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Karamba Security Emerges From Stealth to Protect Cars From Hackers

Karamba Security, a company specializing in solutions designed to protect connected cars from cyberattacks, has come out of stealth mode with $2.5 million raised in seed funding.

Researchers have demonstrated over the past years that vehicles such as the Toyota Prius, Tesla Model S, Jeep Cherokee, and Nissan Leaf are exposed to hacker attacks due to vulnerabilities in connected systems.Karamba Security

Karamba Security, a company founded by a group of entrepreneurs and cybersecurity experts, aims to protect connected vehicles with an endpoint solution designed to harden electronic control units (ECUs) that can be remotely accessed via the Internet, Wi-Fi or Bluetooth.

If they can compromise one of the externally-accessible controllers, attackers can make their way into the vehicle’s Controller Area Network (CAN) bus, from where they could be able to take control of various functions.

Karamba proposes a solution that car manufacturers and their tier 1 suppliers can embed into ECUs to ensure that only authorized code and applications can be executed. The product enables vendors to define factory settings for each controller, and create a whitelist of permitted binaries, processes, scripts and network behavior.

The company says its product detects and blocks attempts to download and run unauthorized code on the ECU, and immediately alerts the manufacturer and provides them detailed attack information that can be used to close potential vulnerabilities.

Karamba told SecurityWeek that tier 1 providers have already signed up to test the technology, which is expected to become generally available in the coming months.

The car security company says its solution’s design — allowing the execution of only specified code and applications — eliminates the possibility of false positives. The product can be embedded into controllers during the development process, and it can also be easily installed on existing vehicles during regular maintenance.

“At CVTA we see a growing need for cybersecurity to ensure drivers' safety, as connected cars may become a target for hackers,” said Scott J. McCormick, president of the Connected Vehicle Trade Association. “Early detection of cyberattack attempts and prevention of malware without false positive risks are essential to immunize cars against malicious software. We are impressed with Karamba Security's unique approach, which can be used to provide early warnings of attack attempts and prevent malware from infiltrating the safety controllers of both new and existing cars.”

Karamba Security received $2.5 million in seed funding from venture capital firm YL Ventures and private equity investment company GlenRock.

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Eduard Kovacs (@EduardKovacs) is a contributing editor at SecurityWeek. He worked as a high school IT teacher for two years before starting a career in journalism as Softpedia’s security news reporter. Eduard holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial informatics and a master’s degree in computer techniques applied in electrical engineering.