BlackBerry Strengthens Bid To Secure IoT

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BlackBerry launches new proactive security initiative and Certicom launches PKI for connected devices

BlackBerry is pressing ahead with its stated ambition to “manage anything with an IP” with the formation of a new security R&D initiative and the release of a public key infrastructure (PKI) certificate for connected devices by the company’s subsidiary, Certicom.

The BlackBerry Center for High Assurance Computing Excellence (CHACE) aims to proactively find vulnerabilities before they happen by creating tools that supersede the existing “fail then patch” approach.

BlackBerry says it would work with key industry groups and academic institutions to address security and privacy concerns for next generation devices and applications.

IoT security

BlackBerry Blend“There’s a belief that the key to the world’s security issues is to patch faster, but this hamster wheel fails to address the root issue,” said David Kleidermacher, BlackBerry Chief Security Officer.  “Systems that require regular patching always contain vulnerabilities unknown to developers, and some of these vulnerabilities are in fact known by would-be attackers.

“Fundamentally, CHACE is about finding and fixing security issues before they ever get into customer’s hands. In the past year alone, we’ve seen widespread issues like FREAK, Heartbleed and POODLE cause havoc across nearly all online technologies. We want to create automated scanning tools to find these issues quickly, efficiently and effectively across all of our products and services.”

CHACE’s initial focus will be to collect best practices and tools in the area of statistical analysis to create a first version toolset for software components. BlackBerry suggests contributions may come from academic partners like UC Santa Barbara, the University of Oxford and the University of Waterloo, Canada.

“It’s clear we must build systems that are provably devoid of security flaws,” added Kleidermacher. “The software and security engineering required to meet this objective is sadly rare today and must become commonplace. CHACE is BlackBerry’s initiative towards this goal, and we welcome all who wish to join the fight.”

Elsewhere, Certicom’s new PKI for the Internet of Things (IoT) will allow device manufacturers and service providers to secure their networks, whether they use the BlackBerry IoT platform or as part of another connected device ecosystem or private infrastructure.

“Strong cryptography and entity authentication are the foundation of IoT security,” said Jim Alfred, Vice President, BlackBerry Technology Solutions, Certicom. “When you manage remote devices, you need to know that you can trust the devices and that your communications network is secured.”

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