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Biodata Acquires Content Security Firm Cobion
Advanced technology is growth driver in IT security market.

Singapore, 19 June 2001. - Biodata Information Technology, global leader in network and communication security, announces it has acquired world's leading content security experts Cobion. With this acquisition, Biodata broadens its portfolio to protect company and institutional networks against objectionable website and e-mail contents, and braces itself to capture the content security market - the fastest growing business segment in IT security.

Market researchers (Datamonitor, December 2000) estimate an average annual growth of 66 percent for the content security sector until 2005. This will result in a market volume of more than US$ 1.5 billion. The main growth factor driving this market is technology that filters dangerous and objectionable websites.

Cobion has developed an automated filtering technique based on digital picture recognition technology whereas the majority of its competitors still depend on manual search for keywords. Another key business sector of Cobion is the protection of trademarks against misuse and falsification (Brand Protection Service). Some of the 30 clients using this service include Bayer, adidas, Caterpillar, the ADAC, the German Licher brewery as well as the TV production company Endemol.

Last year, Biodata already acquired a 10 percent share in the software company. The entire acquisition amounts to approximately 19 million Euro (S$29.4 million) and is mainly financed by shares from the approved capital. The acquisition will come into existence on 1 January 2002, but Cobion's board members commit themselves to keep their shares until the beginning of 2003.

Apart from technological progress, the acquisition will lead to broad synergies in the areas of product development, personnel, R&D, marketing and worldwide sales. The new Biodata acquisition is already expected to be profitable in 2002.

The first product developed in collaboration between Biodata and Cobion, known as "I-Watch", was presented at CeBIT 2001 in March. It is a fully automatic firewall solution which blocks undesired sites with pornographic, violent or extreme political content by identifying images and symbols in addition to text. It can also restrict access to sites with online games. Among the clients of the "I-Watch" filter are private PC users as well as Government and industry clients. It helps companies to considerably reduce costs as private surfing at work causes extensive financial damage every year. This software solution also enables parents and schools to protect children from harmful content over the electronic medium.

Through "I-Watch", Biodata clients are able to use the world's largest and most up-to-date filter list, which includes more than 700 million sites (URLs) and 250 million pictures. Cobion's data processing centre systematically analyses pictures, files and texts and checks the entire Internet within cyclic periods of 30 days.

The development of more Biodata products based on digital image recognition technology is already underway. In the near future, one of the products will enable security checks to be performed on contents of email attachments before they enter company networks. At the same time, a similar "search engine" will track dangerous files within networks.

The 'I-Watch' filter software has already been integrated in the firewall solutions Biodata BIGfire and Biodata SPHINX. In the future, this technology will also be incorporated in the email encryption system Biodata SecureDesk and the network control system Biodata NetMonitor.

A Frost & Sullivan study on Internet filter software reported that the US market alone would increase from US$ 68.7 million in 1998 to US$ 1.5 billion in 2004. Datamonitor (December 2000) expects the worldwide content security market to grow from US$ 124 million in 2000 to US$ 1.55 billion in 2005.

The market for Brand Protection Service will also show significant growth. Worldwide turnover with illegal trademark products is calculated at US$ 250 billion, out of which US$ 25 billion will be from Internet commerce alone (source: International Chamber of Commerce). In order to prevent trademark piracy, more than 30 clients use the Cobion service to monitor their 100 trademarks.

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