Harman to TowerSec: 'How are you with stable doors?'

Jeep-hack attack-vector buys auto infosec biz

Car crash

Harman, whose in-car UConnect wireless system helped Chris Valasek and Charlie Miller take control of a Jeep Cherokee last year, has announced it's buying TowerSec.

The acquisition target loved last year's hacked-Jeep story, last year claiming not only that it would have blocked the attack, but turning the hype to 11 by telling an Israeli startup PR sheet it can block against “every” attack.

Hyperbole aside, it must have something that the maker of JBL loudspeakers and Harman Kardon audio systems liked, and the companies announced the acquisition at CES to ensure the most breathless possible reception.

TowerSec's products are Ecushield (which gives the engine control unit, ECU, intrusion detection capabilities), and Tcushield, which protects the telematics and infotainment units (which only the most egregious idiots would leave as an attack vector – that is, most of the motor industry).

Harman says the products will be integrated into its “5+1” security framework, which it demoed last September, a few months after the Jeep-hack. That framework introduced things like sandboxing, domain isolation, access control and network protection that should have been built into auto-makers' critical platforms from day one.

TowerSec's head office is in Michigan, its R&D happens in Israel, and it has offices in Berlin and Maryland. Terms of the deal weren't disclosed. ®

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