the joys of GSM devices you don't control, part 6438

Andreas Fischer cyberfrag at
Mon Jul 20 10:27:43 CEST 2009

Don't forget similar problems with other handheld devices:

Tom Yates wrote:
> i haven't seen any mention of this on here yet, and it came from the 
> latest SANS newsbytes (v11 n56).  it gave me a grin to think of yet 
> another thing i don't have to worry about as an openmoko user, because my 
> GSM device is entirely under my control, and i can inspect the source for 
> everything i run, if i want to.
>   --Blackberry Update Found to Contain Spyware
> (July 14, 2009)
> A United Arab Emirates service provider pushed out a BlackBerry update
> that contains spyware capable of intercepting users email and text
> messages and sending them back to the server. The
> performance-enhancement patch was sent as a WAP Push message to 100,000
> users. Its spyware capabilities were discovered only after one user took
> a closer look at the update because it appeared to be draining the
> devices battery. The battery was being drained because the application
> was trying to register with a central server that became overwhelmed
> with the traffic, so the devices repeatedly tried to make contact.

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