“The demand for connected – and eventually autonomous – cars is accelerating quickly … and consumers understanding the enormous benefits”
In kicking off what should be a very interesting year for cyber security and the Internet of Things, automotive technology company HARMAN announced that they have acquired TowerSec and intend to integrate their solutions for improving their security offerings on connected vehicles.
HARMAN has explained that their interest in TowerSec stemmed from their need to address security concerns surrounding the vulnerability of critical parts in the connected car environment, including the network, hardware, and wireless updates to the vehicle’s systems that are carried out Over The Air (OTA).
“The demand for connected – and eventually autonomous – cars is accelerating quickly with OEMs and consumers understanding the enormous benefits that cloud, data, and analytics produce for enhanced safety, productivity, and entertainment. At the same time, we cannot sacrifice security for functionality,” said Dinesh C. Paliwal, HARMAN’s Chairman, President and CEO in his statement to the press following the buyout.
“By acquiring TowerSec’s best-in-class suite of network protection software and gaining the expertise of their highly experienced security engineers,” continued Paliwal, “We will build on HARMAN’s 5+1 security framework, already the most comprehensive in the industry, and ensure that we remain one step ahead to protect existing and future connected systems.”
Founded in 2012, Israeli TowerSec is now headquartered in the U.S., holding a significant presence in major auto manufacturing centers like Michigan and Germany. Reports indicate that they had previously raised a total of $3 million in funding before their purchase by HARMAN, making their success in pulling the $75 million exit all the more impressive.
With the overall growth of the IoT sector, manufacturers in fields ranging from home appliances to healthtech wearables to toys and cars have been racing to integrate connectivity into their products. Besides basic functions like music and navigation, automakers are hoping to include a range of new features into their vehicles in hopes of appealing to the connected buyer.
The high profile hacks of the past year has helped to raise the profile of cyber security companies and the need for solutions as an integral part of doing business in the connected era. Due to the increased risk of physical harm that can occur if a vehicle is hacked, the Internet of Vehicles as well as the security of medical devices have raised legitimate concerns from experts and consumers about the pace of connectivity in these types of devices.
Alongside TowerSec, companies like Tel Aviv-based Argus Cyber Security have continued to attract attention as they address many of the security related hurdles standing in the way of the next generation of the transportation experience.