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Toronto's emergence as a cyber-security hub fuelled by proximity to AI research, big banks

Protecting customer data from cyber attacks has become a big headache for business, particularly in the financial services sector (photo by Andrew Hart via Flickr)

Toronto is home to an emerging hub in cyber-security, fed by its booming local tech scene, the proximity of Canada’s biggest banks and the ground-breaking research being done in fields like artificial intelligence, or AI, at the University of Toronto. 

With traditional methods of fortifying online information proving to be ineffective, a growing number of firms – particularly in the financial services sector – are looking at machine learning techniques to ferret out cyberattacks on their networks, according to a report in the Globe and Mail.

“Everybody has realized there is a limit to what you can catch with these existing techniques,” Niranjan Mayya, the founder and CEO of Toronto-based Rank Software, told the Globe

“Which is why you need artificial intelligence and machine learning to tackle this problem.”

Read the Globe and Mail story 

To that end, Rank is working with Scott Sanner, an assistant professor in U of T’s department of mechanical and industrial engineering, whose research focuses on machine learning and large-scale data analysis. 

U of T research has also generated its own cybersecurity startups. They include Shield Crypto Systems, which has developed a more secure form of encryption for banks and credit card companies. The company was co-founded by U of T alumnus Alhassan Khedr and Glenn Gulak, a professor in U of T’s Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering. 

Gulak recently took home a $25,000 RBC research prize for his work.