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Volkswagen Starts Own Cybersecurity Firm with Israeli Experts

By Ken Briodagh September 19, 2016

Smart Transportation and especially Automated Vehicles are getting closer to viability in the real world. And so, too, must security for these vehicles. Volkswagen has jumped on that need and brought the capability in house with its own cybersecurity firm, CYMOTIVE Technologies, which is based in Herzliya, Israel, and in Wolfsburg, Germany.

The newly founded firm is led by Yuval Diskin, Tsafrir Kats and Dr Tamir Bechor, all former Isreali intelligence officers and officials, and will develop advanced cyber security solutions for next generation connected cars and mobile services.

“It is a long-term investment in cyber security to make vehicles and their ecosystem more secure,” said Dr Volkmar Tanneberger, Head of Electrical and Electronic Development, Volkswagen.

Connected vehicles have extraordinary power to transform daily life for consumers and for supply chain companies, but also represents huge potential risk of exploit by bad actors. Through this venture, Volkswagen has set out to develop its cyber security bona fides and get ahead of the risks.

“The car and the Internet are becoming increasingly integrated. 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,” said Tanneberger. “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.”

Diskin, former head of the Israeli Security Services, and chairman, CYMOTIVE, said he’s looking forward to the new challenge. “The new cooperation will take an innovative and strategic approach to cyber security. 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.”

The industry is likely to follow suit, either by contracting out to security firms, or establishing in-house skunkworks like this one.

“This is a fantastic decision by VW. When done correctly, security manifests trust in a system and for a system. This trust was implicit in the automotive world for many years, but it is now crumbling, and the public is very aware of that fact,” said Rod Schultz, VP of Product, IoT security firm, Rubicon Labs. “Poor embedded security decisions, coupled with false performance claims, have compromised the trust of an entire industry, and a concerted effort by VW to build back that trust through security innovation will pay off in the long run.” 




Edited by Alicia Young

Editorial Director

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