BlackBerry announced a new service called Jarvis today that’s aimed at helping automakers test the code they’re loading into cars for security flaws.
Jarvis uses a technique known as static analysis to seek out bugs in the pre-built application binaries users feed it. That should provide automakers with the information needed to find those bugs before they can be exploited by an attacker who might put a car or its passengers at risk.
Providing automakers with security tools is key as cars become increasingly connected and autonomous. If a car is to be safe in this modern era, automakers need to worry about security flaws, especially in light of past issues that have allowed hackers to take control of different vehicle functions thanks to issues with their code.
BlackBerry’s new service is particularly well-positioned for the auto market, since carmakers often use hundreds of different software components, including some that come prepackaged from other companies. Jarvis allows those businesses to scan even prebuilt binaries that didn’t originate in-house, which should help provide additional peace of mind.
It’s also good news for BlackBerry, which is working to dive deeper into markets outside the smartphone industry. The Canadian company has a history with the auto market, after it acquired QNX Software Systems in 2010. That deal added QNX, a Unix-like operating system meant for embedded applications like automobiles, to the BlackBerry portfolio. QNX is also underpinning the company’s ambitions in other markets, such as smart home and health care.
Jarvis will be available through a software-as-a-service model. Customers will pay for the system based on how much data they want to scan, purchased in bundles. It’s fully automated, so BlackBerry hopes that will encourage customers to scan their software more often, compared to manual scanning that they may already be performing.
In the future, BlackBerry could expand Jarvis to reach outside the automotive market, since other industries like aerospace, health care, and defense could all make use of its static analysis capabilities.