A British businessman is stepping into a James Bond-style cyber role to help protect the internet in the event of a global catastrophe.
Net specialist Paul Kane (pictured right with Bath University’s Simon Bond) holds one of seven keys to safeguard computer systems from a disaster – such as a terrorist attack.
In an international crisis the elaborate security system would automatically shut the World Wide Web to protect Government, banks and businesses from hacking or phishing.
The six keyholders would be flown into a top-secret location in the US where they would turn the ‘master key’ and relaunch the World Wide Web’s security system.
Paul, CEO of CommunityDNS (Domain Name System), said: ”I’m honoured and excited to be recognised for past achievements and current contributions to global internet security.
”I was chosen to protect systems in Western Europe after spending 25 years in this business.”
Paul, whose web company is based at the University of Bath, handles 20 per cent of all net-routing traffic.
He was headhunted after an international agreement to shore-up internet sites using high-tech cryptographic keys.
Domain Name System ensures people wishing to access their bank account or shop online can reach the genuine website, rather than a look-a-like pirate site.
The other representative key holders were web systems experts selected from Trinidad and Tobago, Burkina Faso, the US, China, and the Czech Republic.
In the event of a safety breach – such as an attack by hackers – the six-strong team meet to reboot the internet’s security.
Paul, who has already picked up his key from the secret US bunker, said: ”I joined five others from around the world in a secure US base.
”We had to be cleared by armed guards and retina scans etc. We had to spend six hours in a locked room where the keys were generated.”
Despite the cloak-and-dagger process, computer security whizz Paul laughed off any suggestion that his role is anything like that of fictional super-spy James Bond.
Paul, of Bath, Somerset, added: ”Everything has been designed to be as transparent as possible.
”It is a great step forward in internet security, giving users the confidence that all their details are secure.”
Paul has now deposited his key in a British safe and will be hurried back to the US if disaster strikes.
Ed Vaizey, Government Minister for Communications, Culture and Creative Industries, said: ”It is wonderful to see UK companies innovating and leading the world in the field of internet security.
”It is vital that we consistently strive for excellence when enhancing user confidence in the online environment.”