Irish firm wins deals with global security forces

4 Jul 2005

A technology firm based in Naas that makes encryption products for mobile communications has signed key deals with some of the world’s foremost security and military forces, including the FBI, the US Army, the US Department of Defense and the UK Ministry of Defense. And now the company is turning its attention to tackling the growing menace of attacks on cash-in-transit companies.

Naas-based Digital Perception, established by entrepreneur and security expert Peter Doyle, develops 128-bit public key encryption software to secure wireless communications via laptop or mobile phone and lends itself perfectly to surveillance work and communications where any slip can endanger life. In the aftermath of 11 September, licenses to use the technology were acquired by the FBI and locally by the gardaí.

Doyle set up his security-focused technology business after a long spell working in software development at Microsoft Ireland.

Company spokesman Tiberius Pereira told the company’s flagship technology entitled Xapex enables security agencies to set out policies governing the transmission of vital documents via wireless. Pereira explained that equipment can be easily acquired that enables individuals to snoop on GSM phone calls and even intercept transmissions such as text and images. “In very sensitive situations, people don’t realise how unsecure mobile communications can be. Most security agencies, such as the FBI for example, have agents today traveling with laptops and mobile phones in their cars and it is vital that case sensitive information does not fall into the wrong hands.”

Peter Doyle explained: “Even today, the majority of mobile transmissions are inherently not secure. Equipment is widely available that enables the monitoring of mobile transmissions — clearly a concern. So we secure all links to prevent exposures of this nature.”

In recent months Ireland has been rocked by a spate of robberies of cash-in-transit vans and Digital Perception has turned its attention to tackling this issue with a “black box” technology that records and analyses internal and external involvement in heists.

The “black box” developed by Digital Perception is a cost-effective way for fleet companies to monitor their vehicles and capture video, voice and critical data in real-time. Data is stored to review incidents as and when required. At the heart of the system is the Xanex software that ensures flexibility, security and integrity, developed by Digital Perception. Critically, the link is secured so that any information sent over the link cannot be viewed by anyone else.

The vehicle can be viewed from a base monitoring station at all times, but typically the transmission to the station is activated by a panic button in the event of an emergency. Secure access can be granted to third parties, so it will be possible to view transmissions at any secure link via the internet — for example, access can be granted to any garda station or incident room. The information is stored in a secure location offsite to ensure maximum integrity.

Cameras monitor the interior and exterior of the vehicle. Sensors monitor significant events such as sudden braking, excessive speed and swerving. Video and voice data is continuously captured and stored in the black box, and the time-stamped information can be stored on a database for review. Integration with global positioning system means the vehicle can be tracked with pinpoint accuracy. All transmissions and date are secured using the Xanex advanced encryption.

According to Doyle, the system has numerous applications. “The cash-in-transit application is just one of many. PSV operators can use it to monitor the safety of their passengers, drivers and vehicles. Mounted in police vehicles it can record the scene when an officer is out of the car, for example when examining something suspicious or questioning a suspect.

“Furthermore, with the growing compensation culture and the rise in spurious insurance claims the system can be used to review an alleged incident and challenge the claim if necessary. Some companies will get a return on investment in this one area alone. Companies also have an invaluable training tool — driving can be reviewed and skills developed on an ongoing basis.”

According to Pereira, Digital Perception is also evaluating a number of other opportunities in the mobile encryption field, such as personal encryption products that enable consumers to safeguard their communications as well as a novel product for the competitive world of the paparazzi, whereby the technology would enable photographers to encrypt images to prevent them being stolen by rivals during wireless transmission.

By John Kennedy