TORONTO, April 21 (Reuters) - BlackBerry Ltd said on Tuesday it is launching a new certificate service that will help bring the security level it offers on smartphones to a slew of devices from cars to smart meters.
Certicom, a subsidiary of BlackBerry and an industry pioneer in elliptic curve cryptography, announced a new offering that it contends will secure millions of devices, expected to be part of the growing Internet of Things (IoT) sphere.
The company said it has already won a contract in Britain to issue certificates for the smart meter initiative there with more than 104 million smart meters and home energy management devices.
The service will make it much easier for companies rolling out such devices to authenticate and secure them, the company said.
Separately, BlackBerry also outlined a plan to expand its research and development efforts on innovation and improvement in computer security.
The initiative is being dubbed BlackBerry Center for High Assurance Computing Excellence (CHACE).
Increased network and device security has become a huge focus for large North American corporations in the face of costly and damaging security breaches.
U.S. retailer Target Corp is still recovering from a major breach in 2013 in which 40 million payment card numbers and 70 million other pieces of customer data such as email addresses and phone numbers were stolen.
Michaels Stores, the biggest U.S. arts and crafts retailer, said last year it had suffered a security breach that may have affected about 2.6 million payment cards.
BlackBerry said the fail-then-patch approach to managing security risk has become a widely accepted practice, but through CHACE it plans to develop tools and techniques that deliver a far higher level of protection than is currently available. (Reporting by Euan Rocha; Editing by Grant McCool)