This project brings together two sets of teams who have built a name for expertise in their fields, protecting the public against automotive mischief
Israeli security experts Check Point and Argus Cyber Security have teamed up to create a new device that they say will help keep hackers out of your car.
The aptly named Intrusion Detection and Protection System (IDPS) works with both cars that have connectivity capabilities built in from the manufacturer or as a dongle that is installed into the vehicle’s diagnostic port (OBD2).
Working through Check Point’s Capsule cloud service, the IDPS solution will allow drivers to utilize connected features that have come to the fore in recent years without concerns over security.
Co-founded in 2013 by CEO Ofer Ben-Noon, Chairman Zohar Zisapel, CTO Yaron Galula, and VP R&D Oron Lavi, Argus is one of the leading players in the field of cyber security for the Internet of Vehicles (IoV).
Check Point which was founded in 1993 by CEO Gil Shwed, made history with their Firewall-1 solution and is one of the biggest cyber security firms with their Stateful inspection technology having become a core building block in the field of IT security.
Marvel team ups
This project brings together two sets of teams who have built a name for expertise in their fields, protecting the public against hacker villains.
As Argus’ VP of Marketing Yoni Heilbronn tells Geektime, his company provides the security for the systems within the vehicle, while Check Point has integrated their Capsule solution.
In the average car, there are dozens of electronic control units (ECU) that are essential for everything from brakes, to steering, to communications and entertainment. Once some of them are connected to the internet, they become hackable. “It’s only a matter of time and resources until someone can hack these systems,” says Heilbronn, adding that, “Like every other sector, there is no 100% security. There’s a convergence of the IT and automotive world. In the end, this is a sector that is susceptible to cyber attacks.”
“Our focus is on the connectivity itself,” explains Check Point’s VP of Business Development Alon Kantor. “We are providing a platform that connects the car to the cloud.” Previously only available for mobile, the Capsule cloud system represents Check Point’s first venture into the growing IoT (and with it IoV) sector. Kantor tells Geektime that they “are assigning resources for developing solutions for securing cars and IoT.”
New emphasis on IoV security
The hacking of a Jeep Cherokee in July sent a jolt through the consumer market, with reverberations that have reached the halls of Congress. In speaking with Heilbronn, he tells Geektime that there are currently efforts to pass legislation in the United States to address the growing concerns.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has cited that cyber security is a significant issue that they are currently working to address.
In identifying the possible motivations for cyber attacks on vehicles, Heilbronn says that they can range from impressing someone, good old mischief, criminals trying to steal your car, to hacktivists, whose credo is to cause mayhem.
“Attacking cars can be a way to stir the pot,” he says to Geektime. “There is the potential for larger scale events where thousands of cars could be attacked. Terrorists or other groups that want to cause harm, just like any other kind of hack.”
In the past year, the auto sector has been one of the most celebrated sectors to attack, giving people ideas. “We are here to make sure that these ideas don’t materialize.”
Racing against the competition
Argus is not alone in their recognition of the challenge facing drivers in their connected cars. Founded in 2012, Towersec is another Israeli company that is also developing IoV security solutions. Earlier this month they were acquired by automotive technology firm HARMAN for $75 million, adding their impressive security expertise to help secure the connected car environment.
Speaking after the deal, HARMAN’s Chairman, President and CEO Dinesh C. Paliwal in his statement to the press following the buyout said that, “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.”
Can they go the distance?
Cars are fast becoming what is referred to as the third space. With the number of gadgets that are being thrown into vehicles, along with advances in automotive technology that are helping to make cars safer and more efficient, there are bound to be advantages and risks.
IoT in general is vulnerable to attacks by hackers who can harness them to carry out DDOS attacks, steal their data, or affect their performance. When it comes to vehicles, there is an added element of safety since a “smart” car relies on automated systems. If your computer crashes, you can restart it. You car is another story.
For a perspective on this from before its time, check out this joke of when Microsoft tried to take on the auto industry.
Lacking a significant step forward, concepts like Google’s self driving car will find it very difficult to hit the road any time soon.
For their part, this latest venture from Check Point and Argus marks an important step forward in making our vehicles more secure. Hopefully it is just the start.
Featured image credit: Torsodog / Flickr