The Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT Madras) incubated startup firm has developed an indigenous mobile operating system called BharOS, which is designed to benefit the country's 100 crore mobile phone users. It provides a secure environment for users and is a significant contribution towards ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat.’
The software can be installed on commercial off-the-shelf handsets and provides a secure environment for users. BharOS services are currently being provided to organizations that have stringent privacy and security requirements, and whose users handle sensitive information that requires confidential communications on restricted apps on mobiles. Such users require access to private cloud services through private 5G networks.
The BharOS was developed by JandK Operations Private Limited (JandKops), an incubated firm of IIT Madras. The project was funded by the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India, under its National Mission on Interdisciplinary Cyber-Physical Systems (NMICPS). The initiative aims to put India on par with countries that currently possess such capabilities.
"BharOS Service is a Mobile Operating System built on a foundation of trust, with a focus on providing users more freedom, control, and flexibility to choose and use only the apps that fit their needs. This innovative system promises to revolutionize the way users think about security and privacy on their mobile devices," said Prof. V. Kamakoti, Director, IIT Madras.
BharOS comes with No Default Apps (NDA), which means that users are not forced to use apps that they may not be familiar with or that they may not trust. Additionally, this approach allows users to have more control over the permissions that apps have on their device, as they can choose to only allow apps that they trust to access certain features or data on their device.
"In addition, BharOS offers 'Native Over The Air' (NOTA) updates that can help to keep the devices secure. NOTA updates are automatically downloaded and installed on the device, without the need for the user to manually initiate the process. This ensures that the device is always running the latest version of the operating system, which includes the latest security patches and bug fixes. With NDA, PASS, and NOTA, BharOS ensures that Indian mobile phones are trustworthy," said Mr. Karthik Ayyar, Director, JandK Operations Pvt Ltd.
The BharOS also provides access to trusted apps from organization-specific Private App Store Services (PASS). A PASS provides access to a curated list of apps that have been thoroughly vetted and have met certain security and privacy standards of organizations. This means users can be confident that the apps they are installing are safe to use and have been checked for any potential security vulnerabilities or privacy concerns.