Etisalat's Trojan BlackBerries
July 15, 2009 7:55 AM Subscribe
UAE phone company pushes BlackBerry update with embedded spyware.
posted by acb (31 comments total)
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The United Arab Emirates phone company Etisalat
recently sent out a firmware update to its BlackBerry-using customers, billed as a “performance enhancement patch”. After customers reported the patch degrading their handsets' performance and draining their batteries more rapidly, a programmer examined it and found that it contained spyware from a US company
, which could be remotely activated to forward all emails and text messages to a third-party server.
It is not clear who is behind the spyware. It could be the Emirati government plugging a hole in its surveillance capabilities (it is not clear whether BlackBerry emails are kept anywhere where the Emirati government can reach them). Alternatively, there are probably a lot of people in Dubai, from Iranian dissidents to radical Islamist fixers to ordinary dubious businessmen, who would be of interest to various parties across the world.