Volkswagen building new unit to protect autonomous cars

German automaker Volkswagen and three Israeli cybersecurity experts established a new automotive cybersecurity firm on Wednesday, called CYMOTIVE Technologies.

The company, based in Herzliya, Israel and Wolfsburg, Germany, is a response to the growing epidemic of connected cars on the road with insecure software that is readily hackable.

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Connected cars hacks have already been demonstrated quite a few times, in a variety of cars, showing the lax security measures most manufacturers employ. In the autonomous future, that lax security could end up killing a driver, if the car is remotely hacked.

Hackers have already demonstrated shutting down a car in the middle of a highway, even without autonomous functionality.

“The car and the internet are becoming increasingly integrated,” said Dr Volkmar Tanneberger, head of electrical and electronic development at Volkswagen. “To enable us to tackle the enormous challenges of the next decade, we need to expand our know-how in cyber security in order to systematically advance vehicle cyber security for our customers.

“CYMOTIVE Technologies provides an excellent platform for doing this. It is a long-term investment in cyber security to make vehicles and their ecosystem more secure.”

No partners yet mentioned

Volkswagen didn’t provide a list of manufacturers it has partnered with to deploy the cybersecurity solutions. For now, it looks like Volkswagen and possibly Porsche will be the only customers.

“The new cooperation will take an innovative and strategic approach to cyber security,” said Yuval Diskin, former head of the Israeli Security Services. ”Together with Volkswagen we are building a top-notch team of cyber security experts. We are aware of the significant technological challenges that will face us in the next years in dealing with the cyber security threats facing the connected car and the development of the autonomous car.”

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