Security by Sector: Jaguar Land Rover & BlackBerry Seek to Improve Security in Manufacturing of Next-Gen Vehicles

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The subject of how information security impacts different industry sectors is an intriguing one. For example, how does the finance industry fare in terms of information security compared to the health sector, or the entertainment business? Are there some sectors that face greater cyber-threats and risks than others? Do some do a better job of keeping data secure, and if so, how and why?

Some interesting news was announced recently concerning the automotive manufacturing industry. Jaguar Land Rover and BlackBerry went public with plans to deepen their partnership for the production of intelligent (or next gen) vehicles, with a focus on security central to the expanded collaboration of the two brands.

In recent years, vehicles (particularly cars) have been manufactured to be more and more ‘smart’ – that is, fitted with advanced electronics, high-tech devices and connectivity. Whilst this has allowed various advances such as in-built GPS, internet access, vehicle health diagnostics, driver assistance and even entertainment, it has also opened up significant new security risks. That’s because, as cars become more connected, they essentially become mobile computers, but without the same security sophistication built in to match. Therefore, they become more exposed and susceptible to being penetrated from outside forces.

For example, in 2015, researchers from IOActive remotely hacked a Jeep Cherokee by targeting its ‘smart’ entertainment system, gaining access to the vehicle’s dashboard functions, brakes, steering and transmission. The research was purely investigatory and nobody was hurt, but it did highlight what malicious hackers could easily achieve and showed connected vehicles have been manufactured without the security needed to keep them safe.

So, as vehicles continue to be ever more connected and high-tech, the automotive manufacturing industry faces the challenge of ensuring that in-built cybersecurity in vehicles is just as much of a priority as technological evolution.

The announcement from Jaguar Land Rover and BlackBerry is therefore a welcome one, and the collaboration between the companies has expanded to include:

•           BlackBerry Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning technologies for Automotive: leveraging BlackBerry QNX and BlackBerry Cylance, the companies are working on transforming vehicle safety across a range of capabilities, including predictive software maintenance and cybersecurity threat protection

•           BlackBerry QNX for Jaguar Land Rover’s next-generation vehicle architecture: integrating BlackBerry software establishes the overall safety of Jaguar Land Rover’s next-gen vehicle architecture

•           BlackBerry Cybersecurity Consulting: consisting of BlackBerry consultants and security testing technology, BlackBerry Cybersecurity Consulting services identify security vulnerabilities in connected and autonomous vehicles

“Jaguar Land Rover and BlackBerry share a common objective in bringing the most intelligent vehicles to reality,” said professor Sir Ralf D Speth KBE FREng, Jaguar Land Rover CEO. “I am delighted that our partnership with BlackBerry continues to go from strength-to-strength, a company whose technology innovations uniquely address the expanding safety needs of the automotive industry.”

John Chen, executive chairman & CEO, BlackBerry, added: “BlackBerry is a trusted partner of the automotive industry because of our heritage and innovations in secure communications. We are pleased to be Jaguar Land Rover’s chosen partner for safety-certified technology, as we advance artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies to transform automotive safety.”

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