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StarHub buys controlling stake in Accel in cybersecurity boost

Singapore telco buys 51 percent stake in Accel Systems for S$19.38 million, in a move it says is aimed at bolstering its cybersecurity offerings.
Written by Eileen Yu, Senior Contributing Editor

StarHub says it plans to acquire a 51 percent stake in Accel Systems & Technologies as part of efforts to boost its cybersecurity offerings.

In an all-cash deal worth S$19.38 million (US$13.99 million), the deal was estimated to close by mid-June, subject to the fulfilment of terms and conditions. The Singapore telco added that the acquisition would enable the company to augment the research and development capabilities of its Cyber Security Centre of Excellence in developing and localising cybersecurity tools.

During the launch of the centre last May, StarHub had inked partnerships with several industry players and local tertiary institutions including Blue Coat, Fortinet, and Republic Polytechnic. The Singapore telco said the Accel acquisition would not impact its existing partnerships in cyber threat monitoring, internet clean pipe, and unified threat management.

It said Singapore-based Accel, which specialised in security products, consulting, and managed services, would operate as an independent subsidiary and retain its existing management team following the merger.

StarHub CEO Tan Tong Hai added that the acquisition would enable the carrier to offer a "full spectrum" of cybersecurity products and services.

The Singapore telco in October 2016 said it had suffered distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks on its Domain Name Servers (DNS), which it said caused two service outages. This was later found to be inaccurate and the outages were, in fact, the result of a surge in legitimate DNS requests.

Local ICT regulator Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) and cybersecurity lead, Cyber Security Agency of Singapore (CSA), helped investigate the October 2016 incidents and determined the disruptions were due to the inability of StarHub's DNS servers to handle the high volume of web requests.

Both government agencies said they highlighted areas of improvement in the telco's home broadband network infrastructure and steps were taken to mitigate further risks, including boosting its home broadband DNS server capacity and enhancing traffic monitoring.

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