Feeds

BlackBerry hacking peril exposed

Blackjacking circumvents corporate defences

Security for virtualized datacentres

A hacking program, due to be released next week, will demonstrate how to use a connection from BlackBerry devices to potentially bypass enterprise security defences.

Jesse D'Aguanno, director of security research at German firm Praetorian Global, gave a presentation on how to use the BlackBerry environment to circumvent perimeter defenses and directly attack hosts on a corporate intranet at last week's DefCon conference in Vegas. The demo included a live presentation. Next week D'Aguanno plans to release source code for BBProxy, the tool used to conduct the attack, which he describes as "Blackjacking".

BBProxy can be installed on a BlackBerry or sent in an email attachments to potential targets. The code can be hidden in something apparently innocuous such as a naughts and crosses game, D'Aguanno suggests. Once activated, BBProxy opens a covert channel between hackers and compromised hosts on improperly secured corporate networks. The communications channel between the BlackBerry server and handheld device is encrypted and cannot be properly inspected by typical security products.

D'Aguanno said that he's publishing information about the attack, along with details on possible defences, in order to highlight the dangers of treating BlackBerry environments as more secure than external connections from corporate laptops. Other security experts, along with Research In Motion, the supplier of BlackBerry devices and associated enterprise server products, stress the need to establish properly segmented networks to defend against such attacks.

Paul Henry, vice president at net security firm Secure Computing, commented: "Servers connecting to the public internet have an inherent risk. Isolating these Internet facing servers reduces the risk of a compromised server providing access to other critical servers. Hence due diligence would require that any internet facing server like a BlackBerry server should be isolated [behind a firewall] on its own DMZ segment.

"Only those connections necessary to facilitate the operation of the BlackBerry server should be permitted. The BlackBerry server should not be permitted to open arbitrary connections to the internal network or internet. The mail server that is working with the BlackBerry server... should also be isolated on it’s own separate DMZ," he added.

RIM is playing down the risk of the attack demonstrated by D'Aguanno by saying that network administrators can deny users the ability to run third-party applications, such as games sent by email, the main vector for attack suggested by D'Aguanno. The firm has published guidelines on how to defend BlackBerry environments against compromise on the security segment of its BlackBerry website here. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
JINGS! Microsoft Bing called Scots indyref RIGHT!
Redmond sporran metrics get one in the ten ring
Driving with an Apple Watch could land you with a £100 FINE
Bad news for tech-addicted fanbois behind the wheel
Murdoch to Europe: Inflict MORE PAIN on Google, please
'Platform for piracy' must be punished, or it'll kill us in FIVE YEARS
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Sony says year's losses will be FOUR TIMES DEEPER than thought
Losses of more than $2 BILLION loom over troubled Japanese corp
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Why Oracle CEO Larry Ellison had to go ... Except he hasn't
Silicon Valley's veteran seadog in piratical Putin impression
Big Content Australia just blew a big hole in its credibility
AHEDA's research on average content prices did not expose methodology, so appears less than rigourous
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.