Upstream Security, a Herzliya, Israel-based cybersecurity company that helps protect connected cars and autonomous vehicles from cyber threats, today announced that it has raised $9 million through a Series A funding round.
The company explains that it has developed a cloud-based automotive cybersecurity platform that leverages artificial intelligence and machine learning that can be applied to the vast amount of data continuously produced by vehicles.
The platform, Upstream describes, “provides customers with data protection, anomaly detection and real-time analytics of cyber attacks and vehicle fleet health. By centralizing cybersecurity in the cloud instead of in-vehicle, threats are detected and prevented before they even reach a vehicle’s network.”
Upstream says the new funding will help expand its R&D program and open sales and marketing offices in the United States and Europe, with plans to open an office in Silicon Valley in the coming months.
Cyber threats to automotive systems are not new, and are becoming more of an issue as more cars become connected to the Internet and to other devices such as smartphones, smart keys, diagnostic tools and other vehicles.
A number of security researchers have demonstrated the ability hack into modern vehicles to manipulate steering, acceleration, speedometers and safety sensors, sparking concerns that malicious attackers could use similar techniques to compromise a vehicle’s Electronic Control Units (ECUs) allowing manipulation of a car’s engine, brakes, airbags and other safety systems or vehicle components.
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.
With Gartner forecasting there to be 250 million connected vehicles by 2020, Upstream is not the only company looking to tap this market.
Several companies that specialize in automotive security have emerged recently, including Karamba Security and Argus Cyber Security. Some traditional security industry players, such as Symantec and IOActive, have also launched vehicle security divisions. In late 2016, German carmaker Volkswagen teamed up with three Israeli cybersecurity experts to launch CYMOTIVE.
Just last month, Argus Cyber Security was acquired by Continental subsidiary Elektrobit (EB), which provides embedded software solutions to the automotive industry.
Led by CRV (Charles River Ventures), Upstream’s Series A funding round included expanded investments from Israeli-based Glilot Capital Partners and Maniv Mobility. The company previously raised a $2 million seed funding round in June of this year.
Related: Cars Plagued by Many Serious Vulnerabilities: Report