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Deutsche Telekom to offer firms 'clean pipe' against hackers

The logo at company headquarters of Deutsche Telekom AG is pictured in Bonn May 30, 2008. REUTERS/Ina Fassbender
The logo at company headquarters of Deutsche Telekom AG is pictured in Bonn May 30, 2008. REUTERS/Ina Fassbender

BONN, Germany (Reuters) - Deutsche Telekom said it would launch a secure internet service next year for smaller companies that find it hard to pay for defenses against sophisticated forms of cyber crime.

The firm presented the plan at a cyber security conference at its Bonn headquarters as a diplomatic row rages between the United States and Europe over spying accusations.

Last month Deutsche Telekom urged German communications companies to cooperate in shielding local internet traffic from foreign intelligence services.

It said on Monday that, for a fixed monthly fee, small and medium-sized firms would be able to access the internet via Deutsche Telekom data centers, where content would transported via a secure data line known as a 'clean pipe'.

"Hackers will have no chance," Deutsche Telekom's management board member Reinhard Clemens said.

"Of course cyber crime needs an international approach but we can't wait until politicians come up with something. We need to come with solutions right now."

Addressing the conference, former Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak suggested hackers would more than keep pace with attempts to neutralize them.

"We ain't seen nothing yet," said former Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak. "The offense is light years ahead of defense and that is likely to remain so."

The 'clean pipe' project, in which Deutsche Telekom partners with RSA - part of U.S. technology firm EMC - is in a test phase and scheduled to hit the market early next year.

Deutsche Telekom cited data presented to the conference as showing only 13 percent of German companies have not experienced a cyber attack, and about a third of more than 200 companies with more than 1,000 workers experienced several attacks a week.

The global security technology and services market is expected to grow 8.7 percent to $67.2 billion in 2013 and to more than $86 billion in 2016, according to research firm Gartner.

EU telecoms commissioner Neelie Kroes told the conference it was better to focus on increased security preventing or reducing spying, rather than on legal efforts to ban or punish it.

"If you want to stop a burglar breaking through your front door, you don't need a good lawyer, you need a good lock," she said.

(Reporting by Harro ten Wolde and Andreas Rinke; Editing by John Stonestreet)