Paola Fusi interviews Andrea Cauduro
Intellegit is the new University of Trento startup dedicated to the management of security risks. We talked about it with the CEO, Andrea Cauduro, a member of the eCrime research group in the university’s Faculty of Law.
Dr Cauduro, where did the idea for Intellegit come from? What skills have been brought together in this startup?
The idea came from the eCrime research group, in the Faculty of Law, where for some years we’ve been using a multidisciplinary approach: criminology, law, computer science, and statistics are all combined to do applied research. We realized that the multidisciplinary approach and the knowhow that we have developed over time could be transferred to the business world, and that’s how Intellegit started.
To introduce yourselves you have chosen the phrase “Turning science into intelligence”. What does the transfer of knowledge from the university to society mean in your field?
In our case it’s an accumulation of knowledge, of experiences, of dialogue, built up day after day in various scientific domains (which do not always communicate easily with each other), to create a business which, as our motto says, allows us to translate science into intelligence. It means bringing our knowledge and our experience as researchers to an operational context, that of business.
What is the mission of Intellegit and what are its areas of activity?
The mission is to transform science and research skills into services and intelligence products that allow public institutions, businesses and organizations to make better decisions, and to best limit the security risks that they face. To do this, Intellegit develops advanced services, including ICT services, to identify, analyze and manage the risks associated with security, including geopolitical risks.
We focus on three areas: business intelligence, geostrategic intelligence and public administration intelligence. These are all sectors in which security plays a key role, and where it is increasingly necessary to find new and effective tools to guarantee security for public and private institutions and companies.
Are your products and services already on the market? Who are they aimed at?
We are taking our first steps, for example with services to protect large companies from identity fraud, using experience gained in the project WEB PRO ID financed by the European Commission. These crimes are difficult to prevent, but cost hundreds of millions of euros every year, as well as serious difficulties for those who have their personal data stolen by fraudsters who use them to obtain consumer goods, smartphones and other technological products.
Do you have specific products or services for identity fraud?
We have developed knowledge and specific expertise that has led to the creation of IDentify, a service that can identify in real time transactions that are at risk of fraud that is based on identity crime. Imagine a fraudster who steals personal data from an unsuspecting citizen (such as tax code and address) That data is then used to obtain a loan, or one or more smartphones from a telephone company, in the victim’s name. IDentify, using very advanced data mining techniques, analyzes the “characteristics” of the client and the services requested. This provides an index of risk, an alarm, that allows the vendor to decide whether to proceed or whether it is better to check carefully who the client is. The service started from a close collaboration with several Italian telephone companies, and is aimed at them but could also be applied to finance companies, banks, retail chains, and others who offer services on credit based on the identity of a client.
One of your products is Veripharma. Can you tell us what that is?
In Italy too it will soon be possible to buy medicines over the internet. Unfortunately though, this market has a large number of criminals who often trick clients/patients by selling products that are of very low quality and not certified – in a word, fake. This can have very serious consequences and in Europe there have already been hundreds of deaths caused by taking fake medicines.
Veripharma offers a solution to this problem through a system of verification and certification, using a digital seal on the website of the online pharmacy, and a smartphone app that will allow users to easily check the authentiticy of the site that they are buying medicines from. The app will verify that the site is connected to a “real” pharmacy authorized to sell medicines online.
An online pharmacy certificated by Veripharma will be synonymous with quality of products, transparency of communication, protection of personal data and security in payment. To obtain this certification, pharmacies will have to demonstrate very high standards based on scientific research, in particular from the recently concluded project FAKECARE, which was funded by the European Commission and coordinated by eCrime.
In the current employment crisis, what does it mean for young people to set up a business?
Setting up a business is an opportunity that requires a lot of commitment and determination, and which can be a means to guarantee many young people a solid future. I think that a university startup like Intellegit, which has received a significant contribution from the university, is a way to offer career opportunities to young researchers who cannot always find a place within academia.