Feeds

RIM tells users of bloodied BlackBerry to disable JavaScript

More Pwn2Own fallout

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

Research in Motion has suggested BlackBerry users disable JavaScript to protect themselves against a critical vulnerability that allows attackers to remotely execute malicious code and access confidential data stored on the phone.

Monday's unusual recommendation came four days after contestants in an annual hacking competition exposed a serious security vulnerability in a fully patched BlackBerry Torch 9800. By exploiting a bug in the phone's web browser, they were able to write a file to its storage system and steal a complete list of contacts and a cache of pictures stored on the device.

“Users of BlackBerry Device Software version 6.0 and later can disable the use of JavaScript in the BlackBerry Browser to prevent exploitation of the vulnerability,” RIM said in the advisory. “The issue is not in JavaScript but the use of JavaScript is necessary to exploit the vulnerability.”

RIM warned that disabling JavaScript may result in a “diminished browsing experience.” Exploits don't allow access to email and other personal information on the BlackBerry file system, RIM said.

Unlike Apple's iPhone and Microsoft's Windows 7 Mobile, the BlackBerry doesn't come with ASLR, or address space layout randomization, which makes it hard for attackers to predict the memory locations of their malicious payloads, according to the hacking contestants, who claimed $15,000 in prize money for their exploit. The RIM smartphones also lack another protection known as data execution prevention and offer only a rudimentary security sandbox to isolate apps from more sensitive parts of the OS, they said.

RIM frequently markets the BlackBerry as a safer smartphone alternative that makes them more suitable for corporate networks, where security is at a premium.

The integer overflow that felled the BlackBerry was found in Webkit, the same browser rendering engine used in both the iPhone and smartphones that run on Google's Android operating system.

Members of RIM's security team are “investigating the issue to determine the best resolution for protecting” users. Affected models include the Torch 9800, Bold 9700, Bold 9650, Curve 9300, and Pearl 9100. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Webcam hacker pervs in MASS HOME INVASION
You thought you were all alone? Nope – change your password, says ICO
You really need to do some tech support for Aunty Agnes
Free anti-virus software, expires, stops updating and p0wns the world
Meet OneRNG: a fully-open entropy generator for a paranoid age
Kiwis to seek random investors for crowd-funded randomiser
USB coding anarchy: Consider all sticks licked
Thumb drive design ruled by almighty buck
Attack reveals 81 percent of Tor users but admins call for calm
Cisco Netflow a handy tool for cheapskate attackers
Privacy bods offer GOV SPY VICTIMS a FREE SPYWARE SNIFFER
Looks for gov malware that evades most antivirus
Patch NOW! Microsoft slings emergency bug fix at Windows admins
Vulnerability promotes lusers to domain overlords ... oops
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence
Download Choosing a Cloud Hosting Provider with Confidence to learn more about cloud computing - the new opportunities and new security challenges.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.