BlackBerry to Add Quantum-Resistant Server to Cybersecurity Platform

The new product will allow software to be digitally signed using a scheme that will be hard to break with a quantum computer, CTO Charles Eagan told eWEEK.


NEW YORK -- BlackBerry, gone from the smartphone business but growing revenue 15 percent per year in security software development and licensing, is moving into securing the quantum computing world.

The Canadian IT provider revealed Oct. 4 at its annual Security Summit here that it is adding a quantum-resistant code-signing server to its lineup of cryptography tools. The new product will allow software to be digitally signed using a scheme that will be hard to break with a quantum computer, CTO Charles Eagan told eWEEK and a group of IT analysts.

“Quantum computing will solve groundbreaking problems in health care, transportation, astrophysics, government, and many other fields; however, it also gives bad actors the potential to crack traditional public key cryptosystems and then attack the underlying data they protect,” Eagan said. “By adding the quantum-resistant code signing server to our cybersecurity tools, we will be able to address a major security concern for industries that rely on assets that will be in use for a long time.

“If your product, whether it’s a car or critical piece of infrastructure, needs to be functional 10 to 15 years from now, you need to be concerned about quantum computing attacks.”

The code signing server will come available in November, Eagan said. It uses cryptographic libraries from ISARA Corp., a provider of agile quantum-safe security solutions. The combination of BlackBerry and ISARA’s technology can protect software of long-lived assets–such as systems in critical infrastructure, industrial controls, aerospace and military electronics, telecommunications, transportation infrastructure, and connected cars–against an increasingly risky future when quantum computers will be able to easily break traditional code signing schemes.

Within the next eight to 10 years, experts believe there will be a large-scale quantum computer capable of breaking today’s public key cryptography, Mike Brown, CTO and co-founder at ISARA, said.

Quantum computers operate differently from today’s classical computers. By harnessing the properties of quantum mechanics, a large-scale quantum computer will be able to solve problems that even today’s supercomputers cannot–such as widely used factor-based encryption that protects everything from banking records and state secrets to connected devices and autonomous vehicles.

Migrating to quantum-resistant systems will be a multi-year effort because of the ubiquity of public key cryptography; taking the first steps today is crucial for governments, enterprises and device vendors responsible for mission-critical infrastructure and safety-critical systems.

BlackBerry Certicom, which develops applied cryptography and key management, provides managed PKI, key management and provisioning technology that helps customers protect the integrity of their silicon chips and devices from the point of manufacturing and throughout the device life cycle. Used to prevent product counterfeiting, re-manufacturing, and rogue network access, BlackBerry’s secure key provisioning and identity management solutions are a proven way to protect next-generation connected cars, critical infrastructure, and IoT deployments, the company said.

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Image of CEO John Chen courtesy of Matthew Chandler, BlackBerry

Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor-in-Chief of eWEEK and responsible for all the publication's coverage. In his 15 years and more than 4,000 articles at eWEEK, he has distinguished himself in reporting...