Swiss know-how again at the forefront
When, last fall, WISeKey, the bespoke digital security solutions company, was named the sole provider of security software and services to the high-tech sailing syndicate Alinghi, as it prepares to defend its America’s Cup title against challenger BMW Oracle in 2010, Carlos Moreira, the Geneva firm’s founder and CEO, thought the timing was perfect.
Switzerland, like most of the world’s leading countries and brands, was coming out of a tough 2009. The WISeKey-Alinghi partnership, Moreira reasoned, features two of Switzerland’s most futuristic technology-driven organizations. Their renewed partnership on the global stage is as good a signal as any to the world that Switzerland will bounce back, and technology “Made in Switzerland” was determined to be a force in this new decade.
Secure sailing ahead
WISeKey has developed state-of-the-art digital security systems to protect Alinghi’s operations, brand and sailing technology during the race, a four-day 150-year-old event with a huge global following, which befits its status as one of the world’s oldest sporting events.
The range of services WISeKey provides Alinghi includes securing and hosting Alinghi public and confidential websites, creating and distributing biometric-protected electronic tokens to privileged fans and staff, and creating digital signature certificates to eliminate environmental waste for the sailing syndicate’s transactions and facilities during America’s Cup. WISeKey will also provide secure accreditation devices for all Alinghi facilities, including electronic identity credentials and USB data storage security tokens.
“We are proud to be named the sole provider of Alinghi’s electronic security solutions,” comments Carlos Moreira. “WISeKey and Alinghi share many values. We both deeply believe in integrity, excellence and the transforming possibilities of first-rate technology. And we are proud of inheriting the tradition of building winning organizations in Switzerland.”
The deal was a coup for 10-year-old WISeKey. It repeats a success first achieved during the last America’s Cup in 2007. The America’s Cup sailing regatta match has been around since 1857. It is the oldest active international sporting trophy, predating the modern Olympic Games by 45 years. Featuring the best sailors and resources in the world, America’s Cup is often hotly contested and very popular.
The 2007 edition in Valencia captured television global audiences of up to 200 million viewers and featured spying charges as boat syndicates grappled for an edge. The 2010 edition promises to be similarly seductive for global audiences, especially because of plans to reach the large multimedia audiences.
“We are delighted to welcome back WISeKey as a sponsor of Alinghi for the 33rd America’s Cup, says Ernesto Bertarelli, Alinghi team president. “As a team we need to share and access confidential information, such as design data, so security is paramount in our campaign to try and win the America’s Cup again. Our partnership with WISeKey will ensure that we have the optimum protection.”
And more to come
During the next America’s Cup, WISeKey will release its next generation of WISeAuthentic products, including the WISeNetBook and eKey+, a portable secure ID device for organizations and executives with sensitive data to access. A typical eKey+ user site default page can require using fingerprint or password for access and the use of SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) client authentication to establish the encrypted SSL sessions. WISeKey provides Alinghi and industries and governments with sensitive information, facilities and online and off-line events they want to improve with user-friendly and strong identity authenticating products and services.
The eKey+ is a revolutionary concept newly developed by WISeKey. It combines a biometric token device with the WISeKey eSecurity Suite to produce secure and highly trustworthy interactions with websites. In short, it’s the USB key James Bonds would use. That’s why it’s perfect for globetrotting executives and their companies.
Designed to help increase trust between users and web services providers, the security software suite offers corporations, small business owners and government agencies the ability to give their customers and colleagues access to their sensitive data to perform transactions from unsecured access points anywhere in the world.
Meeting an ever-increasing security need
The potential for fraud is a major hurdle for the evolution and growth of online commerce, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD). Identity theft is defined as the process of using someone else’s personal information for your own personal gain.
In 2008, identity theft worldwide increased by 22% from 2007. The Aberdeen Group has estimated that US$ 221 billion a year is lost by businesses worldwide due to identity theft.
WISeKey’s position as a leader in electronic ID management systems to facilitate electronic transactions is very timely. A combination of popular culture trends, regulatory pressures and e-commerce growth are pushing people to be upfront about who they are on the Web. Millions of users enshrouded in anonymity to engage in everything from bullying to spamming, identity theft to financial fraud are in trouble.
To help users establish their identities online and protect themselves against cybercriminals, software companies like WISeKey and websites such as Amazon.com and eBay’s PayPal require customers to enter personal information on a site-by-site basis. Yet there aren’t enough widely accepted identity standards – the online equivalents of a driver’s licence or social security number. Even Facebook is reportedly attempting to get in on WISeKey’s market.
“There isn’t anything built into the architecture of the Web that lets you verify who you are,” Moreira says. “WISeKey’s systems have been the closest thing for ten years now.”
The eKey+ Biometric USB includes a digital certificate that provides the individual user with the highest level of security, enabling identification, authentication, secure encrypted communications (e-mail, website, etc), electronic signatures and non-repudiation. The WISeKey Personal eIDs associate the identity of a person with a digital identity. On the one hand, a digital ID, or eID, can be viewed as Digital Passports that inform Internet users about their interlocutors’ identity and ensure electronic messages confidentiality. A performance improvement is achieved through offloading computer intensive cryptographic operations from the computer to the external eKey+ Biometric USB.
Bootable eKey+ Biometric USB is the latest module in WISeKey’s family of hardware e-security products, built on the company’s extensive experience in working with banks and governments, organizations which have the most stringent security requirements.
Swiss know-how at the forefront
With these innovations under its belt, the deal with Alinghi concluded a banner year for WISeKey. The World Economic Forum, the foundation renowned for its annual conference in Davos of CEOs and thinkers on ethics and globalization, last September named WISeKey a “New Champion” among “Global Growth Companies (GGCs) at the forefront of demonstrating how entrepreneurship, innovation and technology can relaunch global growth.”
Also, in 2009, WISeKey announced plans to open operations in China and Abu Dhabi. Its partnerships in Brazil launched a pioneering program to use the Web to generate popular support for carbon offsetting programs to help save the Amazon jungle.
Alinghi rejoins a cast of WISeKey clients and partners that are diverse and top of the line, including Microsoft, luxury watchmaker Hublot and IKEA. WISeKey will be joining Hublot in this partnership with Alinghi. The move combines the breakthrough technology WISeKey has developed for Hublot in the fight against counterfeiting with its work to counter corporate espionage for Alinghi.
In the process, the three Swiss firms unite in furthering Switzerland’s world-renowned position as a technology and global business powerhouse – and that’s not about to change.
Article by Jules Landon