Israeli firm announces funding for railroad cybersecurity services

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TEL AVIV, Israel – Cylus, an Israeli startup developing cybersecurity solutions for railways and metros, announced today that it raised $4.7 million in seed funding to continue to meet the cybersecurity challenges facing the rail industry. Investors include Zohar Zisapel, a private investor and Founder of RAD, as well as Magma Venture Partners, Vertex Ventures, and the SBI Group.

As railways adopt more automated, wireless, and connected technologies, their most safety-critical assets have become exposed to new and more dangerous types of cyber-attacks. These attacks can threaten passenger safety, disrupt service, and cause severe economic damage. Legacy components and communication protocols throughout the railway industry were never designed with cybersecurity in mind and are in critical need of the kind of network protection Cylus provides. With hundreds of millions of train and metro passengers every day in the U.S. and Europe alone, the need for a more robust network security has never been more critical.

“Current approaches to cybersecurity do not fit the architecture of railway networks today,” said Cylus CEO Amir Levintal. “Our team of world-class cyber specialists together with rail industry experts have tailored a solution to the industry’s unique requirements. Our solution enables rail companies to detect cyber-attacks in their operational network, including their signaling systems and rolling stocks, and block attackers before they can cause any damage. The automotive industry has woken up to the critical need for cyber protection — it’s time the railway industry got on board as well.”

In recent years, rail companies in the U.S., U.K., Germany, South Korea, and Sweden have all been targeted by hackers. This dramatic rise in threat levels has raised awareness regarding significant security deficits throughout the rail industry. New technologies are regularly being introduced for safety, train control, and passenger convenience, but until now, no comprehensive solution has been created to sufficiently protect the rail industry from malicious cyber-attacks.

“Railway companies cannot compromise on passenger safety, and one of the pillars of passenger safety is cybersecurity,” said Boaz Zafrir, president of Cylus and the former CEO of Israel Railways. “Railway executives are acutely aware of the dangers and are looking for answers. The extraordinary team at Cylus has rich experience creating effective cybersecurity solutions, and I am confident that the company's unique technology will help keep passengers safe all over the world.”

“Train attacks are no longer science fiction,” said investor and co-founder of Cylus, Zohar Zisapel. “Trains, passengers, and critical railway infrastructure are undoubtedly high-quality targets for hackers. Cylus is laser-focused on protecting railway systems while enabling customers to swiftly adapt new technologies to reduce the risk to the public.”

"We are continuing to invest in startups in the cyber industry," said Yoram Oron, Founder and Managing Partner of Vertex Venture Capital and Chairman of Cylus. "Recently, there has been an increase in the scope and intensity of cyber-attacks that cause actual physical harm. We believe that Cylus’ experienced team of security specialists and entrepreneurs and its strategic approach will provide a unique response to growing cyber-threats around the world."

More information is available online.

— A Cylus news release. Jan. 25, 2018.
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