Israeli company Argus receives funding for car hacking prevention software

Published: September 10, 2015

Updated: July 24, 2018

Author: Luke Jones

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Argus Cybersecurity Ltd., a Tel Aviv-based firm specializing in making software for cars that protects in vehicle systems from hacks, has acquired $26 million during a second round of funding.

The two year old company has now gained $30 million in overall funding over two rounds, with the latest $26 million haul showing a significant rise as the industry becomes more paranoid about car hacking. Of course, that paranoia seems realistic and Canadian automotive supplier Magna International Inc. certainly thinks so as it was one of the funders of Argus Cybersecurity.

"Only a year ago manufacturers we were talking to weren't all that clear about the need for cybersecurity systems in cars. Now, it is a priority for most," said Ofer Ben-Noon, Argus's co-founder and chief executive.

The possibility of a car being hacked as become a very real threat in recent years with vehicles more reliant on computers and sensors than ever before. The average car runs with anywhere between 20 and 70 different computers on board and studies have shown that hackers can access these remotely and perform myriad nefarious tasks, including stalling the vehicle.

With mobile connectivity coming to the fore in 2016 with Apple and Google making their presence felt in the car industry, the rate of hacks is set to increase, while autonomous vehicles are literally just around the corner and bring with them unique security and insurance challenges.

Argus Cybersecurity was formed by former Israeli Unit 8200 members, a branch of the country’s military that is a specialist agency like the NSA in the United States. The company makes software that monitors the signals and messages sent between in car systems and scans them for malicious activity that could infect them.

Via a control unit in the car, the various computers in the vehicle relay information back and forth and it is here that a hacker can access the vehicle. The Argus technology stops these messages if they are external and blocks hackers from controlling the system, with the software either embedded into a car system or accessible by a driver on another device, such as a smartphone.

Argus has yet to release its product commercially, but it has undergone extensive in house testing and is currently in the hands of manufacturers who are putting it to the test. Insurance companies are also interested in this sort of technology as they anticipate changing policy coverages coming from more than 250 million connected vehicles predicted to be on the road by 2020.