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Blackberry launches security software for autonomous vehicles

Launched at the Detroit auto show, Blackberry’s new Jarvis software cybersecurity product for autonomous vehicles is also applicable for industrial automation.

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John Chen, BlackBerry CEO at the Detroit Auto Show
John Chen, BlackBerry CEO at the Detroit Auto Show

Canadian smartphone pioneer BlackBerry Limited is looking to tap the nascent market for autonomous cars and trucks as it reinvents itself as a cybersecurity software and services company.

Security has long been one of the strengths of BlackBerry’s proprietary software systems. In a recent blog Marty Beard, COO at BlackBerry, highlighted how its QNX Software Development Platform SDP 7.0 for autonomous vehicles incorporates a multi-level platform featuring a policy-driven security model that includes BlackBerry’s “best-in-class security technology”.

BlackBerry Limited has now launched a new offering called “Jarvis” that it is calling a “transformational software cybersecurity product”. Leveraging its cybersecurity expertise and proprietary technology, “Jarvis is a one-of-its-kind cloud-based static binary code scanning solution that identifies vulnerabilities in software used in automobiles. Jarvis scans and delivers deep actionable insights in minutes, what would otherwise involve manually scanning that will take large numbers of experts an impractical amount of time.” BlackBerry said in a statement.

"Connected and autonomous vehicles require some of the most complex software ever developed, creating a significant challenge for automakers who must ensure the code complies with industry and manufacturer-specific standards while simultaneously battle-hardening a very large and tempting attack surface for cybercriminals," said John Chen, Executive Chairman and CEO, BlackBerry.

With Jarvis BlackBerry claims to have solved the challenge presented by the use of multiple software components in a vehicle. "Jarvis is a game-changer for OEMs because for the first time they have a complete, consistent, and near real-time view into the security posture of a vehicle’s entire code base along with the insights and deep learning needed to predict and fix vulnerabilities, ensure compliance, and remain a step ahead of bad actors,” Chen said.

BlackBerry is offering Jarvis as a service with a pay-as-you go model. “Once initiated, automakers will have online access to Jarvis and can scan any number of binary files at every stage of software development. This includes the capability to evaluate new software under consideration as well as the ability to assess existing software already in production. Once scanned, development teams have immediate access to the results via user-friendly dashboards with specific cautions and advisories.

“In addition to cost and time savings, BlackBerry Jarvis helps ensure that production software adheres to industry standards such as MISRA and CERT, and enables OEMs to define custom rules to meet organization-specific objectives”.

Dr. Ralf Speth, CEO, Jaguar Land Rover, gave Jarvis his endorsement. “BlackBerry Jarvis addresses the software cybersecurity needs of the automotive industry. In our independent study, Jarvis delivered excellent efficiencies in time-to-market, significantly reducing the time to security assess code from thirty days to seven minutes. The productivity delivered by Jarvis combined with BlackBerry’s trusted security heritage can transform vehicle safety.”

In the industrial automation market, Jarvis could be used to mitigate the risk of cyberattacks targeting a vehicle’s own software, as well as the fleet management software applications that control autonomous vehicles.

 

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