How US entrepreneur's global internet security firm started life in Bradford

Melih Abdulhayoglu, chief executive of international IT security firm Comodo

Robin Alden chief technical officer of the internet security company

Comodo offer free internet security

First published in News
Last updated
Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Photograph of the Author by , Business Reporter

INVENTOR Melih Abdulhayoglu has come a long way since his days as a young electronics engineer in Bradford driving around in an old Austin car.

The company he founded here in 1998 as a spin-off from his studies at the University of Bradford where he graduated in 1991, is now a US-based international group specialising in IT security for both individuals and companies, preventing online fraud and offering other 'cyber world' products .

Turkish-born Melih is chief executive of Comodo, based in New Jersey, employing around 600 staff. But Bradford remains at the heart of its global operations.

The Comodo CA Ltd business at the Listerhills Science Park is a 12-strong operation which provides IT support to the group as well as creating security certification products which verify .Comodo's offering to users around the world.

Robin Alden, chief technical officer, who has been with Comodo since 2000, said the Bradford operation remains a crucial part of the wider business providing technical support to various group companies.

He said: "The work we do in Bradford is at the core of Comodo's operations. Working with businesses in the Comodo family we play a central role in enabling the group to achieve Melih's aim of creating trust online.

"Our SSL certification products ensure that anyone paying for good or services online can do so securely and meet standards laid down by credit card companies."

The local operation has played a leading role the global fight against internet criminals and also patented a system to stop thieves getting information from the chips on credit cards. That development boosted Comodo's reputation as a leader in the field of data encryption systems aimed at the mass market.

At the time Melih told the Telegraph & Argus that, while many of the innovations in computer programming had developed in America, Comodo would retain its Bradford operation to help ensure Britain was at the heart of the computer security industry.

The entrepreneur, who is proud of his Bradford links, said: "We are the guys that are flying the British flag."

The development of hi-tech security systems for verifying the authenticity of websites and e-mails, based on pioneering work done in Bradford, meant Comodo became the world's fastest-growing company in the sector, with Melih saying his researchers based here were at the cutting edge in the fight against internet fraud.

Melih said: "I've always been security orientated. I saw it was going to be an area that will develop from every angle. Our strategy is to make security affordable and free for people to use. I believe in providing these services free to home users. We can afford to do that while making our money from enterprise where firms are going to rely on this technology."

Melih's work on promoting internet security won him the Ernst & Young entrepreneur of the year title in information technology software for New Jersey in 2008. He is a frequent speaker on Internet security issues and has appeared as an expert on various media outlets in the US and elsewhere.

He continues to advocate higher standards throughout the security industry and founded the Certification Authority Browser Forum, a consortium of certificate authorities and Internet browser providers.

He brought industry leaders together to establish new product authentication standards and also initiated the Common Computing Security Standards Forum, a voluntary body of security software sales companies, operating system providers and Internet browser software creators which work together on reducing the risk of malware (a collective term for viruses and other threats), to help protect consumers against cyber criminals.

Melih, who relocated to the United States in 2004, said: "Our dependence on computers and the Internet grows every day and so, too, does our vulnerability. Daily news reports confirm a clear and present danger confronting all Internet users from ever-growing and evolving malware cyber-crime, cyber-terrorism and related threats.

"These threats, primarily the work of highly-sophisticated organized crime groups, directly harm millions of internet users each day and are eroding our trust in the internet. Every individual or business using the internet has a role in restoring this trust. The Comodo family of companies is providing the tools we all need to do it."

The 46-year-old father-of-three sees improving internet security as a mission rather than just a business opportunity.

One of Melih's innovations was developing the padlock icon at the bottom of many web pages which indicates that all information, most notably banking details, is secured. Pages showing the padlock symbol use the SSL protocol developed by Comodo; Bradford team - a security standard that encrypts data and authenticates the server and the integrity of the message.

The latest innovation is the Comodo SecureBox which was launched in July. It provides a secure desktop system enabling users to safely interact with vital applications on malware-infected devices, such as company computers, point-of-sale systems and bank cash machines.

It is deigned to protect computers against 'phishing' and other attacks using sophisticated malware to gain deeper access to sensitive data and corporate networks.

Melih said SecureBox would be particularly useful to financial services companies, healthcare or health insurance firms and any company with a large supply chain whose data could be vulnerable to infiltration.The system can be custom-built for specific end-users.

"Comodo SecureBox is part of Comodo's portfolio of products that provide businesses and consumers with the intelligent security, authentication and assurance necessary to establish and ensure trust in online transactions," he said.

At the end of 2013 Comodo's Internet Security Premium software earned a 100 per cent score in an evaluation of 25 home user security products on Windows XP by AV-Test.org, an independent IT security institute - the only free system to achieve the rating.

"At Comodo, we have committed our hearts, minds and resources to the vision of a trustworthy Internet. For it to benefit everyone, it must be delivered as a right to everyone; not as a luxury to only those who can afford it. With each 100 per cent protection score earned from AV-Test.org, CIS proves that a free product can deliver equivalent or better security than any paid for software.

"This fuels the fire that pushes the Comodo team to continue working towards our goal of creating trust online," said Melih, who remains Comodo's chief technical architect.

Soccer-loving Melih has fond memories of his years in Bradford- and says the education he received at the University helped set him up for life.

He still returns to the city occasionally to confer with the Bradford team. He would also like to develop renewed links with the university - potentially through joint venture research projects.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree