UK SMEs showcase projects in competition final to help millions of businesses and citizens stay safe from online crime
BT, TechHub and the Cabinet Office have announced the winners of their Securing the Nation competition at an event at the iconic BT Tower. The competition, which is the latest in a series by the BT Infinity Lab, was launched earlier this year to find innovative small and medium enterprises (SMEs) who can create solutions to help consumers and businesses stay safe online.
There were nine finalists in the competition, who were assessed by a panel of experts including CEO of BT Security Mark Hughes; Met Police Detective Superintendent Caroline Barker; Technical Director of the National Cyber Security Centre Ian Levy; and co-founder & global CEO of TechHub Elizabeth Varley.
After a Dragons’ Den style presentation, the winners - Intruder, DynaRisk and Chorus, were announced by the panel. Each business will be awarded a £10k prize, a six months’ flex membership at TechHub’s sold out London start-up space, plus the chance to network with the community of members. They will also have the opportunity to work with BT to explore technical and commercial partnerships to bring their solutions to market.
Ben Gummer, Minister for the Cabinet Office, said: “This Government is determined to fight the increasing threat of cyber-attacks to the UK, making our country the safest place in the world to live, work and do business online.
“That is why we are engaging with small businesses, industry and academia - to ensure that we develop the skills and research we need to tackle this growing threat.”
Intruder, who won the prize for ‘best cyber security solution for SMEs’, was co-founded by ex-hackers Chris Wallis and David Robinson in London just two years ago. The company promises to alert businesses when their online estate becomes vulnerable to attack and offer practical steps to fix any problems.
Ian Levy, Technical Director of the National Cyber Security Centre, and judge, said: “Intruder won because it addresses the gap in the current vulnerability scanning market and can quickly scale up, helping millions of SMEs to protect their online infrastructure. We are in constant need of new ideas to combat our online adversaries, and this competition demonstrates that SMEs are a valuable source of innovation and passion.”
Personal Cyber protection software company, DynaRisk, founded by Andrew Martin, took the prize for ‘digital innovation’, for their software platform that assesses individuals’ online behaviours to give them a unique ‘risk score.’ The software then advises the individual what action to take, to reduce their risk of being a victim of crime online, on an ongoing basis.
Colm O’Neill, MD Major & Public Sector at BT, and judge said: “Cyber security is a growing issue for the public sector and businesses, as well as consumers, and it’s one we take extremely seriously. We launched the competition earlier this year as we believe that this is an area that needs further innovation as the risks and challenges continue to evolve.
“It’s fantastic to see such a creative and practical solution from DynaRisk, which offers people the opportunity to take action now if they’re worried about falling prey to fraudsters.
“Congratulations to all the winners who remained true to the core of this competition – offering ideas that can help to secure the nation, with the potential to reach millions of people in a short space of time.”
The final category, ‘Data collection, mining and analytics’, was created to search for new ideas to combat modern slavery and human trafficking – a global issue which requires cooperation between multiple law enforcement agencies in different countries. The winners, Chorus, demonstrated a solution which takes data from disparate sources, uses machine learning to make connections, and creates courtroom-ready reports. The company is already working with nine per cent of the police forces and all of the counter-terrorism units in the UK.
Met Police Detective Superintendent Caroline Barker, also a judge, said: “The comprehensive solution that Chorus have is already helping law enforcement experts to reduce time spent on administrative work and focus on catching criminals. The potential for it to make a real impact on the issue of human trafficking, by breaking down information silos between agencies, is exciting to see.It’s great that events like this one are putting technological solutions to fight modern slavery firmly on the agenda.”