BlackBerry System Walls Off Safety-Critical Software in Smart Cars

BlackBerry has announced a new security solution for smart cars.

BlackBerry System Walls Off Safety-Critical Software in Smart CarsCalled QNX Hypervisor 2.0, it’s based on BlackBerry’s QNX SDP 7.0 64-bit embedded operating system, and is essentially designed to build walls between safety-critical environments and software components that aren’t critical to safety, preventing hacks or other disruptions from affecting the safe operation of the car in which the system is embedded. In other words, even if a hacker is able to access the infotainment software of a smart car, the hacker won’t be able to use it as a springboard into accessing the car’s speedometer or gas level indicator.

The system could guard against some pretty serious threats. As BlackBerry QNX head John Wall explained in a statement announcing the system, “If hackers can access a car through a non-critical ECU system, they can tamper or take over safety-critical areas, such as the steering system, brakes or engine” – but “QNX Hypervisor 2.0 safeguards against these types of attacks”, he said.

The system’s announcement helps to demonstrate BlackBerry’s growing smart car expertise after automaker Ford announced in March that it would hire hundreds of BlackBerry engineers to work on connected car technologies at a new research center in Ottawa. And BlackBerry says that Qualcomm Technologies has already adopted the system “as part of certain digital cockpit solutions,” suggesting BlackBerry is off to a speedy start in the smart car market.