BlackBerry Ltd Prepares For More Cyber-Threats With Medical Hack

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BlackBerry took the stage to demonstrate the way in which a terrorist could access an infusion pump inside a hospital and give patients a lethal morphine dose. The demonstration was held in New York City, during the global security forum conducted by the Canadian firm, which is keen to establish itself as a major provider of security for all kinds of equipment that connect to the internet.

BlackBerry QNX, a security expert

In the demonstration, the Canadian company showed how a would-be-terrorist got access to the wirelessly connected pump, which is a standard hospital item, hacked its password and issued remote commands on a computer to change the way it dispensed morphine.

BlackBerry QNX is largely seen as an operating system that could apparently prevent such attacks on infusion pumps. BlackBerry bought QNX after buying QNX Software Systems in 2010. QNX is also one of the major features in BlackBerry’s latest handset operating system, BlackBerry 10. QNX has become the major platform across every walk of life from power generation systems to wind turbines, nuclear stations and hydroelectricity plans. QNX is in 50 million cars to drive computing and fuel infotainment systems, BlackBerry informed those who attended the forum.

The Canadian smartphone maker is now more concerned about securing devices and equipment irrespective of the platform. BlackBerry now offers its service for Apple’s iOS, Android, Windows mobile devices, PCs, Macs, and devices with embedded computer systems such as hospital equipment.

Preparing for rising threat to security

Along with the demo, CEO John Chen also published an exhaustive list of companies BlackBerry has acquired to enhance its business as a provider of internet security and device management systems. The services of these companies are being packaged into BlackBerry’s overall offering.

Chen stated that the company has shelled out more than $100 million on creating more products around security and on its acquisitions. These acquisitions included German firm Secusmart, a voice and data encryption specialist; Movirtu, which enables an organization to secure and manage a work data container on smartphones; and Watchdox, which specializes in document digital rights management.

Earlier this week, one company told the BBC that it has discovered a way to take hold of a car’s brake and other critical systems by sending data via digital audio broadcasting radio signals. In the U.S., researchers demonstrated how they could seize control of a Jeep Cherokee by transmitting data to its entertainment and navigational systems, according to the BBC.

Citing such reports as evidence for the security need, Chen said, “This time it [the report] is being picked up everywhere; that’s giving you a feeling of heightened alert; it actually validates what we’re been trying to do.”

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