Nokia launches new cybersecurity centre in Lannion

Nokia has probably not been the most popular name in certain French-speaking quarters in recent months. The Finnish equipment manufacturer has been trying to implement job cuts in a country that is known for its strong protection of employee rights.

Nokia has been forced to backtrack a little on its original plans, it seems.

In June 2020, Nokia revealed that it would slash 1,233 jobs in France under a savings program as it tried to boost profitability following a disappointing run of quarterly earnings results. At the time, the vendor confirmed that the layoffs would equal about one-third of the workforce at French subsidiary Alcatel-Lucent International.

We're hiring: Post job cuts, ironically the Finnish vendor still needs to find more staff with the right mix of skills.  (Source: Paweł Czerwiński on Unsplash)
We're hiring: Post job cuts, ironically the Finnish vendor still needs to find more staff with the right mix of skills.
(Source: Paweł Czerwiński on Unsplash)

It was then reported late last year that "only" 986 jobs would go at Nokia's Paris-Saclay (Nozay) and Lannion sites, with almost 250 jobs saved thanks to new 5G projects, among other things.

Tied in with this was the separate announcement that Nokia would open a new cybersecurity center in France that would allow the Finnish vendor to position itself as a market leader in cybersecurity-related services, particularly in the area of networks. This activity was expected to create 112 jobs in 2021, including 97 at Lannion in Côtes-d’Armor.

It seems that Nokia has now made good on this plan: according to local reports, the vendor has announced the official launch of its European center of excellence in cybersecurity to support the development of 5G and network virtualization.

The new center will support Nokia's global security intelligence and operations management centers (SIOCs) and is supplemented by a security consulting team of around 15 experts in Paris-Saclay. It is starting its activities with around 20 employees, while around 100 positions are open today, the reports say.

Somewhat ironically, the vendor is not finding it that easy to recruit people with the right skills – a mix of expertise in telecoms networks and cybersecurity. Indeed, Nokia's recruitment site shows that the largest number of job vacancies are currently in Lannion and Nozay, at 42 and 36 respectively.

Rising threats

Coinciding with the launch of the Lannion cybersecurity center, Nokia has just released its annual Threat Intelligence Report, with some pretty scary findings.

For example, it said banking malware threats are sharply increasing as cybercriminals target the rising popularity of mobile banking on smartphones, with plots aimed at stealing personal banking credentials and credit card information.

The report shows an 80% year-on-year increase in the first half of the year in the number of new banking trojans, which also try to steal SMS messages containing one-time passwords.

The data is aggregated from network traffic monitored on more than 200 million devices globally where Nokia's NetGuard Endpoint Security product is deployed. Banking malware has been targeted mainly at Android phones.

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Furthermore, the report said IoT botnets, a network of devices connected with malware, continue to grow in size and sophistication, due to the rising use of IoT devices, like "smart" refrigerators and video surveillance cameras.

The slightly better news is that COVID-19 related malware incidents in residential networks have leveled off at 2.5% after a peak in December 2020 of 3.2%.

"This demonstrates that people are more aware of the threats posed by Covid-related cyber-attacks and are taking steps to secure their home working environment," Nokia said.

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— Anne Morris, contributing editor, special to Light Reading

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