If you have a phone or a bank card, you possibly benefitted from the work of Riscure Inc. The Dutch company tests the security of hardware like the chips in credit cards and the SIM cards in mobile devices. “We are hackers, but of the good kind,” says CTO and founder Marc Witteman. “We help companies make sure their products are safe in a hostile environment and guard people’s privacy.”

Companies must evaluate their products from an attacker’s perspective

In an era where you can exchange information 24/7 from the palm of your hand, Riscure’s business is taking off. Witteman is already looking to hire more people in the US. “During the last decade, information technology has found its way into almost every aspect of our daily lives. Important security functions have moved into products like tokens, satellite decoders, mobile phones and payment terminals. That means companies must evaluate their products from an attacker’s perspective.”

Riscure has tested the “armor” of smart meters, SIM cards, payment terminals and gaming consoles. The company is often hired to check new products. “Although perfect security is impossible, we want to make sure that the cost of breaking a product exceeds the amount an attacker is willing to spend. Riscure also helps clients continuously monitor the safety of their services. “Banks in particular want to be on top of the privacy of their customers. Not only does it cost millions to recall faulty cards, a hack could damage their image and take years to repair.”

The American way of doing business fits the Dutch innovative spirit, observes Witteman. “Americans don’t really care if your company is big our small, they judge you by your product. If they decide they want your service, they want it fast, preferably the same day.”