Credit Cards: Millions of Accounts Secure_

Communiqué de presse de l?université du Luxembourg

Cashless payment transactions are fast, convenient and safe: Be it in a restaurant or at the shopping mall – the client presents his credit card, enters the PIN and a few seconds later, the invoice is settled. Behind the scenes and completely unnoticed by the card owner, computer programmes run that satisfy high security and reliability demands. They work daily on enormous amounts of transactions with seemingly endless fields of application that banks offer their credit card clients.

‘This agreement is an important corner stone of CETREL’s strategy to put innovation at the heart of its growth plans, and will help ensure that CETREL continues to deliver state of the art technology and services both now and in the future’, stated Manuel Fischer SVP CETREL at the official signing ceremony. He went on to say, ‘coupled with the recent upgrade of our infrastructure and creation of a dedicated R&D team, CETREL Luxembourg is fast establishing itself as a centre of excellence in the delivery of Electronic Payment services across Europe’.

‘SnT will bring its excellent basic research into the common projects with CETREL, which will quickly lead to product innovations for even greater security and reliability ’, said Professor Björn Ottersten, Director of the SnT.

In developing this 5-year agreement, which has an overall funding of 2.45 Mio. Euro, CETREL & SnT, received invaluable support and advice from Luxinnovation, the National Agency for Innovation and Research. The goal of the partnership is to ensure that CETREL has access to the latest innovative thinking in IT Security and Testing, whilst the SnT is able to develop leading research that is very relevant to the needs of industry. In line with this thinking, the first initiative has been to develop a set of PhD research programmes around three key areas of potential competitive advantage to CETREL.

1. Software Testing & Validation to bring products to market faster

To ensure the very best availability and reliability for its customers, CETREL has always tested all possible permutations and combinations of its technology and services before launching them on the market. If this very intensive effort could be reduced without loosing quality, then services could be brought to market faster and at lower cost. The research through sophisticated statistical models aims to identify which tests can be eliminated, while keeping or even increasing quality. This approach highly compresses the test and problem solving cycle, which will allow CETREL to increase the rate at which it brings innovative, reliable and robust product releases to its customers.

2. Network and Service Security to ensures resilient services

Protecting CETREL’s systems from malicious attack and intrusion is critical to CETREL’s provision of secure and reliable transaction services. Traditionally counter measure applications and software would scan programs in an attempt to recognize previously identified malware and attacks. By developing a more proactive technology, which scans for new patterns of attack and automatically develops counter strategies, CETREL’s systems will stay on the leading edge of security developments. One of the building blocks of the research will be to identify and capture attackers behaviour, tools and malware through ‘self learning’ data analysis techniques.

3. Card Risk Management to assure customer’s transactions are safe & secure

Leading edge ‘Card Risk Management’ is a critical service that CETREL must provide to ensure high levels of trust in their e-payment solutions by their customers. With the shear volume of credit card and debit card transactions, the current techniques that concentrate on discrete transactions are costly and time consuming. This research aims to automate the process through using multi-dimensional data analysis techniques to identify when a transaction is outside the normal pattern for a particular set of users. If the challenges of data volume and complexity can be overcome, CETREL will be able to significantly improve the level of risk management it offers its clients as well as reduce its operational costs.

Each research project will be mentored by experienced CETREL staff to ensure they stay focused on generating innovative concepts and products that can be fed back into the business.

This project is part of a series of initiatives aimed at securing CETREL’s position as a leading technology provider and support its growth in the broader European markets.

It is expected that this investment will lead to a new wave of innovative products in the next 18-24 months in the mobile payments and e-commerce space, as well as Cetrel’s Enterprise Content Management programme, which is now offered through a Software-as-a-Service platform (see


As a leading bank card processor in Luxembourg, CETREL offers comprehensive solutions for cashless payment transactions. CETREL ensures trouble-free payment processes for card issuers as well as card acceptance by retailers. The expertise that CETREL has been able to build up and consistently improve since its creation in 1985, have allowed the company in the last few years to win new clients, from in- and outside of Luxembourg. At the same time, CETREL offers more and more new and innovative finance-IT services for banks and secures all actors in the financial centre Luxembourg with clear advantages on the international competition. As of January 2009, 50% of CETREL is owned by SIX Group AG and the leading banks in the financial centre as well as the postal service. With about 180 employees, the company realized a turnover of more than 40 million euro in the financial year of

About SnT

SnT is an internationally leading research institute for security, reliability and trust in modern information and communication technology (ICT). Jointly with its partners, it establishes Luxembourg in this field as a European excellence and innovation centre. To unfold the greatest possible effect, the SnT follows an interdisciplinary research approach that not only takes technical aspects, but also issues from economy, law and humanities into consideration. With its partnership programme, SnT supports the development of innovative ideas, enables research cooperation with established partners from the industry as well as with start-ups and thus sustainably deepens Luxembourg’s competency in the field of ICT. 

Caption: CETREL SVP Manuel Fischer, CETREL CEO Jean-Marc Fandel, University president Rolf Tarrach and SnT-Director Björn Ottersten (from left).

(c) CETREL 2011

For interview requests, please contact Prof. Björn Ottersten,; phone + 352 46 66 44 5721

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