StarHub in $10m push to better detect cyberthreats

StarHub is investing up to $10 million over two years to boost its round-the-clock cyberthreat detection capabilities, hot on the heels of winning two government tenders.
StarHub is investing up to $10 million over two years to boost its round-the-clock cyberthreat detection capabilities, hot on the heels of winning two government tenders. PHOTO: ST FILE

StarHub is investing up to $10 million over two years to boost its round-the-clock cyberthreat detection capabilities, hot on the heels of winning two government tenders.

This includes more than doubling the size of its one-year-old security operations centre (SOC) to about 4,000 sq ft, and doubling the number of certified cyber-security analysts and researchers at the centre to 60 over the next two years. The telco said it is willing to hire fresh graduates and train them in-house.

The investment follows a report by The Straits Times last month that the telco was one of six firms to secure a three-year $50 million bulk tender to keep government websites running in a cyber attack.

StarHub also won a $2 million contract to secure government-owned industrial estate developer JTC Corporation from advanced persistent threats.

"Telcos have a strategic advantage to pick out trends or threats and issue early warnings by monitoring the traffic on our network," said Dr Chong Yoke Sin, chief of StarHub's enterprise business group.

For instance, two weeks before the global spread of the WannaCry ransomware in May that disrupted hospitals and factories globally, StarHub's SOC detected unusual activities on Windows machines here. The telco alerted its customers, and urged firms that had yet to apply security patches to their Windows systems to do so.

Singapore's critical sectors, such as finance, telecommunications and energy, emerged relatively unscathed. But digital signage in some malls supplied by local firm MediaOnline broke down, and computers tied to some 500 Internet accounts were infected.

StarHub's $10 million investment is separate from its five-year $200 million initiative with partners - supported by the Economic Development Board - that was announced in May last year.

StarHub's SOC is the first commercial initiative from the $200 million commitment, which has larger national goals such as training to strengthen Singapore's cyber-security capabilities.

Singtel was the first telco to launch an SOC, opening its centre in February 2015 with cyber-security firm FireEye - with initial plans to invest US$50 million (S$68 million). Singtel now operates nine SOCs in seven countries.

M1 launched its SOC in September last year, in partnership with cyber-security firms Palo Alto Networks, Proficio and Red Sentry.

Fibre broadband service provider ViewQwest was the latest to muscle in on the lucrative sector in July this year with its SOC.

Irene Tham

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 05, 2017, with the headline 'StarHub in $10m push to better detect cyberthreats'. Print Edition | Subscribe