Feeds

UAE sees security threat in BlackBerrys

Gulf of confusion

3 Big data security analytics techniques

The United Arab Emirates has decided that BlackBerry handsets constitute a threat to national security, and is considering an outright ban.

The UAE regulator has made explicit its fears, in a statement to local media picked up by the Associated Press, that users might "abuse" the BlackBerry service to place their communication beyond the reach of UAE's police and security forces. BlackBerrys do this by storing email on out-of-country servers, and providing a decent level of server-to-handset encryption.

"As a result of how BlackBerry data is managed and stored ... certain BlackBerry applications allow people to misuse the service, causing serious social, judicial and national security repercussions," said the statement, making it clear that having email "managed by a foreign, commercial organisation" was not acceptable.

This follows last year's comedic attempt by state-owned operator Etisalat to slip spyware onto BlackBerry handsets concealed as a network upgrade. That failed, largely because the spyware was riddled with errors and so poorly obfuscated that even your correspondent was able to find the message-intercepting code.

That attempt seriously annoyed RIM, which felt its reputation was under fire. It also made users wary of downloading updates, so it's hard to imagine that a second attempt would be any more successful.

There are, of course, countless ways to communicate over the internet in a secure fashion, but RIM puts secure communications in the hands of every user by default, and various countries have objected to that over the years.

The UAE's regulator's sabre-rattling statement points out that the BlackBerry went on sale before "safety, emergency and national security legislation" was put into place in 2007, but stopped short of calling for an outright ban immediately – presumably in the hope that if it makes enough noise then RIM will come to the table to make a deal. ®

Top three mobile application threats

More from The Register

next story
Virgin Media so, so SORRY for turning spam fire-hose on its punters
Hundreds of emails flood inboxes thanks to gaffe
A black box for your SUITCASE: Now your lost luggage can phone home – quite literally
Breakfast in London, lunch in NYC, and your clothes in Peru
AT&T threatens to pull out of FCC wireless auctions over purchase limits
Company wants ability to buy more spectrum space in auction
Turnbull leaves Australia's broadband blackspots in the dark
New Statement of Expectations to NBN Co offers get-out clauses for blackspot builds
Facebook claims 100 MEEELLION active users in India
Who needs China when you've got the next billion in your sights?
Facebook splats in-app chat, whacks brats into crack yakety-yak app
Jibber-jabbering addicts turfed out just as Zuck warned
Google looks to LTE and Wi-Fi to help it lube YouTube tubes
Bandwidth hogger needs tube embiggenment if it's to succeed
prev story

Whitepapers

SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.