Secure Trading, the payments and cyber security group, has today announced the appointment of reformed hacktivist and renowned cyber security expert, Mustafa Al Bassam. Mustafa will act as a security advisor on the company’s technology and services, including its new blockchain research project codenamed ‘Trustery’, which aims to commercialise blockchain technologies to improve the visibility and security of online payments. Joining the company part-time while continuing his computer science degree at King’s College London, Mustafa will be working alongside Secure Trading’s senior management team including Chairman and founder Kobus Paulsen, CTO Ian Hughes, and COO Gerald Kitchen.

A former member of the hacking group LulzSec, operating under the name tFlow at the age of 16, Mustafa is now reformed and is a sought after security expert with a special focus on financial services. In recognition that the payments industry is increasingly moving away from cash, card and mobile, Chairman of Secure Trading, Kobus Paulsen, approached Mustafa to help the company develop and commercialise next generation payment innovations such as Bitcoin and blockchain.

“Working with Secure Trading I want to develop tools to make online payments safer,” said Mustafa. “The financial services industry has traditionally been a few years behind the curve when it comes to security practices. Secure Trading is trying to get ahead with blockchain technology and create modern, secure and fit for purpose services for its customers.”

As a verifiable record of digital events and/or transactions, blockchain is widely considered to be much safer than current payment methods, making it easier to verify the source of payments and reduce illegal activities such as money laundering. Secure Trading is working with Mustafa to create a commercial platform to bring these security benefits to its customers. Beyond the Trustery project, Mustafa will work closely with Secure Trading and its cyber security sister company Cognosec, as a security adviser.

“Secure Trading was established by looking forward at what the payment industry would be. Having looked at today’s market, it is clear that payments is moving away from credit cards and e-wallets, and towards cryptocurrency technology,” said Kobus Paulsen, Chairman Secure Trading. “There are very few experts in blockchain technology, and we’re very lucky to have Mustafa on board. By developing this project we hope to use his skills and create technology to help make the world of ecommerce safer for thousands of customers.”

“Cybercrime is a fast moving threat and one which all sectors, especially the financial service industry, need to get better at protecting against.” said Lord David Blunkett, non-executive director of Secure Trading. “Criminals have the resources and expertise at their disposal. If we are to protect ourselves, we have to be just as innovative as they are – we need to educate and arm ourselves against tomorrow’s threats”.

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