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Israeli cyber startup enforces the virtual waves of the seven seas

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It is pretty standard practice for both military and private vessels to protect themselves from the many dangers faced while at sea. However, it’s not just missiles and pirates from which they need to defend, hackers too, can cause a great threat to maritime reality. Israeli startup Cydome has developed a comprehensive maritime cyber-security system that protects the boat’s computing system from malicious fingers.

Done are the days of relying on stars and massive oars, the company explains that today more and more sea vessels are dependent on navigational, communicational, and remote control technologies. This is how ships, of all sizes, traverse the waterways of the globe and get from A to B. Considering these ships are big part of global commerce (critical infrastructure), or pre-COVID, floated hundreds of thousands of travelers around the world onboard massive cruise ships, these vessels have become an attractive target for cyber attacks.

The Israeli startup has developed a platform that provides end-to-end security for both of the unique IT and OT systems upon these ships. The platform maps out the entire system on the ship, connecting through the IoT devices - alongside cyber threat analysis for each IoT component. Cydome’s system was developed primarily for the naval landscape, and it aims on securing maritime operations, even for ships out at sea. The maritime cyber system enables vessel owners insight into the condition of the ship while at sea. From a remote location, ship handlers can monitor attacks in real-time, even empowering the onboard crew with tools to prevent cyber attacks.

In a conversation with Geektime, CEO Nir Ayalon explains that market competitors are coming from different sectors and are vigorously trying to adapt themselves to the maritime landscape: “Cydome’s technology was developed from the ground up targeting the unique challenges faced by maritime vessels - operating alongside strategic partners from the shipping industry,” said Ayalon.

According to Ayalon, Cydome was conceived by combining experienced naval minds and cyber experts. He noted that the R&D team researches and detects vulnerabilities in communication networks and operating systems unique to naval ships. In addition, the cyber experts develop algorithms for identifying attacks and anomalies scanned from within the vessel’s IoT network. The Israeli firm’s solution helps prepare shipping and naval enterprises for newly minted maritime regulations (went into effect last month), which state that every commercial vessel must go through comprehensive testing to determine a ship’s cyber readiness, and offer preventative measures.

Cydome was founded in 2019 by CEO Nir Ayalon, COO Avital Sincai, CTO Eitan Yehuda, and VP R&D Alon Ayalon. The Tel Aviv based company recently secured a $2.2 million investment from VentureIsrael and private investors.