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CS Startup Watch: Making Passwords Secure with Keys by Adrenaline

Almost nobody likes passwords. However, passwords serve as the gatekeeper to our digital lives and if they are compromised then hackers can take over your online world.Adrenaline Mobility logo

Adrenaline Mobility, a company founded by CS Associate Professor Sam King and CS Alumni Shuo Tang and Murph Finnicum, has made strong passwords more secure and easy to use.

Sam King
Sam King

Keys by Adrenaline is a mobile app that stores passwords on a user's mobile phone. When a user wants to login to a website, the Keys app scans a QR code in the browser, which then logs the userinto the website automatically. "It's like magic," said Marc Kenner, a Keys user.

The competitive advantage lies in the secure cloud-based platform, called adrenaline.io, that Adrenaline Mobility developed. "We wanted to build a system that even we, as the designers, couldn't compromise" King said.

Adrenaline.io uses end-to-end encryption to provide strong security. This means that all data is encrypted before being stored on a device or in the cloud. According to Tang, "The real innovation lies in our ability to make end-to-end encryption practical through our novel systems for key management, cryptographic random number generation, and providing the ability to run cloud-based queries on encrypted data."

Keys uses adrenaline.io to manage all of its data and communications, which provides strong security from the beginning. "Our use of adrenaline.io in Keys ensures that passwords are protected, and it trimmed months off of our development time." said Finnicum.

Adrenaline Mobility started with investments from IllinoisVENTURES and Serra Ventures, two local venture capital firms, and a National Science Foundation Small Business Innovation Research grant. Their first office was located in the University of Illinois Research Park's EnterpriseWorks. "The University of Illinois is a great place to start a company, we wouldn't have been able to do this without the university's help" said King.

More information about Keys and instructions on downloading it can be found at the Adrenaline Mobility website.