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Volkswagen, Israeli Experts Launch Automotive Security Firm

German carmaker Volkswagen has teamed up with three Israeli cybersecurity experts, including a former head of the country’s security agency, to launch a new company that specializes in protecting connected cars against hacker attacks.

The new company, CYMOTIVE Technologies, is based in Herzliya, Israel, and Wolfsburg, Germany, and it will focus on developing advanced security solutions for future connected cars and mobile services.

Through the partnership with Yuval Diskin, Tsafrir Kats and Dr. Tamir Bechor, Volkswagen hopes to further develop its cyber security capabilities. Diskin, who is a former head of the Israeli security agency Shin Bet, will serve as chairman of s.

“The car and the Internet are becoming increasingly integrated,” said Dr. Volkmar Tanneberger, head of Volkswagen’s electrical and electronic development. “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. 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.”

Reuters reported that Volkswagen will own 40 percent of CYMOTIVE Technologie, while Diskin, Kats and Bechor will own 60 percent.

The news comes shortly after researchers revealed that well over 100 million cars made by the Volkswagen Group in the past 20 years can be easily unlocked due to cryptographic weaknesses in their remote locking system.

An increasing number of researchers have started focusing their efforts on analyzing the connected systems installed on modern vehicles and they have identified numerous serious vulnerabilities. The most well-known are Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek, who have demonstrated that cars can be hacked both locally and remotely.

In light of these revelations, companies that specialize in automotive security have emerged, including Karamba Security and Argus Cyber Security. Some of the existing industry players, such as Symantec and IOActive, have also launched vehicle security divisions.

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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.