Zia Hayat created callsign to stop online theft and fraud


Cybercrime losses exceeded $ 1 trillion dollars in 2020 and is expected to reach over $ 6 trillion in 2021, according to Cybersecurity Ventures. As a result, the digital identity industry, developed to help thwart cybercrime, is expected to grow from $ 23.3 billion in 2020 to $ 49.5 billion in 2026, according to Statista.

London-based Callsign is one such digital identity company. Formally co-founded by CEO Zia Hayat in 2013, Callsign is an identification platform that uses digital behavioral signals and deep learning technology to instantly identify individuals with 99.999% accuracy. ” a simple swipe on a touch screen or typing on a keyboard. Their proprietary technology is used to create fraud protection, authorization and authentication products and services for banks and other organizations in the public and private sectors.

Hayat has been passionate about solving online theft and fraud since a young age. In his early teens he became fascinated by a program on the Crime Watch UK TV show that showed how the world’s greatest bank robbery at the time was accomplished by never setting foot in a bank while robbing make money online using a dial-up connection. modems. Until then, he spent more time in football than in school. But when Hayat’s father asked him what he was going to do when he grew up, he replied “Internet safety”. “That’s when my journey started in the space I spent all my time on, which is basically computer security,” says Hayat.

As he fell behind in school and struggled to create a simple alarm system for his high school electronics class, his father handed him the Mastering Electronics book, where he found the answer to his problem. got into electronics and from there I then was very lucky. I got my head down and got all the right grades and went to the University of Manchester. Again, I was very lucky, I met a guy, Dr Green, who himself was trained by Alan Turing. Dr Green was interested in cryptography. And I knew that cryptography had applications in securing computers and the Internet, ”says Hayat.

He went on to get his doctorate from South Hampton University to learn more about cryptography, which was funded by defense firm BEA Systems. In 2006, he overheard Qualcomm founder Irwin Jacobs give a talk at the Royal Society of Engineering about how in a year or two there would be these things called smartphones and we would take them everywhere and they would have sensors. who measure everything about their environment. “And as I walked home that night I was like, it just hit me, ‘Does that mean the sensors will be able to tell who has the phone? does he have this high fidelity? “

As the idea followed him, he continued to work for BEA for almost four years, then held a series of security roles at Accenture, the Government of Dubai and Lloyds Bank before leaving to found Callsign to finally follow through on. his idea.

“We don’t rely on passwords and usernames or even biometrics, because those things can also be copied and pasted. We make it more faithful, a more real representation of you. And there’s a lot, a lot of things you can perceive about people when they digitally interact with screens to tell if it’s them or someone else, and those things are very difficult for anyone to emulate. another, ”says Hayat.

Today, Callsign is growing rapidly and will have around 400 employees by the end of 2021, a growth of 30% over the previous year. They have opened new offices in Singapore, a center of technical excellence in Abu Dhabi, and count among their clients most of the world’s largest banks and financial institutions. As a result, they attracted $ 38.8 million in venture capital, including its 2017 $ 35 million Series A round led by Accel and PTB Ventures. Allegis Capital is also an investor, among others.

As for the future? “My goal is to make sure that when we’re all surfing the web, doing things that are just everyday things in the future, things like in the real world where you don’t have to explicitly identify yourself, my goal is to make that a reality in the digital world. And I think this will allow the right people to do the things they want to do without having to pop up a map every five seconds or enter a password, and the wrong people won’t be able to just paste a fake website or link you and make you disclose things that end up allowing them to pretend they are you. And it’s a simple vision, I think, and a simple thing to want to achieve, quite complex, as you can imagine trying to execute and implement it. But I think we are on the right track to do so mainly through the partnerships we build with our customers, ”concludes Hayat.


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