Feeds

BlackBerry on the brink: Security kink sinks rinky-dink Link sync in a blink

Update your mobe's desktop software, then have a drink

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

Hapless BlackBerry has told users to update its software on their Mac OS X and Windows computers following the disclosure of a fairly serious security flaw.

The Canadian handset maker said the vulnerability exists in selected versions of its freely available Link application – a program that allows you to transfer files between your BlackBerry mobes and an Apple or Microsoft-powered computer. Users are urged to upgrade to the latest available builds, which are not vulnerable to the discovered blunder.

The flaw stems from the fact that Link provides access to the user's files via a WebDAV server that can be accessed over the network and yet doesn't perform any authentication checks. This clears the way for an attacker, under certain conditions, to elevate their login privileges and run arbitrary commands by tricking another user into clicking on a specially crafted web link or visiting a malicious web page.

More details on how the WebDAV file server can be exploited remotely can be found here, on the personal blog of Google security researcher Tavis Ormandy, who reported the flaw to BlackBerry. Ollie Whitehouse also separately alerted BlackBerry to the cockup.

BlackBerry said that in addition to updating the Link software to a patched release, users and administrators can apply certain mitigation techniques to guard against exploitation of the flaws. Those tips include removing the remote file sharing directory in Link.

According to recent analyst reports, the number of people who will need to install a Link update could be as low as it has ever been. Researchers at IDC estimated that 1.7 per cent of smartphones sold last quarter ran a BlackBerry OS.

For the admins whose companies who still run the BlackBerry platform, an update for BlackBerry Link will pile on to what has already been a heavy load of security patches this week. Along with Microsoft's Patch Tuesday bundle, Adobe pitched a set of fixes for its ubiquitous Flash Player tool as well as the ColdFusion application server. ®

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

More from The Register

next story
Mozilla fixes CRITICAL security holes in Firefox, urges v31 upgrade
Misc memory hazards 'could be exploited' - and guess what, one's a Javascript vuln
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
How long is too long to wait for a security fix?
Synology finally patches OpenSSL bugs in Trevor's NAS
Don't look, Snowden: Security biz chases Tails with zero-day flaws alert
Exodus vows not to sell secrets of whistleblower's favorite OS
Roll out the welcome mat to hackers and crackers
Security chap pens guide to bug bounty programs that won't fail like Yahoo!'s
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
Researcher sat on critical IE bugs for THREE YEARS
VUPEN waited for Pwn2Own cash while IE's sandbox leaked
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.