Consult Hyperion funds university mobile phone security research

Source: Consult Hyperion

Consult Hyperion, an independent UK-based consultancy that specialises in the fields of secure transactions, contact and contactless multi-application smart card and mobile technology, is helping fund a pioneering project at the University of Surrey concerning the security of mobile phones as transactional devices, with an emphasis on Near Field Communication (NFC) payments.

NFC technology is being progressively introduced into mobile phones, and allows them to act like contactless smart cards (such as the Oyster Card and Visa payWave and MasterCard PayPass cards) or readers.

Thomas Diakos is undertaking this PhD research and, as part of this, will be spending a minimum of one month per year, for the next 3.5 years, at Consult Hyperion's offices in Guildford. Thomas, who is originally from Cyprus, comments: "Working at Consult Hyperion is such a rewarding experience for me because of the company's innovative and enthusiastic approach to developing mobile security technology. Our aim is to provide a secure alternative to the way we use our credit cards for everyday transactions."

There are obvious risks associated with making transactions using the standard Chip and PIN format, as you cannot be sure that your PIN number and card details are not being stored on the reader. However, although using your mobile phone keypad for such transactions appears more secure, it is evident that there are still some possible vulnerabilities, and this is what forms the basis of Thomas's research.

Neil McEvoy, Managing Director of Consult Hyperion, states that the research will be focused on: "acquiring in-depth knowledge of the vulnerabilities of typical and specific mobile phones in order to develop appropriate protections for sensitive transactions."

At the University of Surrey, the project relates to existing research groups in Information Security. Dr. Hans Georg Schaathun, Principal Investigator and Thomas's supervisor, comments: "This is a golden opportunity for us to develop our expertise in a research area with clear economic and social impact on society."

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