BlackBerry Jarvis Is A Connected Car Security Scanner

Matt Broersma is a long standing tech freelance, who has worked for Ziff-Davis, ZDnet and other leading publications

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The Jarvis cloud platform aims to root out security bugs that find their way into the hundreds of software components found in modern automobiles

BlackBerry has introduced a security scanning tool for connected automobiles, the latest move in its drive to become a leader in securing and managing internet-linked devices.

Speaking at the North American International Automotive Show (NAIAS) in Detroit on Tuesday, BlackBerry chief executive John Chen announced Jarvis, which scans automobile software for security bugs.

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

BlackBerry’s cloud-based tool, which can be customised for each automaker’s supply chain, automates the process of verifying software components, which would otherwise be a time-consuming manual task.

Credit: BlackBerry

‘Game-changer’

“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 in his keynote speech.

Car makers pay only for their usage of the tool and can scan binary files at every stage of software development. Results are provided immediately via dashboards with specific advisories.

Chen said Jarvis is in trials with a number of large automakers including Jaguar Land Rover (JLR), which on Monday said it was expanding its research into automated and electric vehicle software development with a new development centre in Shannon, Ireland.

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

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Secure devices

While best known for its formerly popular line of smartphones, which faded into obscurity with the rise of the iPhone and Android, BlackBerry started off in the field that would today be called the “Internet of Things”, developing tools for linking devices such as point-of-sale terminals to data networks.

In 2010 it acquired QNX, a Unix-like real-time operating system it used as the basis for revamping its smartphone software, but which has a long history of use in automobiles.

QNX was previously owned by connected device software company Harman, now a subsidiary of Samsung.

And BlackBerry has always had a focus on security, something that led its phones to be used by politicians and high-profile business figures.

Having sold off its handset operations, the company is currently building on its expertise in secure connected devices to expand its presence in the auto industry.

In that field BlackBerry has recently concluded deals with firms including Baidu, Delphi, Denso, Nvidia, Qualcomm and Visteon.

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