Google buys Israeli security start-up SlickLogin

The Internet giant scoops up the early-stage venture and its intellectual property, which uses a novel sound-based approach to authenticate log-ins

SlickLogin CEO Or Zelig and VP R&D Ori Kabeli (Youtube screenshot)
SlickLogin CEO Or Zelig and VP R&D Ori Kabeli (Youtube screenshot)

Google has purchased Israeli security start-up SlickLogin, the company announced Sunday. Terms of the sale were not announced. The purchase was confirmed with Google, sources said.

SlickLogin, an early-stage start-up, has been working on a system to utilize sound to make logins easier. The company launched at TechCrunch Disrupt last year, and uses a low-frequency sound generated by an app to log into web sites. Users hold up their phones to a computer or laptop’s microphone and play the sound, and are able to log in to secure sites.

The company’s founders – Or Zelig (CEO), Eran Galili (CTO), and Ori Kabeli (VP R&D) told TechCrunch that the system was secure, and that recording the sound from a phone wouldn’t do a hacker any good, because the sounds change depending on location, time of day, etc. The system could be easily implemented on a web site using just a few lines of code, they added.

“Our product allows you to authenticate yourself just by placing your smartphone near your PC, no typing necessary,” the company’s web site states. “SlickLogin’s patented technology combines a seamless user experience with military-grade security, and will replace all authentication tokens that exist in the market today.” The three founders, who have been working together for the past six years, are all graduates of elite IDF cyber-security units.

Several other companies are working in the sound-authentication space, most notably payments platform Clinkle, Chirp — which allows users to share files using sound authorization — and Pronto, another Israeli start-up using sound for authentication. SlickLogin has not announced a product yet, and analysts said Sunday that Google was interested in its intellectual property, as opposed to a final product.

The last acquisition Google made in Israel was last June, when it paid nearly a billion dollars to buy traffic and mapping app Waze.

“We started SlickLogin because security measures had become overly complicated and annoying,” the company wrote on its web site, announcing the Google acquisition. “Our friends thought we were insane, but we knew we could do better. So we set out to improve security while still making it simple for people to log in.” Google, the three founders said, was an appropriate partner for SlickLogin. “They’re working on some great ideas that will make the internet safer for everyone. We couldn’t be more excited to join their efforts.”

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