Warning on hacking threat in BlackBerry

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By  Published  September 1, 2006

A hacking program that can be installed on a BlackBerry device has been created and could already be circulating, Secure Computing has warned.

The BBProxy program can either be installed on the device or sent as an e-mail attachment to an unsuspecting user.

Once installed the BBProxy can open a back channel, which bypasses the organisation’s gateway security mechanism between the hacker and the inside of the victims’ network.

Since the communication channel between the BlackBerry server and handheld device is encrypted and cannot be properly inspected by standard security products, a tunnel is usually opened by the network administrator to allow the encrypted channel to the BlackBerry server inside the organisation's network.

A hacker could use this back channel to move around inside the organisation’s network and to steal confidential information to use the back channel to install malware on the network.

Sami Mulla, director of Secure Computing’s Middle East operations, has offered guidelines to organisations on how to avoid the impending risk of the BBProxy threat.

He warned that servers connected to the public internet are particularly vulnerable to the BBProxy threat and advises that these internet facing servers should be isolated to reduce the risk of a compromised server providing access to other critical servers.

Mulla also stressed that the BlackBerry server should not be permitted to open arbitary connections to the internal network or internet and says that only those connections necessary to facilitate the operation of the BlackBerry server should be allowed.

The mail server that is working with the BlackBerry server is also an internet facing server so should also be isolated on its own separate, neutral, network.

Finally he advises that internal users should not be allowed to open arbitrary connections to either the BlackBerry server or mail server.

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