When Continental bought Israel's Argus Cyber Security it said the hacking-preventer would become part of its software subsidiary, Elektrobit. Alexander Kocher, the head of Elektrobit said the addition of Argus helped it eliminate a crucial "blank spot" from the car to the cloud. He explained the importance of this in an interview with Automotive News Europe Correspondent Olive Keogh.
Last November your parent company, Continental, bought Israeli auto cybersecurity specialist, Argus. It is now part of Elektrobit. Why was this acquisition made?
We had a “blank spot” from the car to the cloud and in the other direction. We wanted to secure this data stream over the air. With the Argus acquisition, we have gained experience and competency in this area and have completed the chain. We are now in a position to offer end-to-end security solutions.
In what way have connected cars changed the security landscape?
When cars are more connected, criminal hackers have a bigger reach. They can gain full access to the car and even manipulate fleets, which can potentially do much more damage. For example, it would be possible to stop an entire fleet on the road. Criminals could hold the vehicle hostage and ask for ransom or manipulate the vehicle to cause a fatality. It is a really big issue and this is why countries are making laws that will be approved within weeks not years. We are already seeing initiatives whereby management will be held personally liable for ensuring the security of connected cars.
What are the biggest challenges you face in combating potential hackers?
Building the infrastructure in the right way, maintaining it over the lifetime of the vehicle – up to 12 years - and having very fast reaction times to correct any problems. Argus in particular provides us with the missing link to this last part.