USR, he's upping his game with an additional biometric authentication factor that would be used to support electronic wallets. With the technology that he calls three-plus factor authentication, critical data used in transactions aren't stored on the phones. Rather, the multi-tiered authentication enables a connection to a server that stores customer data such as credit card numbers. That data is transmitted via a secure channel to a point-of-sale device.

Using the system, customers in the checkout line punch in passwords (something they know) followed by a randomly generated number from their phone (something they have) followed by reciting a phrase into the phone to create a voiceprint (something they are). If all three line up, customer data is sent to the point-of-sale device including a photo of the customer for the clerk to verify against the person standing there with the phone (that's the "plus").

The Universal Secure Registry could just as well be used for network logins. The constantly changing PIN generation is based on SecurID patents that are now in the public domain.

With the wide interest in digital wallets and Universal Secure Registry's goal of licensing the technology to others, it has the chance to become a widespread authentication tool that could give SecurID a run for its money.

The company is privately funded and has competition against some formidably well-heeled adversaries including Google, Visa, AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile, the latter three of which are teaming up on a scheme called Isis.


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