Startup Will Focus On Auto Cybersecurity

Apr 08, 2016 05:10 AM EDT | Vlad Tverdohleb

Karamba Security, an auto cybersecurity startup company, raised $2.5 million to keep the connected cars safe from hacker attacks.

The modern cars become more vulnerable to hacker attacks as they are increasingly connected to the internet. Entertainment systems that offer streaming music, GPS navigation, Bluetooth door locks and other car components all depend on internet connectivity.

According to Tech Crunch, Karamba Security, a Tel Aviv-based startup aiming for automotive industry cybersecurity solutions has raised $2.5 million in seed funding. David Barzilai, Karamba co-founder, said that the startup's technology can outsmart hackers at the pass by "hardening" the externally-connected small computers or controllers within a vehicle.

Most operations in a modern vehicle require their own designated controller, also known as an electronic control unit (ECU). Some controllers manage critical systems like fuel injection and braking, while others manage things like a car's entertainment and navigation systems.

All the connected car's controllers are self-contained within the vehicle and operate on one network. According to Mr. Barzilai, hackers can gain access to all of these controllers if they just take control of one of them.

Karamba's security software could be installed on the controllers before the controllers are built into new cars or as a retrofit. The software can prevent any foreign code or banned behaviors from running on the car's controllers by locking in the factory settings of each controller. This measure can efficiently block a hacker's ability to mess with the car's critical functions or reach into a car's CAN Bus.

Yoav Andrew Leitersdorf, one of the investors in the new startup, explained that he became interested in the automotive industry cybersecurity after two separate incidents last summer. In one incident white hat hackers successfully attacked a Jeep Cherokee, according to Wired. In the other incident, security experts have demonstrated that they can gain remote access to a Tesla Model S.

According to the website, even as car manufacturers boast of improving technology, cybersecurity issues are still very much an obstacle in the way of autonomous vehicles. A plan for a four-year deployment deadline is the subject of a legislative bill proposal in Congress.

What do you think about hacker attacks on connected cars? Please share with us your opinion on the hot cybersecurity issues!

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