Technological development has always been accompanied by new ways to put it to nefarious ends. From the early use of automobiles as getaway vehicles during bank heists to crackers gaining access to encrypted data, criminals have always used technology to help them stay ahead of police and the authorities.

Now, with tech evolving faster than ever, the threat from enterprising criminals has all but increased. In a keynote speech at the RSA Conference Asia Pacific & Japan 2014, Yu Chien Siang, Computer Security Consultant at MHA (Ministry of Home Affairs), notes that startups contribute in building a healthy security ecosystem that brings together academics and businesses. IT security expert Herbert (Hugh) Thompson agrees, adding that companies are willing to take security solutions from startups, in contrast with other enterprise software systems, where they prefer to stick to established players.

Also Read: RSA Conference APJ: Where is internet security heading?

Dave Martin, VP And Chief Security Officer of EMC Corporation, made the key point that innovation is necessary to counter new threats brought about by new technology. Just what are these new threats? Yu cited the example of drones, whereby jamming drones could cause them to fall and cause injury or death. Martin also noted that wearable devices with the associated generation of medical data create new opportunities for data protection.

Cognisant of the problem, RSA has hosted its inaugural Innovation Sandbox to seek out startups that provide innovative solutions to present and future security problems. Four finalists were chosen among the many applicants, of which Singapore-based Digify took top prize. Below are the details of the finalists in the Innovation Sandbox, starting with winner Digify.

Digify wows judges with its simplicity
With cloud storage becoming ever more widespread, the need for document security looms large for both organisations and individuals. Singapore-based Digify aims to tackle this problem by offering a file-sharing platform that allows users to set time limits on the files they share, which will be automatically deleted once the time is up.

Files shared with Digify cannot be copied, downloaded, forwarded or have a screenshot taken. This simple solution propelled Digify to the top of the Innovation Sandbox, with Head Judge Thompson noting that Digify “highlighted a simple and inexpensive way to address a recurring challenge of controlling and protecting ideas and information.”

AirSig lets you login using gestures
The presence of gyroscopes and accelerometers in phones have led to a blossoming in motion sensing, leading to tilt-based games and apps that make use of shaking the phone to record actions. Now, Taiwan-based AirSig aims to use this technology to improve authentication of phones and apps, recording a “signature” made up of a user’s unique movements. Fancy signing off your mobile purchases with a flick of a wrist?

Also Read: This gadget looks like it belongs to the Matrix

Meet Echelon Launchpadder Capy
Previously pitching at Echelon 2014, Capy is a Japan-based startup that specialises in an innovative, picture-based CAPTCHA system. Picture-based CAPTCHAs defeat bots using rapidly-developing optical character recognition (OCR) technology, making it harder for automated access to data and IT systems.

Also Read: Sick of CAPTCHAs? Capy makes it a game!

StratoKey encrypts and guards sensitive systems
It’s often said that prevention is better than cure. However, the ability to bounce back after a crisis is important as well. Australia-based StratoKey provides a security gateway that encrypts sensitive data, and anyone who logs in using a stolen password will get garbled nonsense instead of useful data. Stratokey also provides a real-time threat monitor, and an emergency “panic button” where administrators can disable access to the entire system when an intrusion is detected.