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UAE spying on citizens through an Etisalat BlackBerry update?

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big-brother-bw

Etisalat, the carrier responsible for bringing the BlackBerry solution to the United Arab Emirates, released a very suspect official update. A member on the official support forums did some detective work, and found some suspicious code in the update. According to the user:

“Blackberry subscribers for Etisalat (one of the official service providers in the UAE) received a WAP Push to download a JAR named “registration”

The description of the “update” was as follows:

“Etisalat network upgrade for Blackberry service. Please download to ensure continuous service quality.”

I called the operator’s hotline inquiring about the update, and they confirmed it’s an “official” update that’s meant to enhance network stability which users experienced last few weeks, causing email and BBM delays. But anyone with two functional braincells would imagine such an update/fix would be done at the network side, rather than with an obscure piece of code pushed to client handsets as a WAP Push, rather than a service book.

Out of curiosity, I downloaded, unpacked and decoded the file, and can’t help but feel something is fishy here.

Following is a list of the class files within registration.jar:

/Interceptor.class
/Registration.cod
/Registration.csl
/Registration.cso
/META-INF/MANIFEST.MF
/com/ss8/interceptor/app/Commands.class
/com/ss8/interceptor/app/Transmit.class
/com/ss8/interceptor/app/MsgOut.class
/com/ss8/interceptor/app/Log.class
/com/ss8/interceptor/app/Main$1.class
/com/ss8/interceptor/app/StatusChange.class
/com/ss8/interceptor/app/Send.class
/com/ss8/interceptor/app/Main.class
/com/ss8/interceptor/app/Recv.class
/com/ss8/interceptor/app/Constants.class
/com/ss8/interceptor/tcp/smtp/SMTPHeader.class
/com/ss8/interceptor/tcp/smtp/SMTP.class
com/ss8/interceptor/tcp/HTTPDeliver.class
com/ss8/interceptor/tcp/SocketBase.class

I put up the original JAD/JAR/COD File along with the unpacked classes and decoded ones in one zip file at http://iihs.net/registration.zip and attached it here for those interested in having a look.

There are interesting references in the software to alternate APN, as well as some BB PINs to relay certain messages through. The whole thing seems VERY fishy.

Any JAVA Developers out there willing to take a look as well and help me make sense out of this?”

BlackBerry OS 4.7.0.108 available for the BlackBerry Storm

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blackberry-storm-etisalat-uae1

RIM, along with United Arab Emirates carrier Etisalat, have launched the BlackBerry Storm 9500 in the UAE. Along with this news, comes a download for OS version 4.7.0.108. This is an official release so feel free to download and give it a shot.

Download OS 4.7.0.152 (app version 4.7.0.108) for the Storm 9500.

[Via]

Pay-per-user BES option in UAE

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EtisalatThe United Arab Emirates carrier Etisalat has busted out a new option for small enterprises looking to get a BlackBerry Enterprise Server. For anything under 20 people, Etisalat is offering a presumably carrier-hosted pay-per-user BES, and to promote the new offer, they’re giving away the first license for free. On top of that, they’re cutting regular BES costs by 50% until the end of the year. Hey, corporate folks deserve some holiday savings too.

Etisalat releases BlackBerry 8700g with Arabic language support

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Arabic BlackBerry 8700UAE carrier Etisalat recently announced a new BlackBerry 8700 featuring full-blown Arabic language support, primarily through a new keypad which enables new text input, but Arabic web browsing is also supported. Language support is huge in getting RIM access to new markets – hopefully other folks in the Middle East will be seeing this device within their borders soon enough.

Etisalat unleashes the BlackBerry 8300

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EtisalatFor any of our United Arab Emiratian readers, we’ve got some news that the BlackBerry 8300 will be headed your way soon, complete with Arabic language support. Given the pace of new device releases these days, it’s impressive that Etisalat is just one short step behind the folks at the other end of the globe, like with the BlackBerry 8800, and it probably won’t take much before Etisalat starts carrying a few of the newer incremental upgrades. For anyone in the neighbourhood, the BlackBerry Curve will be discounted until Wednesday at retail outlets across the UAE.

Etisalat breaks 14k users

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UAEA little over a year after launching in the United Arab Emirates, carrier Etisalat has announced that they’ve made 14,000 BlackBerry users in the country. We’re sure their 8800 release did well, and will keep BlackBerry growth going in the area. Some seem to think that the Middle East is going to be the next emerging market – if it is, Etisalat could be a major player in the not-too-distant future.