How University startup Shield Crypto Systems helps keep valuable data safe

Data breaches not only endanger people’s privacy and financial information, they can cost companies millions and inflict untold reputational damage.

As a PhD student at the University of Toronto, Alhassan Khedr worked on a technology known as “fully homorphic encryption” that can be used to better protect valuable encrypted information.

“With homorphic encryption, you keep your data encrypted and safe,” Khedr says. “However, you can still do some meaningful and very useful manipulations on it without exposing it at any time.”

With Professor Glenn Gulak in U of T’s Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering – and the support U of T’s Department of Computer Science Innovation Lab (DCSIL) accelerator – Khedr launched Shield Crypto Systems, which helps banks and other financial institutions guard their data throughout its life cycle.

DCSIL helped Khedr and Gulak translate their research into a proof of concept with the Royal Bank of Canada.

“Without U of T’s support, we wouldn’t be where we are today,” Khedr says.

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