BlackBerry users in the Mideast business centers of Dubai and Abu Dhabi who were directed by their service provider to upgrade their phones were actually installing spy software that could allow outsiders to peer inside, according to the device’s maker.
While many questions about the breach remain unanswered, including who ordered it sent and why, analysts say the disclosure highlights the security risks posed by increasingly popular smart phones like the BlackBerry.
Richard M. Smith, an Internet security and privacy consultant at Boston Software Forensics, said smart phones are ”the perfect personal spying devices” because as tiny computers they can be programmed to send back a broad range of information. […]
Research in Motion Ltd., the Canadian company that makes the mobile gadgets, said in a statement emailed Wednesday that it did not authorize the software installation and ”was not involved in any way in the testing, promotion or distribution of this software application.” It is directing customers on how to remove the software. […]
Smith, the security and privacy consultant, said a data thief tapping into a smart phone in theory could turn on the microphone to listen in on a private conversation, provide a list of previous calls or send back the user’s location.