Cylus, an Israel-based startup that specializes in cybersecurity solutions for the rail industry, emerged from stealth mode on Thursday with $4.7 million in seed funding. Investors include Zohar Zisapel, a private investor and Founder of RAD, as well as Magma Venture Partners, Vertex Ventures and the SBI Group.
Researchers have warned on several occasions in the past years that modern railway systems are vulnerable to cyber-attacks, and the rail industry has been targeted by both cyber criminals and state-sponsored cyber-spies.
Cylus is a pioneer in protecting railway and metro systems from a growing number of cyber-threats. Founded in 2017 by veterans (Amir Levintal, Boaz Zafrir, Gal Shmueli, Miki Shifman and Zohar) of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) Intelligence Corps’ elite technological intelligence and security units, is comprised of a team of world-class cyber specialists and rail industry experts have tailored a military-grade solution to the industry’s unique requirements. Their robust technology enables rail companies to detect cyber-attacks in their operational network – including their signaling systems and trains – and block attackers before they can cause any damage. Cylus is based in the heart of Tel Aviv.
“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,” Cylus CEO Amir Levintal said.
“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.”
Cylus provides cybersecurity solutions for railways and metros. 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. In the U.S. and Europe alone, there are hundreds of millions of train and metro passengers every day. This calls for the need for a more robust network security has never been more critical.
“Railway companies cannot compromise on passenger safety, and one of the pillars of passenger safety is cybersecurity,” said Boaz Zafrir, President of Cylus and 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.