Pocket Enigma machine to boost computer security


A Cambridge start-up is about to launch a new product which it says will give computers extra protection against hackers. ideaSpace-based Smart Architects is about to launch the sCrib – a memory stick-style device which stores ultra secure passwords.

The pocket-sized Enigma machine produces secure 20 character passwords. The device plugs into the USB port of your computer and, at the touch of a button, enters the password the user selected.

Designer Dr Dan Cvrcek, a former banking security specialist, explained how the device works: “Many companies and e-commerce businesses struggle with password security. They either end up with passwords easy to guess by hackers or passwords people cannot remember. There’s also a tendency to break security rules by writing reminders on post-its, even fixing the passwords to laptops.”

“Other firms opt for so-called two factor authentication, a combination of a unique short code set by the user, and a more complicated code generated by a token. These systems are however expensive and difficult to use."

“The sCrib gets round this by creating and storing secure passwords for users and it also enables two-factor authentication with minimum cost.”

Dan, who spent more than a decade in academia researching technology and IT security issues, says the device could also prevent key logging attacks.

“One of the major threats to security is key logging. A hacker can access a PC, via an email or a compromised web site, and plant a small programme which can record every key press a user makes.“

“This makes it easy for them to gain passwords to access secure systems. The sCrib prevents this as key logging software is unable to get an accurate read as to what is being input.”

Now the company is looking for volunteers to act as early adopters to give feedback on the smart device’s usability before its full launch.

“The feedback we have had from firms has been very positive, but we would like to get more people to try out the device to help us make enhancements as we build towards a commercial launch.”

Smart Architects is also in the process of refining the product design before its full launch later this year.

To find out more about the project, or register to be an early adopter visit http://www.my-scrib.com/cms/


Smart Architects

Smart Architects is a consultancy and research and development company based in Cambridge specialising in IT security and cryptographic projects. Its services include analysing architectures, implementation of security systems, and reviews and design of operational procedures for IT security and cryptographic systems.

Its research and development activities focus on hardware security products that provide solutions to problems being experienced both by home users and companies.


ideaSpace Enterprise Accelerator
The ideaSpace Enterprise Accelerator (iEA) is a four year programme to support the generation of economic, strategic and social value across the Eastern Region by:

• Identifying high-potential research- and innovation-led opportunities for early-stage business growth;
• Supporting the accelerated development growth of new ventures, leading to financial and jobs growth; and
• Increasing the knowledge and skills of people engaging in key roles across the enterprise lifecycle

The programme, made possible through support from the Hauser-Raspe Foundation and the East of England Development Agency, incorporates and builds upon the University of Cambridge ideaSpace which was established to support the coordination, development, acceleration and widening of entrepreneurial activity across the Eastern Region.

IfM Education and Consultancy Services Limited
ideaSpace Enterprise Accelerator is operated and managed by IfM Education and Consultancy Services Limited (IfM ECS). IfM ECS is wholly-owned by the University of Cambridge. It disseminates the Institute for Manufacturing’s research and education outputs to industry and government through education, consultancy, events, and publications.

The University of Cambridge’s Institute for Manufacturing (IfM) is a division of the Department of Engineering. The IfM brings together expertise in management, economics and technology to address the full spectrum of industrial issues. Its activities integrate research and education with practical application in companies, providing a unique environment for the creation of new ideas and approaches to modern industrial practice. The IfM works closely with industry, at a Regional, national and international level, providing strategic, technical and operational expertise to help companies to grow and to become more competitive.



For further information, contact:
Rob Halden-Pratt
Communications Officer
Institute for Manufacturing
Tel: 01223 748266
M: 07540 667330




ideaSpace believes that great organisations are founded by great people.