Toothpic, the startup that turns the smartphone into a key for online authentication

Did you know that even our smartphones can be unique? Each device differs from the others for very small manufacturing imperfections. The smartphone camera, in fact, leaves its own hidden “signature”, a digital “footprint” that makes each mobile phone different from the others. Thanks to this feature, a team of professors and researchers from the Department of Electronics and Telecommunications of the Politecnico di Torino managed to develop and patent a solution to transform every smartphone into a secure key for online authentication. With the technology developed by ToothPic, in fact, users’ credentials are protected from the attack of malware and other viruses by exploiting this non-clonable feature of our mobile phones. A particularly innovative system for some sectors, especially banking and insurance, which can benefit from it in terms of anti-fraud and anti-phishing mechanisms.

Smartphone flaws exploited to create an online authentication key

The Turin-based startup has developed an MFA (Multi-factor authentication) authentication technology compatible with Android and iOS systems. How does it work, in practice? Toothpic allows you to keep the cryptographic keys that identify the device connected to the network, managing to encrypt them through the imperfections of the room sensor. So, when you log into an account via mobile phone – for example a bank account – the system, thanks to ToothPic, captures images with the camera and verifies the sensor’s fingerprint. A simplified procedure, which eliminates the need to use passwords, tools or external devices for authentication. The technology patented by Toothpic allows, therefore, to ascertain the real possession of the smartphone by the user and to proceed quickly and safely to login or to pay.

Cybersecurity, cyber attacks have increased with the pandemic

Among the six finalist companies of the Startup Competition of the Web Marketing Festival of Rimini – the largest event in Italy dedicated to the ecosystem of innovation and entrepreneurship – over the years the Turin startup has managed to attract numerous awards and investors, including the Club degli Investitori and the Vertis Venture 3 Technology Transfer fund, which recently signed a financing round for 810 thousand euros. Investments that do not come by chance. During the lockdown and with the increase in teleworking, in fact, cyber attacks have increased dramatically. According to the latest dossier of the Interior Ministry, in the last year there were 202,183 computer crimes, 27.35% more than the previous year. Hacker attacks have increased tenfold in the last 12 months: they are 4,938 compared to 460 recorded between August 1, 2019 and July 31, 2020. In addition, during the first half of 2021, cybercriminals made extensive use of spyware and malicious scripts to execute their attacks. Cyber ​​security is becoming an increasingly crucial issue, which requires the continuous search for effective protection systems against external threats.