Serious BlackBerry Hack Threat Reported

By | August 8, 2006

Secure Computing warns that organizations that have installed their BlackBerry server behind their gateway security devices could be subject to a hacking attack when security researcher Jesse D´Aguanno is scheduled to release the code for his BlackBerry hack next week.

The soon to be released hacking program called BBProxy can be installed on a BlackBerry or sent as an e-mail attachment to an unsuspecting user. Once installed, BBProxy opens a back channel bypassing the organizations gateway security mechanisms between the hacker and the inside of the victims’ network.

Since the communications channel between the BlackBerry server and handheld device is encrypted and cannot be properly inspected by typical security products, a tunnel is most often opened by the administrator to allow the encrypted communications channel to the BlackBerry server inside the organizations network. A malicious person could potentially use this back channel to move around inside of an organization unabated and remove confidential information undetected or use the back channel to install malware on the network.

Paul Henry, vice president of Strategic Accounts for Secure Computing offers the following common sense network architecture and policy suggestions to reduce the risk of this impending threat:

Servers connecting to the public Internet have an inherent risk. Isolating these Internet facing servers reduces the risk of a compromised server providing access to other critical servers. Hence due diligence would require that any Internet facing server like a BlackBerry server should be isolated on its own DMZ segment.

Only those connections necessary to facilitate the operation of the BlackBerry server should be permitted. The BlackBerry server should not be permitted to open arbitrary connections to the internal network or Internet

The mail server that is working with the BlackBerry server is also an Internet facing server and should also be isolated on it’s own separate DMZ

Only those connections necessary to facilitate the normal operation of the mail server should be permitted. The mail server should not be permitted to open arbitrary connections to the internal network or Internet.

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