Red Balloon announces Symbiote for Automotive Defense to save your car from being hacked

By Souvik Das | Published on 27 Jun 2017

Symbiote is an existing program for IoT devices that is installed in embedded hardware to fight malware.

Red Balloon announces Symbiote for Automotive Defense to save your car from being hacked

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Ever since I started reporting on autonomous car technology, I have been increasingly concerned on the safety standards that connected cars would need before we leave our expensive possessions in the hands of machines and AI. Talks of safety and security of cars have been on for a while, with the likes of ZF and Toyota reportedly considering blockchain during in-house discussions as a way to keep vehicles away from hackers. Now, the latest addition in connected car security comes with Red Balloon Security's Symbiote for Automotive Defense.

Symbiote essentially borrows the same principles that it uses to secure IoT-enabled products like smart refrigerators. It is installed in the hardware embedded in a device, and fights malware from the core. Reassuringly, Symbiote has had a great track record till date, and the company claims that it has not had a single failure report till date. The security platform is compatible with all operating systems, which makes it versatile as any car manufacturer working on different platforms (Linux, Android, QNX, etc.) can implement this system.

Symbiote can reportedly protect cars against ransomeware, zero-day hacks and most importantly, remote hijacking. The latter has been the cause of biggest concern as hackers had demonstrated back in Defcon 2015, where they hacked into a Tesla Model S' firmware, unlocked its doors, ignited its engine and drove it away without even touching it. These remote threats are expected to increase by a margin in the near future once connected vehicle setups become more commonplace, and security and insurance firms will have their work cut out to present ways of preventing unauthorised car and cloud network access.

It remains to be seen how Symbiote for Automotive Defense is implemented, and which companies become the first to partner with Red Balloon Security to use it.

Souvik Das

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