At age 12, Nicko van Someren was already playing with the algorithms that are now used to secure data at the world's top financial institutions. Ncipher, the company he founded with his brother Alex, has been equally precocious. In 1996, when banks and stores were unrolling cybershops, Nicko (right) and Alex, now Ncipher's CTO and CEO, saw that existing encryption technology was not up to the task. Although IT security is now a $20 billion business, the point is still valid. In a 2003 survey by Deloitte and Touche, 39% of financial companies questioned said their computer systems had been compromised...

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