Customer Story

Driving Cyber Resilience A Leading Automotive Manufacturer’s Journey to SOC Maturity

Let’s explore how a leading automotive manufacturer ensures cyber resilience with advanced malware & phishing analysis.


The automotive industry is undergoing a seismic transformation. As vehicles evolve into sophisticated connected systems, promising unprecedented convenience and efficiency, they also become lucrative targets for cyber threats. This shift has propelled the need for robust cybersecurity measures to the forefront, as evidenced by McKinsey’s prediction that the automotive cybersecurity market will surge to $9.7 billion by 2030, nearly doubling the figures from 2020.

This case study explores how VMRay, a leading advanced malware and phishing analysis solution, became a linchpin in fortifying one major automotive player’s cybersecurity posture, ensuring resilience in the face of escalating cyber threats.

Customer Overview

Our protagonist in the realm of automotive cybersecurity is a distinguished German car manufacturer standing tall among the industry giants. Positioned at the forefront of automotive advancements, this manufacturer’s commitment to cybersecurity aligns seamlessly with the evolving landscape of connected vehicles and the imperatives of the transformation of mobility.

The Genesis: Navigating the Threat Landscape Together

Embarking on a journey rooted in the intricacies of Incident Response, our collaboration with this prominent German automotive manufacturer began with a shared commitment to deciphering the evolving threat landscape.

The initial focus on manual analysis, particularly within Incident Response scenarios, allowed the automaker to harness the precision of VMRay’s verdicts and the depth of its analyses. This foundational phase laid the groundwork for a transformative partnership, characterized by a proactive stance against unknown and evasive malware.

Precision in Threat Analysis and Combatting Unknown Malware

Years ago, VMRay’s collaboration with the leading German automotive manufacturer commenced as a dedicated effort in manual analysis, particularly within the context of Incident Response. The team of incident responders harnessed the VMRay platform to scrutinize malware threats meticulously, seeking definitive and accurate verdicts and in-depth analyses.

VMRay’s distinguishing strength lies in the precision of its verdicts, depth of analyses, and an exceptional ability to combat evasive and unknown malware. This capability not only assured the automaker of the reliability of VMRay’s insights but also empowered decisive response to emerging threats.

Malware Configuration Extraction for Comprehensive Understanding of Evoliving Threats
A significant turning point in the collaboration was marked by the customer’s satisfaction with VMRay’s malware configuration extraction capabilities. Delving into the intricacies of malware families, C2 addresses, and even insights into the attackers’ methodologies, the automaker found immense value in this feature. Malware configurations contain the highest fidelity Indicators of Compromise (IOCs) that are pivotal for threat hunting and blocking.

VMRay’s automated extraction of these configurations offered a robust advantage, providing the security team with actionable insights that go beyond mere threat identification. This feature positioned VMRay as a key player in the automaker’s quest for a comprehensive understanding of evolving threats.

Complete, Clear and Noise-Free Reports for Incident Responders, Threat Hunters, Detection Engineers and CTI Teams
What stood out in the initial use cases was VMRay’s ability to generate noise-free reports, crystallizing complex analyses into clear and actionable insights. The clarity provided by VMRay not only accelerated analysis and incident response but also played a crucial role in upskilling junior analysts. By presenting information in a comprehensible manner, VMRay’s reports facilitated a smoother learning curve for less experienced analysts.

This dual functionality, serving both seasoned and less experienced analysts, allowed the security team to advance along the SOC maturity journey. Junior analysts, armed with clear and actionable insights, could engage in more advanced analyses, while senior analysts focused on elevated responsibilities like threat hunting, detection engineering, or threat intelligence extraction. VMRay emerged as a catalyst for advancing security operations and nurturing a more adept and proactive security team.

“VMRay’s reports provide unparalleled clarity, enabling our entire security team to swiftly and decisively address threats, from junior analysts to seasoned experts.”

Driving Efficiency: Expanding VMRay’s Role in Cybersecurity Operations

As the automotive industry navigates the fast lanes of technological advancement, the parallel acceleration of cyber threats demands a vigilant approach. This section unveils how our collaboration with this leading German automotive manufacturer, marked by precision and strategic expansion, has fortified cybersecurity posture.

How The Customer Uses VMRay Platform to Automate Security Tasks

In the realm of cybersecurity, the allure of a fully autonomous security ecosystem parallels the concept of a self-driving car, navigating without human intervention. However, the intricacies of cybersecurity dictate a more nuanced approach. Rather than envisioning a complete removal of tasks, the focus is on streamlining processes that consume excessive time and energy.

Task-based automation, likened to features such as automated parking assistance in a car, enhances efficiency without fully replacing human expertise. The goal is not to eliminate tasks but to optimize the time invested in them, making Security Operations Center (SOC) teams more effective in their daily operations and network defense. By focusing on automating specific, time-consuming tasks, SOC teams can unlock valuable time and mental bandwidth, redirecting their expertise towards complex decision-making and strategic initiatives.

The Task-based Security Automation Approach: A Pragmatic Shift

Having initially leveraged VMRay for manual analysis in Incident Response, the client recognized the need to extend its capabilities for automating security tasks. This expansion included deploying VMRay in the Incident Response mailbox for the Vehicle SOC, and for validating and enriching alerts from Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) systems.

EDR alert vetting, involving alert validation, enrichment, and triage, is a strategic play for SOC teams. The relentless influx of alerts poses a risk of missing critical threats hidden within the noise, affecting SOC productivity and leaving little time for strategic responsibilities.

VMRay’s platform excels in this scenario, ensuring our automotive partner can identify genuine threats amidst the alert deluge, enhancing both productivity and the strategic impact of their security operations. The platform’s automation capabilities act as a force multiplier, enabling security teams to focus on high-priority challenges and proactive threat mitigation, fostering growth opportunities for team members and boosting overall job satisfaction.

“VMRay significantly eased our cybersecurity tasks, automating time-intensive processes and enhancing efficiency, particularly in EDR alert validation. A valuable asset for our security operations…”

Cybersecurity Excellence with Unrivaled Privacy and Professional Support

As VMRay’s journey with this prominent automotive manufacturer unfolds, two key chapters emerge, revealing critical decision-making criteria that set VMRay apart in the realm of malware analysis. Beyond the technological prowess and innovative solutions lies a story of profound customer satisfaction driven by privacy assurance and unparalleled professional support.

VMRay: The Beacon of Privacy

For this automotive giant, the choice of a malware analysis solution wasn’t just about detecting threats; it was about securing their sensitive information. In a world where data is often treated as a commodity, VMRay’s commitment to privacy emerged as a beacon. The customer was particularly drawn to two aspects – a resolute stance against sharing analysis reports, IOCs, or any data with third parties and the flexibility to tailor privacy options to their specific needs.

With operations rooted in Germany, where privacy regulations are stringent and awareness is paramount, the ability to choose data hosting locations and durations became a decisive factor. VMRay’s offering to host data within the European Union, specifically in Germany, resonated with the customer’s commitment to comply with regional data protection standards.

This commitment to privacy isn’t just a checkbox; it’s among the major reasons why 7 of the top 10 German companies, along with 56 government organizations and 68 leading financial institutions, trust VMRay.

“In our evaluation process, VMRay’s dedication to privacy stood out. Their flexible privacy options perfectly aligned with our needs.”

Professional Support: A Catalyst for Seamless Integration

Beyond the lines of reliability, scalability, and privacy, the customer discovered that the value of VMRay extended into professional services. The VMRay support team didn’t merely provide solutions; they crafted a seamless onboarding experience that ensured swift deployment and expert guidance.

As the customer embarked on implementing and administering the solution, VMRay’s support team stood ready, a testament to a commitment that went beyond the conventional.

Conclusion: A Triumph in Cyber Resilience, Productivity and SOC Maturity

In navigating the complex terrain of cybersecurity, our automotive partner’s journey with VMRay unveils a strategic expansion within the many layers of the VMRay Platform. From the meticulous realms of manual analysis, extracting clarity from complex threats and analyses, to the orchestrated efficiency of automating security tasks and curbing EDR alert overload, each step marked a progressive embrace of excellence.

However, it wasn’t just technological prowess that laid the discerning selection of VMRay. Beyond cutting-edge capabilities, the decision was anchored in the unwavering pillars of data privacy and professional support. VMRay emerged not just as a solution but as a trustworthy companion in an interconnected digital future.

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