1. _StOrmShAdOw_'s Avatar
    not sure if this was posted already

    There's not much in the way of official statements on this one just yet, but itp.net is reporting that a recently pushed out update for all BlackBerry users on the UAE-based carrier Etisalat is not a "performance enhancement patch" as advertised, but rather some spyware that could potentially give Etisalat the ability to keep an eye on its customers' messages. The first suspicions about the update apparently arose when users noticed dramatically reduced battery life and slower than usual performance from their phones, which led to a bit of detective work from programmer Nigel Gourlay, who pegged the software down as coming from electronic surveillance company SS8. While it's not switched on by default, the software can reportedly let Etisalat flip the switch on phones one by one and monitor their emails and text messages -- or it could if it hadn't completely bogged down the network. Apparently, the software wasn't designed for such a large scale deployment, which resulted in the slowdown and battery drain as some 100,000 BlackBerrys constantly tried and failed to sign in to the one registration server for the software.
    BlackBerry update in UAE reportedly surveillance software in disguise
    08-10-09 07:12 PM
  2. davidnyc's Avatar
    Yep, it was posted a while back. Very scary, but I'm glad it was buggy so that people realized what was going on before it was too late.
    08-11-09 03:31 PM
  3. Arelunde's Avatar
    Just received this email, but the update is a "4.7" and not model specific. Have a Tour, which is already a Raised suspicions so didn't download. Is this the red herring you are referring to? PS - Another oddity in this email is that, when read from the BB, the website addresses aren't links.

    Here's what the email said (a complete copy from the email I received, without the artwork. of course. Looks very official BB):

    For best results, please view this message from your desktop computer.

    BlackBerry Device Software
    Update Notification

    What else can your BlackBerry® smartphone do for you?

    Find out when you update to the latest smartphone software! This free update is ready and waiting to help you do more with your BlackBerry smartphone. Update today.

    New ways to work and play!

    * Your BlackBerry device can now render HTML Rich Content email messages, including embedded images, external images, font formatting, paragraph formatting, and more. * You can edit and format Microsoft® Word files (97 – 2003) using Dataviz™ Documents To Go. If you use a reduced keypad device, Documents to Go also provides support for the SureType and Multitap typing input methods * When you add a new meeting request, you can now check attendee availability for the day of the meeting and one week into the future. You can also check the availability of attendees for existing meetings. * If you use a BlackBerry® Pearl™ 8100 Series device, a BlackBerry® Curve™ 8300 Series device, or a BlackBerry® 8800 Series device, when you create a new playlist, you can now specify criteria that your device uses to automatically generate a playlist. * If you use a BlackBerry Curve 8300 Series device and you have a media card in your device, you can now record a video on your device. Note: Some features are available only if your device is associated with an email account that uses a BlackBerry® Enterprise Server that supports the feature. For a complete list of all new features, contact your wireless service provider or administrator. For more information about specific features, click Help on your device..
    Get the most advanced BlackBerry Device Software to keep your BlackBerry smartphone performing at its best. Update Now.

    Recently changed your BlackBerry smartphone? If you are viewing this message from your BlackBerry browser, you can automatically update your device information when you visit here.

    Research In Motion

    Research In Motion • 295 Phillip Street • Waterloo, Ontario • Canada • N2L 3W8
    © 2008 Research In Motion Limited. All rights reserved. BlackBerry®, RIM®, Research In Motion®, SureType® and related trademarks, names and logos are the property of Research In Motion Limited and are registered and/or used in the U.S. and countries around the world.
    You have received this message by opting-in to receive news and information about BlackBerry products and services from Research In Motion. To unsubscribe click here. Research In Motion, 295 Phillip St., Waterloo, ON, Canada, N2L 3W8.
    08-11-09 04:08 PM
  4. SConnick's Avatar
    VERY suspicious getting a message "from RIM" in August 2009 with a copyright date of 2008 on the bottom.

    Something's not quite right there, no doubt...
    08-11-09 06:17 PM
  5. thegreatr1's Avatar
    I downloaded the update (prior to reading these comments) and cannot get anything to work properly on my phone now. The only thing working right is the call feature. Any idea what is going on!?
    08-11-09 07:25 PM
  6. John Yester's Avatar
    07-26-10 09:17 AM