BlackBerry's new lab wants to add more machine learning to security

New unit will focus on research and development in security technologies.

BlackBerry: From smartphones to securing IoT and smart cities BlackBerry Security Summit London: CEO John Chen details how the company wants to harness machine learning and AI. Read more: https://zd.net/2NBjyvz

BlackBerry has set up a business unit focused on cybersecurity research and development. The company said its BlackBerry Labs unit will include a team of over 120 software developers, architects, researchers, product leads and security experts.

BlackBerry said the new lab will have a focus on data science and machine learning and aims to "investigate, incubate and facilitate" technologies for security and data privacy for its customers. Initial projects from BlackBerry Labs will focus on machine-learning approaches to security for BlackBerry's Cylance, enterprise and QNX business units.

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While BlackBerry is still best known as an early smartphone pioneer, it no longer makes devices (these are made under licence by TCL Communication), and now focuses on security software for smartphones and the internet of things, embedded systems and autonomous cars.

As part of that transition, BlackBerry last year acquired security company Cylance for $1.4bn. Cylance uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to predict and prevent security threats: part of the new lab's role will be to embed that AI/ML technology in BlackBerry's wider portfolio.

Charles Eagan, BlackBerry's CTO, said. "Today's cybersecurity industry is rapidly advancing and BlackBerry Labs will operate as its own business unit solely focused on innovating and developing the technologies of tomorrow that will be necessary for our sustained competitive success."