Middle East Telecom Firm Installs Spyware on Their Customer’s BlackBerry Phones

Speaking of spyware for phones (see my earlier item: Mobile Spy: Spy on an iPhone – But, Where’s the App?)… Here’s an interesting item from the BBC about a major Middle East telecom provider, Etisalat that is reported to have distributed…

UAE Blackberry update was spyware

The BBC reports that Etisalat sent a text message to its BlackBerry toting customers (they have 145,000 BlackBerry users) that said the update provided enhanced performance. However, the update actually installed software that could access information on the BlackBerry and send it back to a central server. Customers noted something problems with their BlackBerry phones after the update started causing problems including reduced battery life, poor reception and non-functional units.

The BBC also reports that the so-called spyware Etisalat sent to its customers was developed by the U.S. based firm SS8. They describe their firm as: SS8 is a leader in communications intercept and a worldwide provider of regulatory compliant, electronic intercept and surveillance solutions. Lawful intercept solutions allow communication service providers to meet regulatory obligations while at the same time enabling law enforcement and intelligence agencies to conduct electronic surveillance.

It will be interesting to see if more develops on this story.