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Trend Micro sets up Toronto lab for ‘ethical hackers’

Wael Mohamed, the president of Trend Micro Canada.

Jason Clishe

International cybersecurity company Trend Micro is setting up a new Toronto research lab for "ethical hackers" in collaboration with Canadian telecom giant Telus Corp.

Trend Micro Canada – part of a global company that originated in Silicon Valley but relocated its headquarters to Tokyo – said it expects the new office to house about 100 of the cybersecurity researchers within two years.

"It's a very difficult profile to find but I'm very confident that Canada has developed (an) incredible foundation over the years." said Wael Mohamed, president of Trend Micro Canada.

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In fact, Trend Micro already has a 200-person team in Ottawa that heads a global operation that provides cybersecurity for cloud computing.

The Ottawa operation began as Third Brigade, an independent startup that Trend Micro bought in 2009 for an undisclosed amount., Trend Micro also recently acquired a Montreal firm that does research into artificial intelligence and machine learning.

The company hasn't said what the financial commitment will be for the Toronto research lab but Mohamed said each of the highly-skilled staff will be paid more than $100,000 annually.

About 25 members of Trend Micro's new Toronto "threat" research team are currently working from a Telus office but they will move to a new Trend Micro location by mid-2018.

Mohamed said Telus is a leader in detecting network vulnerabilities and its research is used by cybersecurity companies around the world, including Trend Micro.

"What we're doing is, we're taking this nucleus that has proven that it's very, very solid and putting on top of it (Trend's) knowledge, insight, expertise and more investment," Mohamed said.

Telus said the strategic relationship with Trend Micro will result in increased Canadian-specific research into cybersecurity and enhance it with Trend's global perspective.

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"Companies must co-innovate to solve tough problems for their customers, as they are directly faced with constant cybersecurity and privacy threats," said Ibrahim Gedeon, chief technology officer for Telus.

"This is why we are working with Trend Micro to increase the existing protection of our customers."

In addition to the Cybersecurity Research Centre in Toronto, Trend Micro has seven other research centres around the world in Taipei, Tokyo, Munich, Manila, Prague, Ottawa and Austin, Texas.

"We chose Toronto because of the strength of the talent, as well as our overall increased investment in Canada," Eva Chen, CEO of the parent company, said in a statement.

Toronto and the surrounding area have been pushing to become a hub for advanced research on several fronts, including artificial intelligence, cybersecurity and automated vehicles.

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