UAE BlackBerry Phone Replacement Feared Loaded With Spyware

Security Researchers has warned all the Blackberry users in UAE to be very careful in dealing with the latest offer of free smartphones replacement of Etisalat. They do believe that these new handsets contain spyware and owners should do a spyware check whatever happens.

Etisalat, UAE’s main mobile operator has offered a free replacement smartphone due to a government order to suspend BlackBerry data services. They were told by government regulators to suspend BlackBerry services including e-mail, Web browsing, instant messaging and social networking from Oct. 11 until the services meet regulations.

“Given the U.A.E.’s past actions, I would advise all recipients of the free phones to do a full wipe on them prior to using them,” said Sheran Gunasekera, director of security at Hermis Consultancy in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Last year, a similar action has been done by Etisalat wherein they offered an update to all of its BlackBerry clients which is actually a spyware. Once users downloaded the “upgrade,” it forwarded the phone’s emails to a central server. It was discovered because the software drained BlackBerry batteries at an excessive rate, in as fast as 30 minutes after a full recharge.

Spyware just can’t penetrate BlackBerry devices that easy. BlackBerry devices are so secure that one of the best ways to get spyware on board is through social engineering, according to Gunasekera. Spyware vendors usually offers this one for free, as a gift or ask users to download a seemingly harmless piece of software which actually carries a spyware.

BlackBerry devices are secure but sometimes users has been the reason why spywares could penetrate it. Extra care should be made most especially in downloading.

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