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IBM deepens move into computer defense

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IBM on Monday moved deeper into defending business computers with a new service aimed at thwarting hackers before they do damage. 

IBM on Monday moved deeper into defending business computers with a new service aimed at thwarting hackers before they do damage

"The need for security to become part of our strategy has been natural," IBM vice president of security strategy Marc van Zadelhoff told AFP.

The century-old business technology titan made a priority of defending computer networks about two years ago, unifying resources from more than a dozen security firms it acquired.

IBM's computer security unit has been "growing like gangbusters," according to van Zadelhoff.

According to industry tracker IDC, IBM significantly outpaced overall computer protection company market growth and last year was the third largest seller of cyber defense software.

IBM on Monday ramped up its offerings with a Threat Protection System and a Critical Data Protection Program.

Introduction of the new cyber security weapons came with the release of IBM-funded Ponemon Institute studies showing that the number of hacker attacks is climbing along with the cost.

The average cost of a hack to a business has risen 15 percent to $6.2 million including lost revenue and productivity, according to Ponemon findings released by IBM.

The Critical Data Protection program uses an array of techniques to safeguard the data equivalent of a company's "crown jewels," according to van Zadelhoff.

IBM has tapped into intelligence about threats and hacker tactics from computer networks it cares for around the world.

Defensive technics go beyond maintaining watch-lists for known malicious codes to identifying when applications in networks act unusually and then pouncing to see whether hacker mischief is the cause.

“Traditional methods of prevention have often failed, leaving many to believe detection is the only way forward," IBM security systems general manager Brendan Hannigan said in a release.

"You must be able to prevent exploitations of known and unknown vulnerabilities.”

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