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Business deals

Line adds 'white-hat' hackers with South Korean acquisition

Chat app operator bolsters data protection as it forays into financing

Line is branching into new areas of business using its popular messaging app.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- Messaging app operator Line has acquired South Korean cybersecurity consultancy GrayHash, moving to beef up data protection as it expands its financial and artificial intelligence operations.

The value of the transaction, done through a subsidiary, has not been disclosed. The consultancy, which has been renamed GrayLab after the purchase, has a large pool of so-called "white hat hackers," or engineers who fight cybercrimes. It offers a service to identify system vulnerabilities and take preventive measures for large companies in and outside South Korea.

"Developing secure systems has become our top priority," Line President Takeshi Idezawa said.

The messaging service provider has been branching out into new businesses like mobile payments, as well as artificial-intelligence related operations. It operates a virtual-currency exchange abroad and will start computing consumer credit scores next year based on data collected through its services.

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