In this era of election hacks and data breaches, few issues keep businesses and governments up at night like the question of cybersecurity. Cybercriminals continue to enhance both the scope and sophistication of their attacks, as witnessed in major security failures such as last year’s infamous Equifax breach. Meanwhile, brick-and-mortar businesses still remain at risk from more “traditional” threats like theft and robbery.

Thankfully, a new crop of tech companies is rising to meet the challenge, developing innovative solutions to protect companies and consumers from both digital and physical dangers. In this monthly feature, we turn our focus to some of the most exciting and groundbreaking startups that are working to make our world more secure.

Robberies and break-ins remain an all-too-common threat for many small business and property owners, especially in high-crime areas. Making matters worse, victims often must wait until the offender has fled the premises before it’s safe to contact law enforcement, giving the criminal more time to escape and avoid arrest.

But what if your security solution could instantly detect the crime as it happens in real time, without any human input? That’s the premise of Deep Science AI, a security startup based out of San Francisco.

The Deep Science platform leverages the learning properties of artificial intelligence to recognize visual patterns associated with suspicious activity. First, businesses start the process by integrating their security cameras with the Deep Science system. Their live video feed is then continually processed through Deep Science’s neural networks. Trained using hours of footage of real-life crimes, the networks can rapidly identify signs of suspicious activity as they become visible, including concealed faces, weapons, after-hours intruders, even signs of a fire. Once the system detects a threat (for example, a masked individual with a gun), it alerts a human monitoring analyst who then immediately notifies local authorities.

In addition to enabling quicker response time from law enforcement, the system also provides a cheaper alternative to solutions where a real-life person has to monitor multiple camera feeds – an option which many smaller businesses like gas stations and convenience stores typically can’t afford. With safeguards like this in place, criminals may have to think twice before attempting their next attack.

NoPassword by WiActs

If you’re like most people, you probably have a mental library in your head overflowing with logins and passwords – ones for work, finance, personal hobbies, and more. Unfortunately, passwords are notoriously easy to forget. They’re also nearly just as easy to steal, through cyberattacks like phishing and social engineering. Is it time for a new approach?

The founders of InfoSec company WiActs certainly think so. Headquartered in Silicon Valley, WiActs aims to solve the login dilemma through their signature platform NoPassword. Developed specifically for mobile devices, the solution replaces passwords with biometrics and behavioral analysis, an approach designed to reduce user frustration as well as the likelihood of security failures. Companies can deploy the solution for both their internal workforce as well as external customers, allowing for a broad spectrum of security coverage.

To create a NoPassword profile, users first scan or record a biometric feature like their voice, face, fingerprint, or iris. NoPassword then converts the raw biometric data into an encrypted signature which syncs exclusively to the user’s smartphone. Going forward, the user can then use that same physical marker to login to any account that is already linked to their phone – all without ever typing a word.

NoPassword stores the authentication data solely on the user’s phone, instead of a centralized database. This prevents hackers from stealing vast amounts of personal data through a massive hack into a single company’s records (think Target or Equifax). Further, because the platform relies on unchanging physical markers, users don’t have to hassle with resetting a forgotten password. The solution also bypasses the basic vulnerability inherent to passwords ­– after all, it’s far easier to steal a simple string of text then it is to duplicate a person’s voice or fingerprint!

NoPassword has already been tested and adopted by enterprises like banks, retailers and companies in other sectors. In time, with these types of solutions gaining more momentum, the venerable password could well become a thing of the past.

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