written by Krishan Sharma, published in The Australian Newspaper
Sydney start-up Dekko Secure has launched a cyber platform aimed at keeping communications private and secure during mergers and acquisitions, but also for journalists to exchange information with sources securely.
Dekko’s cloud-based platform offers end-to-end encryption of emails, chat messages and documents that the company claims is more secure than what’s on offer from big-name competitors like Microsoft’s Office 365 or Google Drive.
The security technology is based on user-generated private keys that never leave users’ devices which, according to Dekko’s general manager Eric Schwantler, means no back doors and no risk of the data being decrypted by anyone other than the sender or receiver.
“Large vendors such as Microsoft, Google or Dropbox manage the users encryption keys so they can effectively decrypt the data if they wish. This is different to Dekko where we don’t own the data and have no access to it. The user is the only one that can access their data using their private key,” Mr Schwantler told The Australian.
He added that there are many business applications that need this level of security, and a service like Dekko would have protected Fairfax journalist Natalie O’Brien and her sources from phone hacking.
O’Brien’s mobile phone records were illegally accessed by Vodafone after she broke the story in 2011 about a major security lapse, which saw the personal details of millions of customers made available online. Last week, The Australian published the contents of an email written by Vodafone’s then head of fraud Colin Yates confirming that the call records and text messages of O’Brien, a Vodafone customer, had been accessed in an attempt to uncover her source for the story.
“In the case of the reporter managing a confidential source, she would have her own Dekko circle established where she can communicate securely between members in that circle,” Mr Schwantler said.
“The circle is a private group of internal and/or external contacts that can send email, chat and share documents securely without anyone outside being able to read anything.”
“Any user in this circle can invite new members in a matter of minutes without the need for any technical or IT involvement,” he added.
Dekko runs in a web browser and can be used from any PC, tablet or Android smartphone and there’s also an Outlook client that works with existing email systems.
Cyber security has become a hot-button issue, with recent breaches at companies and government agencies becoming front page news. According to PricewaterhouseCoopers, cyber risk is the biggest worry among Australian insurers in the next two years, ahead of economic and regulatory risk. Venture capitalists are also jumping on this trend with investment capital reaching a record $US1.77 billion into private security start-ups last year, topping the previous record of $US1.62bn invested in 2000, at the height of the dotcom bubble.
Dekko has raised just short of a $1 million in two tranches.
With the European Union’s data privacy law — which threatens to impose fines of up to €100 million ($157m) on companies that fail to safeguard personal data or report data breaches — coming into effect from July next year, Mr Schwantler doesn’t expect the demand for cyber security to wane any time soon.
The company is exploring the option of expanding its 20 staff to an office in Amsterdam in order to satisfy “high interest”.
“We expect to become the solution of choice for enterprise clients seeking robust security with minimal disruption,” he said.
Credits: Picture: James Croucher Source: News Limited Source: The Australian