Mobile phone giant Vodafone has teamed up with defence firm BAE Systems to develop new technology to protect businesses against cyber attacks.
The companies will launch their first product – Vodafone Threat Manager - within the next few weeks, using technology from BAE’s cyber arm to protect against threats such as “spear phishing”, where hackers attempt to trick employees into giving away credentials.
Under the five-year deal BAE’s technology will be developed to protect against more covert and sophisticated attacks on company data.
It comes after the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal reported their computer systems had been infiltrated by China-based hackers and social media group Twitter said it had been hacked earlier this month, putting customers’ usernames and passwords at risk.
BAE is increasingly looking to its cyber business, BAE Systems Detica, as it suffers from cuts to Government defence budgets in both the UK and US. It acquired the former FTSE 250 listed Detica Group in 2008, and its customers include the Metropolitan Police Service, the UK Border Agency and HM Revenue and Customs.
The threat manager, which will be available to Vodafone’s 1,500 business customers, will use cloud computing to screen a firm’s network, rather than individual devices, to protect against malicious attacks and block inappropriate content.
The companies will initially focus on smartphones and tablet computers, but BAE and Vodafone are also looking to develop security products in other business areas, including to protect information being transmitted machine-to-machine.
Under the partnership Vodafone will also provide mobile services across the BAE Systems business outside the US, starting with its 35,000 UK employees from July.
Vodafone chief executive Vittorio Colao said: “Mobile is transforming enterprise; businesses big and small now rely on mobile services to an extent unimaginable five years ago. As a new generation of mobile-centric security risks begins to emerge, our customers are looking for our help to protect their businesses.”
BAE chief executive Ian King said the “unique” partnership would help global enterprises “realise their ambitions around leveraging the future of communications technologies in a secure manner”.
He said: “These technologies are subject to the vulnerabilities of cyber space and we can provide the mobile marketplace with protection against today’s threats and the advanced threats of the future.”