Interview with Yoti CEO – Robin Tombs

Yoti is a London-based technology company on a mission to become the world’s trusted identity platform. Founded in 2014 by Robin Tombs, Duncan Francis and Noel Hayden, they are a team of over 160 people with headquarters in central London, an office in India and a growing presence in the USA. The idea is to replace your paper/card/physical means of identity with a digital format. Think of it as being what Apple Pay is to your Credit Card. We had a chance to talk to their CEO, and asked him some questions.

Robin Tombs, CEO, Yoti:

Can we have a future where all we need is this on our phones?

“We’re increasingly living our lives on phones – we can consume a huge range of content, make payments and meet new people. Yet the way we prove our identity is outdated. We still have to show paper documents simply to prove who we are. Yoti gives you a secure digital identity on your phone, giving people a simpler, faster and safer way of proving their identity online and in person.  

“The more we use phones, the more important it becomes to balance convenience and security. People want to be able to do more things from their phone, at the click of a button, but this shouldn’t come at the expense of their privacy or personal data.”

 

What happens if our phone gets stolen?

“If someone else had your phone, in order for them to access your Yoti app they would firstly need to know the PIN to your phone. They would then need to know the PIN to your Yoti app. Our system only allows someone to make so many attempts at the PIN before they are locked out of the account. For every wrong guess, the length of time you are locked out increases so someone can’t make brute force attacks against your PIN, they have to try each guess one by one.

“When a higher level of security is required, people can also take a live selfie to prove their identity. Yoti matches your biometrics to  your ID documents, which makes it secure and impossible to fake.”

 

How does the security compare to things offered elsewhere (which have been hacked)?

“Traditionally companies store all of their customer information as user profiles in one big database, which then becomes a hot target for hackers. This is why people have lots of personal information – such as their name, email, address and date of birth – exposed at once.

“At Yoti, we store user profiles differently. When someone creates their Yoti, we take each piece of their information (their name, DOB, gender), encrypt it, separate it and securely store it. Only the individual user has the keys to unlock, reunite and access their data. This means that if a hacker did somehow manage to breach Yoti’s highly secure databases, they would only find meaningless separate names, dates, genders that don’t not link to a user profile.

“In some data breaches, it’s been revealed that data wasn’t encrypted. Encryption is important because people value their privacy and anonymity. Nobody wants to share every detail of their online lives with everyone else.

“At Yoti, we use advanced hybrid encryption and the best practice in encryption – using the strongest algorithms and the strongest length of encryption keys. When data is shared between two people, or between a person and a business, only they can see the data. This is because both parties need to have Yoti in order to access the data, so the information always stays within the Yoti ecosystem.“

 

Do you have many security people/teams/setups?

“There are now 180 people working at Yoti, including a team of developers and a team of security experts.”

 

What is stopping somebody like Apple from offering this on their phone?

“We wanted to offer as many people as possible the chance to have a secure digital identity, so Yoti is available on both iPhones and Android phones. By making it available on different operating systems and to a broad range of phones, people can use Yoti to prove their identity regardless of whether they’re an Apple user or not.

“Yoti provides one secure digital identity that can be used in a whole variety of situations – they can prove their age on nights out, checkout faster with alcohol at supermarkets, verify their identity to businesses in seconds, and even log into websites using their biometrics.”

Sami Mughalhttps://www.oxgadgets.com
Can be found somewhere between designing new tech as an electronics engineer or testing new tech as a technology enthusiast. Lives mostly on Twitter, and would love to have a word with you there as @smacula.

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