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12/13/2012
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In-Q-Tel Invests In Secure Smartphone Technology

Tyfone specializes in hardware, software for improved security in mobile and cloud environments.

IW500: 15 Top Government Tech Innovators
IW500: 15 Top Government Tech Innovators
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In-Q-Tel, the investment company affiliated with U.S. intelligence agencies, has signed a technology development agreement with Tyfone, a company that specializes in secure identity and transaction capabilities for mobile phones.

Based in Portland, Ore., and with an office in Bangalore, India, Tyfone has 50 patents issued or pending in the areas of mobile wallet security, authentication, secure near-field communications and related solutions. Its customers include credit unions, which use the technology to enable mobile banking. Other applications include mobile loyalty programs, ID management and contactless payments on smartphones.

The vendor employs a combination of mobile-transaction software, microSD memory cards and near-field communications to enable secure transactions. Near-field communications allow for device-to-device file transfers. Tyfone's products include a mobile wallet called iCashe.

[ USAID launches a challenge to develop Web and mobile tech for better governance in Asia and Africa. Read about it at $45 Million Open Government Challenge Stresses Mobile Tech. ]

Jay Emmanuel, an In-Q-Tel technology VP, said Tyfone's technology could potentially be used to address "a wide range of complex government and commercial secure identity challenges."

In-Q-Tel seems especially interested in how Tyfone's technology might be used to secure identities and transactions in cloud computing environments. "Cloud services have created significant central points of vulnerability," In-Q-Tel said in a written statement on its partnership with Tyfone. Smartcard-enabled mobile devices can add a layer of secure access to cloud services and networks, In-Q-Tel added.

Tyfone's mobile software has processed over 7 million financial transactions, CEO Siva Narendra said in a statement on the deal. In-Q-Tel also made an investment in Tyfone for an undisclosed amount.

In-Q-Tel supports development of technologies on behalf of the CIA, Homeland Security and other federal agencies. The deal with Tyfone is the 18th tech agreement announced by In-Q-Tel this year.

Federal guidelines call for a move to virtualized environments, yet little funding exists to make that happen. Without a mandate, it may take decades to finish the job. Also in the new, all-digital Server Virtualization issue of InformationWeek Government IT Trends: Our survey shows no progress in using shared clouds within federal government, but there's growing interest in using commercial cloud services and running private clouds. (Free registration required.)

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