TEL AVIV, Israel – The former director of the Israeli Internal Security Service said Tuesday that auto makers should stop development of autonomous vehicles until the world auto industry solves the cyber security problem with the help of academia and governments.

Yuval Diskin, now chairman of CyMotive Technologies, warned that the current auto industry practice of trying to prevent hackers from attacking individual vehicles is the wrong approach. He said auto makers must take a holistic approach instead and focus on preventing hackers from penetrating computer networks and the various connections to these networks.

“Car makers slow down autonomous car development until they understand the security issues,” Diskin said in response to a question from MITechNews. Com Editor Mike Brennan.

On a follow up, Brennan asked Diskin if he would recommend auto makers halt autonomous vehicle development until security is solved, he responded “Yes.” Then added: “Allowing all the cars to be autonomous without taking steps to make them secure would be chaotic. The industry should unite forces, and accept these challenges for all the industry.”

CyMotive Technologies is working closely with Volkswagen to make VW’s networks more secure. Diskin is taking what he learned from his days leading Shabak to the private sector. Shabak is responsible for internal security in Israel and the occupied territories. He learned decades ago when suicide bombers were ravaging Israel to make offense a major part of his defense. It’s this philosophy he and two of his former Shabak senior leaders took with them five years ago when they created CyMotive.

Diskin spoke to a group of about 20 journalists from around the world who are attending the 7th Annual Cyber Week Conference at Tel Aviv University. Brennan is among this group invited by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Besides outlining security steps auto makers need to make now while designing autonomous vehicles, Diskin also spoke about the need for more government cooperation with the auto industry to develop offensive strategies to go after hackers, often funded and controlled by nation states. He said industry is not able or willing to take the offensive steps necessary to punish the bad guys, nor should they since that is a national mandate.

In his job with Shabak, Diskin’s response teams used offensive weapons in support of the state’s defense. He said the same strategy must be used today to defeat hackers.

“You can’t be a good defender without understanding good offense,” Diskin said. “Offense is dynamic, the defense is passive. It’s a big problem today.”

Offensive cyber capabilities should be developed using Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Deep Learning and similar technologies to protect nations, organizations and businesses from cyber attack.

“To prevent cyber attacks, you need to go out from the network and go to the adversary’s arena to see what is going on to block attacks before they arrive at your network. If you do not do this, you fail in protecting the organization. If you can find the dots, and connect the dots, you can thwart attacks before they happen.”

Cyber security professionals need to create digital intelligence that can track digital signatures and identify the pattern of each attacker – not only stopping them before they do harm, but also  helping to figure out exactly who or what is behind potential attacks.

“We’ve had lots of muscle used before,” Diskin said, “ now it is time to develop more brains in cyber security.”

This story was written by MITechNews.Com Editor Mike Brennan who is spending this week in Israel as a guest of the Foreign Ministry to find out first-hand why Israel has developed hundreds of cyber security startups. He is attending the 7th Annual Cyber Week conference at Tel Aviv University.