Car Industry

Volkswagen establishes cybersecurity joint venture

The issue will only grow in importance as cars become more connected.

NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 31: A view of the 2017 Volkswagen 'PinkBeetle' Beetle car on display at the Volkswagen #PinkBeetle cocktail reception on August 31, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images,)
Noam Galai, Getty Images,

Ask anyone who's clicked the wrong link in an email, and you'd know that online security is ridiculously important. It's even more important when you're driving a connected car, since your physical safety could be at risk. As we move toward the age of connected cars, Volkswagen is bolstering its cybersecurity cred with a new joint venture.

VW is teaming up with Yuval Diskin, the former head of Israel's intelligence agency, to establish a joint venture aimed at protecting the next generation of cars, The Detroit Bureau reports. The automaker will own a 40 percent stake in the new company, called CyMotive Technologies, but it's unclear how much VW is investing.

Israel has come up as a major player in automotive cybersecurity. Reuters notes that both Harman and IBM have already put money behind similar Israeli firms. Diskin will serve as CyMotive's chairman. He's been working on security for the private sector after leaving the government in 2011.

"To enable us to tackle the enormous challenges of the next decade, we need to expand our know-how in cyber security in order to systematically advance vehicle cyber security for our customers," Volkmar Tanneberger, head of electronic development at Volkswagen, said in a statement.

Given recent high-profile cybersecurity stories in the automotive industry, including the Wired feature that left a Jeep Cherokee's controls in the hands of hackers on laptops, it's probably a good idea to get ahead of the curve when it comes to keeping digital scofflaws at bay. Once we move into the area of vehicle-to-x communication, encryption and general security will become even more important than they are now.