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Fri 17 Jul 2009 12:00 AM

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Etisalat’s patch explanation described as “rubbish”

Experts dismiss operator’s claims that software is intended to aid network performance

Etisalat’s patch explanation described as “rubbish”
Etisalat’s explanation for the upgrade was met with derision from software experts (ITP Business)

A telecom network expert and software programmer have dismissed Etisalat’s claim that the Java-based software it released to its BlackBerry users was designed to aid 2G to 3G handovers as “rubbish” and “completely bogus”.The UAE telecom operator said on Wednesday that the software upgrade “aims to enhance the performance of devices and facilitate handover from 3G to 2G networks”. The statement failed to address claims by software experts that the patch was designed to intercept emails and text messages.

Rudolf Van Der Berg, a telecoms expert based in Holland with experience of implementing telecoms interception and surveillance systems said the statement from Etisalat was “completely bogus”.

Qatar-based Java programmer Nigel Gourlay, who first told CommsMEA that the code gives Etisalat the capability to read emails and text messages sent from BlackBerry devices, described the operator’s claim as “rubbish”.

“You wouldn’t solve handover problems in Java,” Van Der Berg said. “Handover is done by the device, not by some code that is implemented using Java. Java is for applications."

“If you want to solve a problem like the one they are referring to - 2G to 3G handover - then you would address that in the firmware and it would be something that BlackBerry would need to do and not something that Etisalat would have any knowledge of doing.”

Van Der Berg added that if the problem was related to a handset it would be specific to a particular model, and not all devices produced by a manufacturer.

Last year, UK network Orange briefly stopped selling RIM's BlackBerry Bold device after problems relating to its 3G performance. At the time UK operator told the media: "Orange UK and RIM both take customer concerns very seriously and felt it was prudent to introduce a maintenance release of software”.

RIM was not mentioned in Etisalat’s statement, and so far the BlackBerry manufacturer has remained silent, refusing to respond to all questions regarding the patch.

In the statement Etisalat said: “A conflict in the settings in some BlackBerry devices has led to a slight technical fault while upgrading the software of these devices. This has resulted in reduced battery life in a very limited number of devices.”

Etisalat claims that it has received about 300 complaints from a customer base of 145,000 BlackBerry users, and it advises customers who have been affected to call its customer service department “where they will be given instructions on how to restore their handset to its original state”.

The operator says that this will “resolve the issue completely”. At the time of writing, Etisalat had not responded to a request for further information about when or how the apparent 2G to 3G handover problem would be resolved.

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Ralf 11 years ago

...PR wise already one of the biggest disasters, lots of private Blackberry customers might want to change to du where they are not spied on... It will be interesting if Etisalat will continue to fool their customers and get deeper and deeper into the trap of lying in customers faces...

Kayed Al-Haddad 11 years ago

The patch Etisalat sent named Etisalat network upgrade for BlackBerry service and it’s called Registration 4.9100. Now like any software on the BlackBerry device, it has permissions, so for whatever Etisalat may have sent it for is irrelevant. We can stop it from working, this is what you all BlackBerry users must do. 1. Go to options. 2. Advanced options. 3. Applications. 4. Scroll down until you find something called Registration 4.9100. 5. Let the blue highlight be on Registration 4.9100 and press the menu button. 6. Go to and open Edit permissions, you'll find three categories, a) Connections, b) Interactions, c) User Data against all you'll find either allow, default or deny. 7. Turn them all to deny. 8. The system will ask you to reboot, click yes and your problems are solved for ever. Other BlackBerry phones may need to follow the following, 1. Go to options. 2. Applications. 3. Open application and press the menu button. 4. Go to Modules. 5. Scroll down until you find Registration 4.9100. 6. Let the blue highlight be on Registration 4.9100 and press the menu button. 7. Go to and open Edit permissions, you'll find three categories, a) Connections, b) Interactions, c) User Data against all you'll find either allow, default or deny. 8. Turn them all to deny. 9. The system will ask you to reboot, click yes and your problems are solved for ever. Thank you in advance and I hope I was able to assist. Kind regards, Kayed I. Al-Haddad

ali 11 years ago

since etisalat did this i can't open the option icon. anyone can help?

Peter 11 years ago

Thank you Kayed for explaining how to remove the patch, followed your instructions and now appear to have a cool battery and no loss of power. The patch is still there and now wants to reload!! Anyone know how you could delete it completely as it won't allow me to.

Aslam Vakkayil 11 years ago

“You wouldn’t solve handover problems in Java,” Van Der Berg said. “Handover is done by the device, not by some code that is implemented using Java. Java is for applications." i remember etisalat once provided me 'flash (swf)' as some kind of internet patch. lol !!!

Austin 11 years ago

http://na.blackberry.com/eng/ataglance/security/regappremover.jsp

Paul 11 years ago

Why is no one concerned that Etisalat wants to forward copies of all emails to a central server? Who authorized this massive invasion of privacy? Will Etisalat ever eventually own up? Will the authorities be able to restore confidence in the privacy of individuals and companies in the UAE by properly investigating and punishing the person/people responsible? How can business people seriously trust a telco provider that deliberately tries to infect them with spyware? heads must roll

The Other Guy 11 years ago

RIM has posted a statement regarding the 'proposed' patch as well as software to remove the nasty software from phones.