January 12, 2011, 12:11 PM — BlackBerry-maker Research In Motion (RIM) yesterday issued two separate security advisories warning both BlackBerry smartphone users and corporate BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) administrators of newly discovered security flaws in many versions of RIM's BlackBerry handheld software and in BES.
The first advisory applies to BlackBerry smartphone users, and it warns of what RIM is calling a "partial Denial of Service (Dos)" attack, in which websites with hidden malicious code could potential freeze up users' BlackBerry Browsers and render them unable to surf the Web until the browser either restarts itself or the device is rebooted.
"This advisory relates to a BlackBerry Device Software vulnerability that could allow an attacker to maliciously craft a web page such that, when the BlackBerry device user views the page on a device running the affected BlackBerry Device Software, the browser application becomes unresponsive....Successful exploitation of this issue relies on the user viewing the maliciously crafted web page on a device running the affected BlackBerry Device Software."
The flaw ranks as "medium" severity on the Common Vulnerability Scoring System (CVSS), and RIM says it has issued updated BlackBerry handheld software to solve the problem. The vulnerability doesn't exactly require an urgent fix since the worse that will happen is an affected user's browser might freeze up. But RIM says any and all BlackBerry users running handheld software version 5.0.0 to 6.0.0 should check their wireless carrier's websites or BlackBerry.com for software updates. BlackBerry handheld software prior to v5.0.0 is not supported and software newer than v6.0.0 is not affected, according to RIM.
(Note: Even if RIM has pushed software updates to wireless carriers to address the issue, it often takes those carriers time to examine and approve the software. If no update is currently available for your device, and you find your browser freezing up, RIM suggests simply waiting until the problem resolves itself or resetting your BlackBerry by removing its battery.)
The last major BlackBerry-Browser-related security flaw identified by RIM was in September of 2009.