Published: Wed, January 17, 2018
Sci-tech | By Javier West

BlackBerry makes auto show debut, announces new vehicle security tool

BlackBerry makes auto show debut, announces new vehicle security tool

Cars use hundreds of software components often supplied by a widely distributed network of third-party suppliers, making it hard to ensure any flaws are caught before they're built into vehicles.

Canadian technology firm BlackBerry unveiled a new cybersecurity software product called Jarvis, which will initially be marketed to automakers, the company's chairman and chief executive John Chen said on Tuesday in a company statement.

The former smartphone maker has also said that Jarvis is applicable to other segments including healthcare, industrial automation, aerospace, and defence.

Throughout each stage of software development, Jarvis scans a vehicle's full suite of code to identify vulnerabilities at a purportedly-faster rate than today's manual processes.

Jarvis will be customized for each manufacturer and sold by BlackBerry on a pay-per-use basis.

He said carmakers "must ensure the code complies with industry and manufacturer-specific standards while simultaneously battle-hardening a very large and tempting attack surface for cybercriminals".

BlackBerry's interest in securing automotive and IoT has resulted in a stream of product announcements over the a year ago. Jarvis can scan software and deliver "actionable insights" about its security "within minutes", according to BlackBerry.

"This includes the capability to evaluate new software under consideration as well as the ability to assess existing software already in production", the release said. The development teams will have immediate access to the vulnerabilities through user-friendly dashboards with specific cautions and advisories. Jarvis can also be programmed to align with company's own objectives and ensure software meets compliance standards.

That some confidence from Chen right there, but the company has got some big names in the world of cars on its roster, including Jaguar Land Rover which is now trialling Jarvis.

JLR said Jarvis reduced the time for its code security assessment from thirty days to seven minutes.

The company has a lot riding on its BlackBerry QNX division, a formerly independent Ottawa-based software developer that's made inroads with Ford Motor Co. and automotive suppliers around the world.

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