A simple update (or so we thought) for Etisalat BlackBerry users over in the United Arab Emirates may not have been what it appeared to be. The update arrived on customers’ handsets via text message, and urged the install for ‘improved performance’. However, after install many BlackBerry users started experiencing crashes and reduced battery life. This urged some investigation into the issue by RIM… and here’s what they’ve found:
“Etisalat appears to have distributed a telecommunications surveillance application… independent sources have concluded that it is possible that the installed software could then enable unauthorised access to private or confidential information stored on the user’s smartphone. Independent sources have concluded that the Etisalat update is not designed to improve performance of your BlackBerry Handheld, but rather to send received messages back to a central server.”
Not cool. Spying huh? Yep, not cool. What we know now is that the update installed an app developed by an American company called SS8 (check out their website…).
This all sounds fishy, and Etisalat has not commented directly on the issue as of yet. All they’ve noted thus far is problems users are experiencing are because of a ‘small technical fault’… and that this update was ‘required for service enhancements’. Explain yourself Etisalat. Please.