Netlok was born out of a conversation between a father and daughter. The daughter posted a photo of her dad online that he neither wanted posted, nor gave permission to do so. She insisted that the Internet was made for connection — not to be private — and that started a debate about privacy that propelled the father to learn more about privacy on the Internet. His research yielded an astonishing insight: 80% of kids and parents hide information from each other in their personal lives, yet few companies were servicing this need for online privacy and data protection. Instead, most companies were gathering private and public data to sell for a profit.
In researching how to protect privacy and data, he wondered if you could replace a traditional password with a photo because photographs are much easier to remember and, eventually, could be used to hide personal information inside the photo. He began talking with hackers as well as graphic and software engineers familiar with imaging about hiding information inside of photos. As he discovered that the concept of concealing messages inside of paintings has been around since Roman times (called steganography), so it wasn’t a leap to believe that you could also do it in a digital world.
Once his engineer successfully digitized a randomize code inside a photo (called Photolok®), he discovered that Photolok could solve numerous online security problems: from basic online identity and authentication to sending security alerts and protecting decentralized transactions.
In November 2014, Tony Perez — that father — initiated the development of Photolok’s technology. Netlok LLC was formed in 2017 and won innovation awards in 2017 and 2018. Today, Photolok is the first passwordless login that uses patented steganography photos as a standalone MFA login method. In 2022, Netlok partnered with Auth0 to offer Photolok MFA globally.