Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Risk

2/10/2010
09:07 AM
George V. Hulme
George V. Hulme
Commentary
50%
50%

Blackberry Users Vulnerable to Applications That Spy

In early December news broke about a security researcher who developed Spyphone, an application that uses the public iPhone API to grab data from other iPhone applications. This week a security researcher demonstrated a similar application that snoops on the Blackberry.

In early December news broke about a security researcher who developed Spyphone, an application that uses the public iPhone API to grab data from other iPhone applications. This week a security researcher demonstrated a similar application that snoops on the Blackberry.Tyler Shields, senior researcher for the application security company Veracode, gave a presentation at ShmooCon 2010 earlier this week that may cause Blackberry owners to double-check what applications they choose to download and install.

Shields demonstrated, using only RIM-provided APIs and without leveraging any Blackberry vulnerabilities or software exploits, how an application can be created to pry into just about anything a cyber-snoop would want: eavesdrop on discussions taking place around the phone, grab phone location data, tap text messages, grab contacts, etc.

The only challenge for the attacker would be enticing the user to download and install the application. Frankly, that's not too difficult for attackers to do, generally.

Plenty of people could be tricked into installing a utility, or a game, not knowing they also downloaded an app that could be used to spy on them. However, it is much more difficult to launch targeted attacks using such spyware. It is much easier to get many users to download an application, than it is to get someone specific to download a specific application (at least without drawing suspicion).

Veracode and Shields also released the source code to what it calls txsBBSpy.

The capabilities sound eerily familiar to that iPhone spyware proof-of-concept we mentioned earlier, and wrote about here.

I can't predict when, but now that smartphones are growing near ubiquitous in wealthy nations, it's just a matter of time before cybercriminals start considering these platforms as serious targets.

In response to Shield's presentation, RIM issued the statement below:

Applications containing spyware cannot be installed on a BlackBerry smartphone without the user's explicit consent unless of course someone else gains physical possession of the user's device along with knowledge of any enabled password. Although it is important for users of all types of computers and mobile devices to always exercise caution before downloading apps, it is also important to understand the context in which the risk of this spyware was described at the conference on Sunday and that the spyware app cannot simply install itself stealthily on to a user's device. Further, a user can review and confirm the list of installed apps on their device by looking in the "Options" area at any time.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
COVID-19: Latest Security News & Commentary
Dark Reading Staff 9/25/2020
9 Tips to Prepare for the Future of Cloud & Network Security
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  9/28/2020
Attacker Dwell Time: Ransomware's Most Important Metric
Ricardo Villadiego, Founder and CEO of Lumu,  9/30/2020
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
Special Report: Computing's New Normal
This special report examines how IT security organizations have adapted to the "new normal" of computing and what the long-term effects will be. Read it and get a unique set of perspectives on issues ranging from new threats & vulnerabilities as a result of remote working to how enterprise security strategy will be affected long term.
Flash Poll
How IT Security Organizations are Attacking the Cybersecurity Problem
How IT Security Organizations are Attacking the Cybersecurity Problem
The COVID-19 pandemic turned the world -- and enterprise computing -- on end. Here's a look at how cybersecurity teams are retrenching their defense strategies, rebuilding their teams, and selecting new technologies to stop the oncoming rise of online attacks.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2019-20902
PUBLISHED: 2020-10-01
Upgrading Crowd via XML Data Transfer can reactivate a disabled user from OpenLDAP. The affected versions are from before version 3.4.6 and from 3.5.0 before 3.5.1.
CVE-2019-20903
PUBLISHED: 2020-10-01
The hyperlinks functionality in atlaskit/editor-core in before version 113.1.5 allows remote attackers to inject arbitrary HTML or JavaScript via a Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) vulnerability in link targets.
CVE-2020-25288
PUBLISHED: 2020-09-30
An issue was discovered in MantisBT before 2.24.3. When editing an Issue in a Project where a Custom Field with a crafted Regular Expression property is used, improper escaping of the corresponding form input's pattern attribute allows HTML injection and, if CSP settings permit, execution of arbitra...
CVE-2020-25781
PUBLISHED: 2020-09-30
An issue was discovered in file_download.php in MantisBT before 2.24.3. Users without access to view private issue notes are able to download the (supposedly private) attachments linked to these notes by accessing the corresponding file download URL directly.
CVE-2020-25830
PUBLISHED: 2020-09-30
An issue was discovered in MantisBT before 2.24.3. Improper escaping of a custom field's name allows an attacker to inject HTML and, if CSP settings permit, achieve execution of arbitrary JavaScript when attempting to update said custom field via bug_actiongroup_page.php.