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Security

Telefónica continues cyber shopping spree with iHackLabs

Madrid-based Telefónica, one of the world's largest telephone and mobile network providers, has ventured into the cybersecurity training market by buying iHackLabs.

The Spanish company is betting that cybersecurity training, at scale, will be big business going forward.

Secure gateway: Telefonica Tech is on a buying spree, snapping up security edtech platform iHackLabs.  (Source: Nick Sherman on Flickr CC 2.0)
Secure gateway: Telefónica Tech is on a buying spree, snapping up security edtech platform iHackLabs.
(Source: Nick Sherman on Flickr CC 2.0)

In the EU alone, there will be 300,000 vacancies for cybersecurity experts left unfilled by the end of 2022, according to a statement from ElevenPaths, Telefónica's cybersecurity arm.

iHackLabs offers cybersecurity training through cloud-based training platforms.

These platforms simulate real cyber threat situations adapted to the specific needs of companies and organisations.

In 2018, iHackLabs was one of six companies selected to go through the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ)'s startup accelerator.

The accelerator gives cybersecurity startups the opportunity to work alongside some of the UK's leading intelligence experts over nine months, along with a £25,000 ($33,000) grant.

That year, GCHQ chose startups offering cybersecurity help to small business and home users. The two previous years, it chose startups angling at bigger-business customers.

iHackLabs, which is based between London and Madrid, will join ElevenPaths.

ElevenPaths saw its income from cybersecurity services increase by 26.5% in 2019, to €497 million (US$587 million).

ElevenPaths and iHacklabs have collaborated since 2018.

Telefónica Tech's chief executive, José Cerdán, joined iHackLabs' board of directors in August.

"Welcome to Elevenpaths," wrote Dr Chema Alonso, Telefónica's chief digital consumer officer, adding "Let's hack the future together."

It is the latest purchase in Telefónica's cybersecurity spending spree, which saw it buy Valencia-based cybersecurity consultancy firm Govertis in August 2020.

Govertis has offices in Spain and Latin America, particularly Peru.

The two companies had worked together since 2012.


Madrid Telefóning
Telefónica is Spain's second-largest corporation, after Santander.

In Latin America, it owns the Movistar mobile phone brand, and it also owns the largest fixed-line operators in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and Peru.

It also is fond of joint ventures. In France, it operates one aimed at multinationals with France's Bouygues Telecom.


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In the UK, where it owns O2, it agreed in May 2020 to merge its business with Liberty Global's Virgin Media, creating a £31 billion company to attempt to take on the BT Group.

Telefónica expects great things from Telefónica Tech, its cybersecurity, IoT, analytics, and cloud company. It says the business will generate €2 billion in new revenue in 2022, by strengthening its position in Europe and Latin America.

Along with acquisitions, Telefónica Tech's collaborations right now include working with Siemens' Spanish unit, to offer combined IT (information technology)/OT (operational technology) cybersecurity solutions for Industry 4.0 (large-scale manufacturing using Internet of Things technology).

Its target markets include its current core areas, Spain, Brazil, Germany and the UK, with aims at breaking into the US as well.

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Pádraig Belton, contributing editor special to, Light Reading

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