Risk
7/21/2009
12:55 PM
Connect Directly
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

RIM Scrubs Spyware From UAE BlackBerrys

Users complained a firmware update -- unauthorized by RIM -- had led to decreased battery life and system crashes.

Research In Motion has issued a fix for a firmware update by a United Arab Emirates carrier that potentially enabled the cellular service provider to spy on its BlackBerry users.

The carrier Etisalat has over 145,000 BlackBerry users on its network, and it offered these customers an over-the-air software update a few weeks ago that was aimed at improving performance. Users complained the update had negative impacts on the handset, and it led to decreased battery life, as well as system crashes.

The update was identified as a mobile application developed by SS8, which specializes in electronic surveillance and law enforcement products. RIM said this app is a telecommunication surveillance program that could potentially allow unauthorized access to data on the handset, including e-mails, and personal information.

"The Etisalat update is not a RIM-authorized update and was not developed by RIM," the BlackBerry-maker said in a note to customers. "Independent sources have concluded that the Etisalat update is not designed to improve performance of your BlackBerry handheld, but rather to send messages back to a central server."

In a statement last week, Etisalat said the issues with handsets were minor technical issues, and that the "upgrades were required for service enhancements." The mobile operator also said the update was needed to help ease the transition from 2G to 3G networks. BlackBerry users on rival Du's network have not faced the same issues.

BlackBerry users on Etisalat's network can go to RIM's Web site to download software that will remove the surveillance application.


Most companies are just starting the hard work of mobilizing workforces by bringing the software they use to smartphones. InformationWeek analyzed this issue in an independent report, and it can be downloaded here (registration required).

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
Partner Perspectives
What's This?
In a digital world inundated with advanced security threats, Intel Security seeks to transform how we live and work to keep our information secure. Through hardware and software development, Intel Security delivers robust solutions that integrate security into every layer of every digital device. In combining the security expertise of McAfee with the innovation, performance, and trust of Intel, this vision becomes a reality.

As we rely on technology to enhance our everyday and business life, we must too consider the security of the intellectual property and confidential data that is housed on these devices. As we increase the number of devices we use, we increase the number of gateways and opportunity for security threats. Intel Security takes the “security connected” approach to ensure that every device is secure, and that all security solutions are seamlessly integrated.
Featured Writers
White Papers
Cartoon
Current Issue
Dark Reading's October Tech Digest
Fast data analysis can stymie attacks and strengthen enterprise security. Does your team have the data smarts?
Flash Poll
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2013-7407
Published: 2014-10-22
Cross-site request forgery (CSRF) vulnerability in the MRBS module for Drupal allows remote attackers to hijack the authentication of unspecified victims via unknown vectors.

CVE-2014-3675
Published: 2014-10-22
Shim allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service (out-of-bounds read) via a crafted DHCPv6 packet.

CVE-2014-3676
Published: 2014-10-22
Heap-based buffer overflow in Shim allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary code via a crafted IPv6 address, related to the "tftp:// DHCPv6 boot option."

CVE-2014-3677
Published: 2014-10-22
Unspecified vulnerability in Shim might allow attackers to execute arbitrary code via a crafted MOK list, which triggers memory corruption.

CVE-2014-3828
Published: 2014-10-22
Multiple SQL injection vulnerabilities in Centreon 2.5.1 and Centreon Enterprise Server 2.2 allow remote attackers to execute arbitrary SQL commands via (1) the index_id parameter to views/graphs/common/makeXML_ListMetrics.php, (2) the sid parameter to views/graphs/GetXmlTree.php, (3) the session_id...

Best of the Web
Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
Follow Dark Reading editors into the field as they talk with noted experts from the security world.