Blackberry has launched an IT security software package for autonomous vehicles, called Jarvis. The software is intended to protect connected cars and self-driving vehicles from remote hijackings by hackers.
Jarvis will be offered to car makers as a pay-as-you-go service, which they can use to alleviate some of the concerns over fleets of driverless cars zipping along public roads might make tantalising targets for hobby hackers and pro cyber crooks alike.
Jarvis works by scanning all the software components in an autonomous vehicle in real-time, sniffing out any vulnerabilities and prodding car makers to fix them before they get pried open by hackers.
"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 Blackberry CEO John Chen.
"Jarvis is a game-changer for original equipment manufacturers (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."
While Blackberry might have retreated from smartphones, its QNX Unix-like real-time operating system has been a long-time market leader in the automotive sector. The company picked up QNX in 2010, with the intention of using the OS as the foundation for the now discontinued Blackberry 10 operating system.
One of the benefits of the QNX operating system is the ability to turn off functions in the microkernel that aren't required, improving security.
Users in the automotive sector of QNX include Ford, but it has lost Toyota, Jaguar-Land Rover, and Mercedes to Linux, while Honda (for reasons best known to executives at the company) shifted to Android.
However, Jaguar Land Rover is among the manufacturers currently trialling Jarvis.
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