MagicCube working to secure mobile transactions
There’s no questioning that global commerce is becoming increasingly mobile-oriented. Whether it be ordering an Uber, or a beer from your seat at a ball game, most see where its headed.
The fintech community does too. Go to a show like LendIt, Finovate, or Money20/20 and count the number of companies developing technologies related to some aspect of mobile commerce. Billions of dollars are being invested in such companies each year.
Yet not everybody is convinced. Survey after survey show that significant portions of society still do not fully trust mobile payments, a perception fed by media stories of hacks, pop culture portrayals, and, yes, some consumer ignorance.
So before mobile commerce can maximize market penetration, the industry has to convince the public its information is safe, and MagicCube was founded to make sure it is, founder and CEO Sam Shawki said.
MagicCube’s origins begin three years ago when Mr. Shawki served as Visa’s global head for remote payments. He was charged with adding secure mobile and remote activities to Visa’s bank, merchant and account holder networks. He saw dozens of Silicon Valley startups developing mobile solutions, but they were based on legacy security ideas.
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That allows the app to execute business rules which handle secure operations even when a device is offline. The “miniCloud” is the backend appliance which provides Cube security and management. It sits next to the app’s backend and connects with a few APIs. The software builds a complete platform with the best characteristics of a sTEE while also protecting data as it travels between the Cube and miniCloud. An SDK delivers the app component and it is easily integrated with an app requiring a minimum of APIs.
The IoT is a huge opportunity but comes with huge gaps, Mr. Shawki said.
“The typical connected car has seven or eight subsystems like entertainment and key systems. They are becoming smart and their operating systems come with the ability to connect to other objects, but also to hackers.”
Security was often an afterthought in the rush to progress, Mr. Shawki said, and the growth path of mobile payments technology is very similar. Device manufacturers are not chip manufacturers, so enter MagicCube to fill the void to protect data as it transfers between secure locations, a problem exposed by recent issues with eATMs where smartphones are used as identification. Hackers circumvented security and stole funds from customers by compromising the chip and exposing the chain of custody.
“The industry is moving fast, but not enough thought goes into what happens once these things are connected,” Mr. Shawki said.