Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT Madras)-incubated company has developed an indigenous mobile operating system (MOS) that will benefit users requiring confidential communications. Called ‘BharOS,’ the software can be installed on commercial off-the-shelf handsets. It provides a secure environment for users and is a significant contribution towards ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’.

BharOS Services are currently being provided to companies where users are sensitive information that requires confidential communications on restricted apps on mobiles. It enables the use of trusted apps to access private cloud services via private 5G networks, says a release.

Control over apps

The BharOS was developed by JandK Operations Pvt Ltd (JandKops), which has been incubated by IIT Madras Pravartak Technologies Foundation, a Section 8 (not for profit) company established by IIT Madras. It was founded by the Department of Science and Technology under its National Mission on Interdisciplinary Cyber-Physical Systems.

BharOS comes with no default apps. This 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.

V Kamakoti, Director, IIT Madras, said today is a defining moment for the institute. There is an imminent need for everybody that all electronic gadgets that are used are secured. BharOS Service is 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. The institute will work with many more private industries, government agencies, strategic agencies and telecom service providers to increase the usage and adoption of BharOS, he said.

Karthik Ayyar, Director, JandK Operations Pvt Ltd, said the start-up that developed this MOS, said that 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.”

Privacy standards

BharOS provides access to trusted apps from organisation-specific private app store services (PASS). This provides access to a curated list of apps that have been thoroughly vetted and have met certain security and privacy standards of organisations. 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, he said.