Safer connected cars

Germany’s Continental confirms buy of Israel cybersecurity firm Argus

Financial details of the deal not disclosed, but Hebrew media estimates it at $400m

Shoshanna Solomon was The Times of Israel's Startups and Business reporter

Argus Cyber Security has been acquired by Germany's Continental AG (Courtesy)
Argus Cyber Security has been acquired by Germany's Continental AG (Courtesy)

Gemany’s Continental AG, an automotive manufacturing firm, said over the weekend that it was buying Israeli startup Argus Cyber Security to strengthen its capabilities in automotive cybersecurity.

In a statement, the German firm confirmed reports in the Hebrew media last week of the acquisition, which was estimated at around $400 million. The Continental statement did not disclose financial details.

As vehicles become increasingly connected they also become a target for hackers, and car manufacturers around the world are implementing strategies to minimize the exposure of vehicles to such risks. By 2020, hundreds of millions of these automated cars, which are essentially “computers on wheels,” will drive on roads worldwide and communicate between themselves, the statement said.

“Only secure mobility is intelligent mobility,” said Helmut Matschi, member of the executive board at Continental and head of the interior division. “With the acquisition of Argus Cyber Security we are enhancing our abilities to directly develop and offer solutions and services with some of the world’s leading automotive cyber security experts to our customers around the globe in order to truly make mobility more intelligent and secure.”

Argus Cybersecurity founders from right to left: Zohar Zisapel, Chairman; Oron Lavi, VP R&D; Ofer Ben Noon, CEO; Yaron Galula, CTO (Photo credit: Courtesy)

Argus was founded in 2013 by alumni of the IDF’s elite Unit 8200, CEO Ofer Ben-Noon, Oron Lavi and Yaron Galula, with Zohar Zisapel, a co-founder of the RAD Group who is also an investor in the firm.

The Israeli startup is headquartered in Tel Aviv, has a team of more than 70 people and has “the most comprehensive, market-ready solution suites in the industry, based on 38 granted and pending patents,” Continental’s statement said.

Argus is already supplying its cybersecurity solutions to car manufacturers and suppliers worldwide, and the firm has representation in Japan, Germany and North America.

Argus will become a part of Elektrobit (EB), Continental’s software subsidiary. But it will also continue to work with all automotive suppliers globally, the statement said. The acquisition will enable the merger of Continental’s automotive know-how, Argus’ technology and solutions that are already in the market, and EB’s deep automotive software knowledge, Continental said.

Together, the companies will offer multi-layered, end-to-end security solutions and services, including intrusion detection and prevention, attack surface protection and fleet cyber security health monitoring and management via a security operations center (SOC) to protect vehicles in the field. The companies will also provide software updates over-the-air solutions, the statement said.

Argus Cyber Security software aims to protect connected cars from hackers (Courtesy)

“Argus was founded with a vision to protect all vehicles on the road from cyber threats. To this end we have developed the most comprehensive automotive cyber security offering in the industry and enjoy global recognition of our leadership. Joining forces with Continental and EB will enable us to further accelerate the realization of that vision,” said Argus co-founder and CEO Ben-Noon.

“With automotive cyber security regulations in the making worldwide and with already millions of connected cars on the road, I can’t think of a better time, or a more exciting move, than now to become part of EB. Together we will shorten time to market and make it easier for vehicle manufacturers to protect their vehicles from cyber-attacks,” Ben-Noon said.

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