To address challenges with online authentication, Nok Nok Labs Launches Today
Nok Nok Labs is launched today to address the persistent challenges in current approaches to online authentication. Through the company’s Unified Authentication Infrastructure, which leverages existing technologies such as fingerprint sensors or webcams, Trusted Platform Module (TPM) chips, or voice biometrics, organisations can easily and securely authenticate to anyone, anywhere and to any device. Nok Nok Labs’ solutions provide organisations with the ability to defend themselves and their users against increasingly sophisticated online threats, and deliver more functionality that improves customer service and employee productivity.
Online authentication continues to present a challenge for enterprises, technology providers and users. Despite decades of innovation in computing, the default online authentication method remains usernames and passwords that are insecure and outdated. While there are many technologies that offer additional security, none are easy-to-use or scalable to Internet-size populations. Nok Nok Labs’ solutions enable easy-to-use strong authentication that minimises or eliminates the reliance on user names and passwords.
The vision behind Nok Nok Labs was incubated by founder and chief alliance officer, Ramesh Kesanupalli. He worked together with the chief information security officer (CISO) of PayPal, Michael Barrett, who saw the potential to revolutionise authentication and the potential benefit for PayPal, and the online computing ecosystem as a whole. Taher Elgamal, the “Father of SSL”, joined the efforts of Kesanupalli and Barrett, providing the critical “glue” to bring together the right people to crystalise the vision for the company. Kesanupalli, Elgamal and Barrett recognised the limits of today’s authentication technology and brought together payments companies, authentication providers and device manufacturers to deliver an innovative world-class approach and solution.
“Nok Nok Labs wasn’t created to build just a point product, but deliver innovative solutions in four critical areas that go against conventional wisdom in the security market: (i) more secure yet easier to use, (ii) scalable to solve enterprise needs and problems, (iii) able to unify existing technologies, and not another divisive point product, and (iv) cost efficient by building on and enabling legacy technologies,” said Phillip Dunkelberger, CEO of Nok Nok Labs. “Nok Nok Labs will provide enterprises, technology providers and their users with an alternative capability to provide simple, secure authentication, and is inclusive of previous technologies. We’ve put together a world class management team with decades of experience in building standards and solving tough Internet-related problems that will transform the way users interact online.”
“By creating an authentication infrastructure that leverages existing technologies such as fingerprint scanning and webcams, Nok Nok Labs is giving businesses the opportunity to authenticate anyone, anywhere and on any device,” said Michael Barrett, Chief Information Security Officer at PayPal. “Given the billions of connected Internet devices and future growth of online commerce, PayPal sees a critical need to implement strong yet flexible authentication solutions.”
ONSET Ventures and Doll Capital Management (DCM) have provided the initial round of venture capital financing for the company and Nok Nok Labs has put together a veteran team that has reshaped the data security, online transaction security and online payments spaces. Board members include Richard A. Clarke, former head of counter-terrorism for the GHW Bush and Clinton administrations and current CEO of Good Harbor Consulting, and Michael Barrett, CISO for PayPal. Nok Nok Labs also boasts an impressive Advisory Board, including:
- Steve Babbage, Distinguished Engineer & Group Chief Cryptographer, Vodafone
- Bob Lentz, Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Cyber, Identity and Information Assurance at the Department of Defense
- Dr. Larry Ponemon, Chairman and Founder, The Ponemon Institute
- Nils Puhlmann, former CSO at Zynga and Co-Founder of the Cloud Security Alliance
- Jim Reavis, Co-Founder and Executive Director of the Cloud Security Alliance
- Al Sisto, Venture Partner at Nauta Capital and Chairman of the Board of Agnitio
“Different people have different needs and requirements when accessing applications and data. Users must be uniquely identified and authenticated to preserve confidentiality, establish appropriate boundaries, comply with regulations and provide needed access that allows work to get done,” according to Trent Henry, a Gartner Research VP covering identity and security. “As organisations consider how to authenticate users, they face a bewildering array of choices in regard to authenticators, correct processes, mitigating weaknesses and adopting effective standards.” *
In response to the current lack of open standards in authentication, Nok Nok Labs has joined forces with other industry leaders such as PayPal, Lenovo, Validity, Agnitio and Infineon to establish the FIDO Alliance, a non-profit corporation organised to address market needs and requirements. The FIDO Alliance is developing a new industry open standard to address the lack of interoperability of existing authentication solutions as well as the problems users face with multiple usernames and passwords.