These Ten Startups Are Focused on Protecting Connected Cars From Cyber Attacks

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Did you know that half of all cyberattacks in the automotive industry happened in 2021? 

This represented a more than 140% increase from attacks in the automotive industry in 2020. This shouldn’t be surprising, considering that the number of vehicles connected to the internet has risen dramatically over the last few years. 

A ‘connected’ vehicle, in this case, is simply any vehicle that can connect with devices over a wireless network. This provides excellent flexibility and convenience for everyday drivers. 

For example, specific maintenance issues that typically require a visit to the dealership (such as an issue with the car’s speakers or even certain problems with the suspension system) can now be solved via a simple software update. But this has also opened up a massive new front for cyberattacks. 

In this article, we’ll share the top ten automotive security software companies working hard to ensure that connected vehicles are protected from rising cyber threats. 

Why Are Vehicles Now At Greater Risk of Cyberattacks?

Vehicles, in general, have been evolving drastically over the last decade. Electric vehicle manufacturers such as Tesla have revolutionized the auto industry, offering drivers greater convenience and lower costs with their enhanced connectivity and ability to run off of an electric charge rather than expensive fuel. That’s why 71% of Canadians are now considering an electric vehicle with connectivity for their next car purchase, and over a quarter of Americans are saying the same thing. 

We’re now entering an era where the cars we use for driving to and from home every day are no longer just a car. Instead, cars are directly connected devices that we must treat the same way we do our laptops, tablets, phones, and IoT devices. 

And while the automotive industry is fully aware of the importance of cybersecurity for their vehicles, there’s also no denying that the industry has been caught completely off guard by the sheer volume of cyberattacks that connected cars have sustained over the last three years. The very fact that we witnessed the most significant number of automotive cyberattacks the previous year attests to that, and it’s only going to get worse next year. 

If malicious cybercriminals can hack a connected vehicle, they can potentially gain access to financial or personal data or even gain control over the vehicle’s functions. In other words, criminals can hijack your connected car from afar.

But just as there are third-party security and software vendors dedicated to protecting your laptops or phones when you’re connected to WiFi, there are also vendors devoted to safeguarding your connected vehicles from cyberattacks as well too. 

We’ll talk about ten of these vendors in the next section. 

The Ten Startups Focused On Protecting Connected Cars From Cyber Attacks 

Here are the ten startups focused on protecting connected vehicles from cyber attacks: 

Aptive

Aptive is a cybersecurity company that offers to protect connected vehicles at the software level. The company’s main security product is the Smart Vehicle Architecture, which is designed to establish a secure connected gateway to properly manage the vehicle’s network. This controls both the wireless and wired connections of the car and only offers a single entry point into the vehicle (thus keeping the attack surface to a minimum).

Britive 

Based out of Los Angeles, Britive offers cloud-based security products that are designed to organize user permissions and detect threats via continuous scanning. The company gained awareness on the automotive security map when they helped Toyota to manage control privileges for user accounts and adequately set up user authorization roles. 

CENTRI Technology

The Seattle-based CENTRI is a security firm that offers IoT-enabled automotive security solutions. As an example, their IoTAS product is a mobile and chip software product designed to keep automobile sensors and navigation systems protected from outside threats.

Dellfer

Another cybersecurity firm offering automotive security solutions is Dellfer, offering a run-time, zero-day mitigation platform that offers endpoint protection from cyberattacks for connected devices. They recently joined forces with one of the world’s largest mobility providers, DENSO, to get their technology installed in vehicles. 

Digital.ai 

Digital.ai, formerly known as Arxan, offers software security solutions for desktops, servers, mobile devices, and IoT-based embedded platforms. It utilizes string encryption, renaming, and code obfuscation to defend applications against cyberattacks. Automotive security has become a major focus for the company over the last few years as well. 

Harrman

Based out of Connecticut and owned by Samsung, Harman is a company offering security products for automotive systems. Their technology is installed in more than fifty million vehicles today. Their core product is the Harman SHIELD, which is designed to secure entry points in a connected vehicle’s network and was designed with IBM. 

Intertrust 

Intertrust is a software security firm located in Silicon Valley. Its essential software product is the WhiteCryption, a software product designed to secure a vehicle’s network (including its infotainment center and the functions of the vehicle itself) as well as encrypt the driver’s personal information. 

Ixia

Ixia is a company offering security resiliency solutions designed to secure and validate both physical and virtual networks for individuals and businesses. Their top products include the BreakingPoint (a performance testing product) and the ThreatARMOR (a threat intelligence security device). 

NVIDIA

NVIDIA is a technology company offering solutions such as the Xavier Architecture and the Drive OS, which is a functional safety operating system that includes a comprehensive security model (including a firewall and regular over-the-air software security updates) as part of its software. 

VisualThreat 

VisualThreat is one of the leading car security vendors and is currently based out of California. The company’s chief product is an end-to-end connected vehicle security solution in the form of the Vehicle CyberSecurity Protection Framework. The company’s background is boosting security for auto-based mobile apps and telematics units

Conclusion

How secure is your vehicle? Hopefully, you’ve asked yourself this question after reading this article. Just because the auto industry has become a prime target for hackers doesn’t mean you have to resign yourself to thinking that it’s inevitable your vehicle will become a target. Even as cyber threats against vehicles continue to rise, security vendors, including the ones listed above, are developing new products to counter those attacks.

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