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Investors Drive $4Mn into Car Cybersecurity

Days after GM announced the appointment of a chief security officer, automotive cybersecurity has gotten another boost with a $4 million Series A funding shot for car-focused Argus Cyber Security.

As connected cars become more of a reality, the more vulnerable they naturally are to cyber-attacks. A new wave of automobiles, starting with some of the 2015 fleet from major automakers, will be connected to the internet and to external devices such as smartphones, smart keys, diagnostic tools and other vehicles; so, malicious intrusions may compromise a vehicle’s electronic control units (ECUs), allowing manipulation of a car’s engine, brakes, airbags and other safety systems or vehicle components.

“In a world of connected cars, car-hacking is an unavoidable hazard,” said Ofer Ben-Noon, co-founder and CEO at Argus, in a statement. “Argus helps the automotive industry keep passengers’ safety a top priority, and comply with emerging cybersecurity regulatory requirements. As demand and market opportunity grow fast, we will use the funds invested to expand our product offering and market reach.”

Argus provides the automotive industry a real-time intrusion prevention system (IPS), based on patent-pending deep packet inspection (DPI) algorithms. It monitors communications to and from the car as they happen, looking for anomalous behaviors. And, the Argus IPS also generates reports and alerts for remote monitoring of a vehicle’s cyber-health.

Argus also has a cyber-consulting service for carmakers to use to detect threats and find vulnerabilities in the network elements of existing and future vehicle models.

The round was led by Magma Venture Partners and Vertex Venture Capital, and a group of investors that includes Israeli tech pioneer Zohar Zisapel, co-founder of the RAD Group and of Argus, and chairman of the latter’s board.

“Argus helps car manufacturers and their suppliers promote innovation and vehicle connectivity by mitigating the rising risk to human lives and property,” said Zisapel. “This will enable manufacturers to avoid costly and massive recalls. I am enthusiastic to have joined a team of seasoned cybersecurity experts. I am certain that Argus will bridge the huge security gap facing the automotive industry with its innovative and robust technology.”

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