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TikTok sets up cyber security hub in Dublin

Dublin-based cyber centre will oversee the security of TikTok’s users across Europe

TikTok, the short-form video-sharing app that found itself the subject of global attention in 2020 when it became subject to actions against it ordered by then US president Donald Trump, is to open a new cyber security centre in Dublin.

The company’s new Fusion Centre builds on a November 2020 expansion in the Irish capital to oversee data protection and privacy in Europe.

The centre is the second site – one already exists in Washington DC – dedicated to monitoring, response and investigative capabilities, allowing TikTok to detect and respond to critical incidents “in real time”.

Roland Cloutier, global chief security officer at TikTok, said: “When people use TikTok, we know they are entrusting us with their data, and we take our duty to protect that data very seriously. That’s why, in developing our platform, security is built-in from the start.

“Our global security organisation operates a ‘follow the sun’ approach so that people on teams around the world are always focused on protecting people’s information – and ensuring that our next-generation entertainment platform can anticipate and stay ahead of next-generation security threats.

“Over the past year, we have hired some of the very best security professionals, from diverse backgrounds spanning government, law enforcement and military. We have also partnered with HackerOne, an industry-leading bug bounty programme, whereby top security researchers, academics and other independent experts provide us with advanced insights into emerging vulnerabilities, allowing us to resolve them before attackers can exploit them.”

TikTok said the Dublin centre would advance its on-platform threat discovery capabilities, accelerate the delivery of next-gen threat monitoring, and assemble investigations and working groups to tackle crime enabled via its platform. It plans to recruit for dozens of specialised roles in cyber security, privacy and policy to meet its European goals. It will be run by global threat management head Andrew Bonillo, who joined the firm from Ciena recently.

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Leo Varadkar, Ireland’s tanaiste and minister for enterprise, trade and employment, said: “It’s crucial that global tech companies play a central role in ensuring the safety of their users. I’m really pleased TikTok has chosen Dublin as the location for its first regional Fusion Centre, creating over 50 new jobs.

“This new centre will detect and respond to critical incidents as they happen, and will help improve online safety for TikTok users worldwide. This announcement underlines the company’s continued commitment to our country and will allow it to continue to benefit from our rich and highly skilled talent pool. I wish the team at TikTok the very best in their expansion plans.”

IDA Ireland CEO Martin Shanahan added: “TikTok’s rapid expansion in Ireland has established it as a vital centre for its European and global operations, as well as a substantial employer, and the addition now of its first regional Fusion Centre in Dublin, to further strengthen the security of users’ information, is welcome.

“The additional high-value jobs being created, apart from the benefit to our economy, will build on Ireland’s expertise in the field of global trust assurance, security threat management, compliance and governance in an increasingly digitised and vigorous technology sector. I wish TikTok continued success with its growing operations here.”

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