Intercepting BlackBerry Communication in .NET

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Intercepting BlackBerry Communication
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Most BlackBerrys come equipped with a 3G mobile-data wireless-connectivity interface, such as EvDO. In addition, most have Bluetooth capability and some even have Wi-Fi capability. It is important to realize that these interfaces are actually transmitting data to and from the BlackBerry device. This data could be sensitive and needs to be protected. Not all of these interfaces transmit data in a linear fashion. The data does not go directly from point A to point B. Rather, the data is like a radio wave, transmitting in many different directions and potentially accessible to anyone
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Exploiting BlackBerry Devices
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within range. Think about how dangerous that could be. If a person is using a mobile device in an airport, many people and systems could potentially see what is going to and coming from the device. Figure 3.14 shows how this can take place.
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Anyone within range has the potential to see the data
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Data being transmitted and received by the BlackBerry
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Figure 3.14: Anyone can intercept data transmitted to and from the BlackBerry
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When it comes to intercepting BlackBerry communications, the key is to know the following:
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What is being transmitted and received How it is being transmitted and received How to best control the transmission and reception How to best protect the transmission and reception
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Part II
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How BlackBerrys Are Hacked, and How to Protect Them
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What Data Is Being Transmitted
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BlackBerry devices are capable of transmitting and receiving a bunch of different kinds of data, including the following:
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Email messages Web-page content information SMS messages PIN messages Application data Phone conversations Policies from a BlackBerry Enterprise Server Data being synchronized Layer 2/3 information that provides network connectivity
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Without question, this data can be very sensitive. Enterprise emails can contain proprietary information, and even voice conversations can contain information that should not be made public. The big question now is, how is the data being transmitted
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How Is Data Being Transmitted
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Knowing the manner in which data is being transmitted is critical. Simply guessing that it is being transmitted in a secure manner is simply not good enough. At times, IT needs to make specific configurations or take specific actions to ensure that data in transit is protected. The first step is understanding the different interfaces on the BlackBerry. Commonly, BlackBerrys have the following:
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3G/mobile data wireless connectivity for Internet access Carrier Internet Access Bluetooth Wi-Fi Phone Location (GPS) USB/physical connection
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For the purposes of this section, I am not going to go over the last three interfaces in this list. Detailed information about how this data is communicated over those interfaces is beyond the scope of this section.
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Exploiting BlackBerry Devices
Carrier Internet Access
As I mentioned earlier, my BlackBerry uses EvDO provided via Verizon Wireless. Carrier Internet Access is typically provided to BlackBerrys via the following technologies:
For the purposes of this section, I talk only about EvDO, GSM, and GPRS.
Evolution Data Optimized (EvDO) is an extremely popular mobile wireless broadband service in the United States. As such, and given that BlackBerry devices utilize this technology, it s important to have at least a fundamental understanding of the technology. EvDO is commonly thought of as the next generation of CDMA, which I ll talk about in a minute. While EvDO is available in most major cities in the U.S., there are areas that have not yet upgraded to this new technology. As a result, EvDO interfaces will commonly revert to 1xRT to establish a connection should an EvDO connection not be available. In the U.S., Verizon and Sprint are the main service providers offering EvDO connectivity. I ve used EvDO services from both Verizon and Sprint. Some people have said that there are vastly different experiences in coverage and speeds between the two carriers, but I thought both were pretty darn good. Though I ve been working in technology for quite some time now, I am still amazed that I can be traveling down the highway in a car and be surfing the Internet from a tiny device that sits in the palm of my hand. As data is being transmitted from the BlackBerry device via EvDO, it is being encrypted. This is extremely important you want your data to be encrypted as it leaves the device, as this is when it is most vulnerable. Understanding EvDO encryption can be challenging, and having an in-depth understanding as an IT professional really isn t necessary. It is, however, important to understand the basics: If your CISO comes into your office and asks you why he shouldn t worry about people sniffing EvDO connections, you re going to want to be able to give him an answer, not a blank stare and a shrug. You could just answer the CISO by saying that EvDO utilizes AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) to encrypt the data being transmitted, so he has nothing to worry about. That s true and that simple answer is essentially enough to suffice.