Interview: MagicCube’s Sam Shawki – why PIN-on-Glass offers secure authentication without complexity

Sam Shawki, CEO of MagicCube, thinks that Personal Identification Numbers (PIN) will become the authentication method of choice.  He has good reason.  His company has developed the technology to make PIN-on-Glass a secure option that turns any screen into a POS device or able to assure the identity of anyone.

Here Sam explains why MagicCube is a square peg in a square hole.

What are the main problems that MagicCube is solving?

The pace of innovation is outstripping today’s security infrastructure, creating an immediate need to secure digital information exchanges on any device using a software secure element. MagicCube aims to overcome this by delivering hardware-grade protection without complexity and constraints.

Nancy Zayed a fellow MagicCube’s Founder and I identified this imbalance of security infrastructure while leading mobile payment security, embedded and operating systems teams at other Fortune 500 companies. We were constantly searching for a better way to secure apps and devices and found that software-based encryption requires constant patching for vulnerabilities. Hardware also promised better protection but had serious limitations of its own. It therefore, seemed like the entire industry had settled for “good enough”.

From connected cars, to mobile payments and medical devices, security standards are lagging behind the tech. 

Unlike solutions that are limited to solving partial issues like identity or authentication issues, MagicCube’s comprehensive platform is designed to protect a broad spectrum of sensitive data types such as encryption keys including PKI, payment tokens, personal data, identity, authentication, as well as securing the sensitive logic required for biometrics, tokenisation, secure screen input, device identity, Artificial Intelligence (AI) logic for autonomous cars, and more.

What sort of companies is MagicCube targeting?

MagicCube targets global companies that deal with sensitive mobile & IoT device customer data. These companies require secure mobile and IoT solutions that are easy to integrate, deploy, manage and update.

The platform provides companies with hardware-grade security with the ease and scalability of software. It provides freedom from OEMs, network providers, and other large organisations, putting control of security and deployment back into the hands of the business.

Who is on board?

Regarding the payment landscape we are targeting, we work with a range of businesses. An example would be Yellow Pepper who craft secure and powerful solutions so that transacting becomes convenient, as well as safe and super fast and Visa which is a global leader in payments technology. Other current partners and customers include ID tech (US) and Sequent.

What are the trends shaping the PoS market?

From connected cars, to mobile payments and medical devices, security standards are lagging behind the tech. Most use legacy solutions that stitch together cumbersome hardware solutions that are hard to scale up and difficult to manage aftermarket. Many do not even have a hardware solution, increasing their vulnerability to attacks.

Secure input of sensitive data on any screen from “PIN on glass” for point of sale systems (PoS) to car dashboards, eliminate the need for costly terminals and hardware attachments.

Access to this technology on the PoS side would increase credit card acceptance in small merchants, with even the possibility of impacting GDPs for some countries.

Sam Shawki, CEO, MagicCube


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