An Oxford University spin-out company called OxCept is aiming to develop novel ways of securely transferring information that could be incorporated into a mobile payment app.
Oxcept, established by the university's technology transfer company Isis Innovation, wants to create a peer-to-peer payment app for mobile users based on patented security protocols developed at Oxford University's Department of Computer Science.
Those behind the development of the app say it will enable users to create a new secure network or to secure an initially insecure network.
Once both parties have downloaded the app the payer authenticates the payee and authorises a payment, without the need for swiping, scanning or card reading. No pass codes, account information or credit card details are disclosed.
Perry Anderson, CEO of OxCept, said: "It simply does what we all require of a security app and allows us to transfer money or data without fear of it being intercepted."
Professor Bill Roscoe of Oxford University's Department of Computer Science led the research group responsible for developing and testing the protocols over the last 12 years with the help of funding from the US military. "These protocols resist many of the threats such as so-called 'man in the middle' attacks associated with online security solutions," he said. "We create security without having to rely on any pre-existing infrastructure such as a public key infrastructure, and we do it from the things human users know and trust."
The Oxford team has also used and tested the security protocols in a map-based application for secure data sharing or 'coalition working' in disaster recovery scenarios. This allowed separate groups including police, humanitarian teams, civilians and armed forces to work securely together on common challenges.
According to OxCept, the security protocols also have the potential to be used for applications including configuring security for machine-to-machine communications and securing data.
OxCept has raised an initial £250,000 to fund early operations and will have offices in London and Silicon Valley.