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World's largest brewer opens Israeli cybersecurity unit as attacks mount

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FILE PHOTO: The logo of AB InBev is pictured outside the brewer's headquarters in Leuven
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JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev), the world's largest beer maker, said on Thursday it was opening a cybersecurity unit in Israel to help protect itself from a growing number of attacks.

Israel is a leader in cybersecurity and many of the world's largest companies have opened centers there or acquired Israeli tech firms to defend themselves against hackers as the reliance on digital networks and cloud storage becomes more prevalent.

AB InBev's Tel Aviv hub will focus on analyzing threats and potential attacks, said Luis Veronesi, vice president of global security and compliance. The company did not disclose financial details of the move.

Veronesi told Reuters that AB InBev and the entire industry have been facing increased cyber attacks, ranging from "financially motivated" hacks to attempts at disrupting operations.

"With increasing digitalization, we have to be prepared to defend against anything coming," he said.

The maker of about 500 brands including Budweiser, Corona and Stella Artois began operating in Israel a year ago when it acquired startup Weissbeerger, which developed a platform to analyze beverage consumption at point of sale by connecting beer taps to the internet and collecting data from the register.

Weissbeerger became the company's local research and development center and it plans to expand its workforce, AB InBev said.

(Reporting by Ari Rabinovitch; editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise)