CYPSEC 2021 – Interview | Use of A.I for personal data protection by MALLOC
Christos Loizou
Published on 31/10/2021 at 14:15

Artificial intelligence (A.I) and its applications in the field of security were among the hot topics on the second day of the CYPSEC 2021 Defence and Security conference held in Nicosia on October 4-5. 

Of particular interest was the presentation of Artemis Kontou (PhD), COO of Malloc company, on the prevention of users’ data theft from mobile devices. The audience attending the conference had the opportunity to watch an extensive presentation of Malloc’s “Antistalker” application, which uses A.I technology to protect users’ personal data. At the end of the presentation, Mrs. Kontou gave an exclusive interview to DEFENCE ReDEFiNED.

The beginning and recognition of a promising start-up

Malloc was founded in 2020 by Maria Terzi, Elisabeth Charalambous and Artemis Kontou. All founding members hold a PhD and have already had several years of experience in the field of research, while working in large organisations in Cyprus and abroad.  

The idea of creating an application that protects user data was initiated by the CEO of the company, Maria Terzi. The implementation of the idea began after securing the first funding from the Foundation for Research and Innovation in collaboration with the Center for Excellence for Research and Innovation KOIOS of the University of Cyprus. Malloc joined the IDEA Innovation Center, while in 2020 the first recognition came with Malloc winning the Cyprus Entrepreneurship Award. With the launch of the app, 10,000 users installed the “Antistalker”, which attracted Y Combinator, a US-based Silicon Valley start-up. Through fundraising, the company managed to raise about $ 2 million which will be devoted to the development of the application for complete protection of user data.

The “Antistalker” application: from theory to practice

Using artificial intelligence technology, the “Antistalker” application can detect, prevent and deal with any attempt for user data breach. It took the application about three months to be available on Playstore, while from the first month it already had 10,000 users and in four months it reached 80,000 active users. “Antistalker” is now available to the general public via Google’s Playstore.

Also read: Digital Security Authority | Participation in international network for the protection of the Cypriot cyberspace

The contribution of “Antistalker” to the security of sensitive state data 

In our question whether “Antistalker” can be useful for the protection of personal data of state officials, members of the Armed and Security Forces of the state, as well as heads of state who are victims of similar threats, Dr. Kontou stressed that the application provides these possibilities. The fact that the application protects users from recording, displaying and spying on data, makes it particularly useful to high-ranking officials, security officials and even ordinary soldiers, who use mobile devices that may be targets on a daily basis. The Ministry of Defence, large companies in Cyprus and banks have already expressed interest in the enhanced final version of the application.


Ability to contribute to Armed Forces’ special systems

Asked whether it is likely to expand the company’s scope in the future to special systems used by the Armed Forces whose technology differs from conventional mobile devices, but remains sensitive to threats of data breach, Dr. Kontou stated that the company is oriented towards solving the problems that arise and its know-how allows it to respond to similar challenges.

Ability to adapt and deal with new threats

One of the challenges a company faces with an application that protects user data is the fact that threats evolve and adapt to find new gaps, which makes them more difficult to detect. Dr. Kontou stressed that the team is constantly informed about developments in the field, while its biggest advantage is the know-how in the field of artificial intelligence. This know-how allows the creation of applications that respond to the challenges of ever-evolving threats. The use of artificial intelligence technology saves valuable time since, for example, dealing with spywares is based on the analysis of user and device behaviour and does not consume valuable time in laboratory analysis.

Future plans and the “Enterprise Edition” of “Antistalker”

Regarding the future plans of the company, there is interest in participating in wider European programs, but the priority is to complete the version of “Antistalker” on iOS in addition to the existing Android version. Further, the company aims at the completion of the “Enterprise Edition” of the application which will concern companies and large organisations, and will be available in Android and iOS operating systems.

Also read: Cyber security officers training – “We take measures to protect our defence systems”




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