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New reports about RIM’s future and a security threat surface

by David Needle

January 13 2012

What a week it’s been for the struggling BlackBerry maker. While it successfully showcased its latest products, including a preview of the long-awaited PlayBook 2.0 software, at a giant booth at CES, a news report suggested RIM might be for sale, while another detailed a potential security threat.

As Research In Motion wraps up a busy week today at the Consumer Electronics Show reports have surfaced of a security threat to its PlayBook tablet. A separate story details rumors the Canadian mobile giant has hired investment banker Goldman Sachs to explore strategic options, fueling earlier reports the company is for sale. Shares in RIM rose yesterday almost four percent on Goldman Sachs rumor, though it gave back some of those gains today. 

Fox Business called the Goldman Sachs rumor “market speculation” and noted that analysts have largely downplayed the chances of RIM being sold because there aren’t any “natural buyers.” Also, RIM’s management has said its focused on turning the company around, not selling it. 

While RIM hasn't commented on the Goldman Sachs rumor it did respond to the alleged security threat. 

ThreatPost, a Kaspersky Lab security news site said researchers with the Intrepidus Group uncovered weaknesses in the PlayBook tablet, including one that enables an attacker to listen in on the connection between the tablet and a BlackBerry handset. That connection, which is done via Bluetooth in the company's Bridge application, is designed to allow users to access their corporate email, calendar and other data on the tablet. 

The researchers announced their findings at the Infiltrate Security Conference in Miami this week. 

But the ThreatPost report also includes a statement from RIM which essentially says the company has already been dealt with the issue.

“The BlackBerry PlayBook issue described at the Infiltrate security conference has been resolved with BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.0, which is scheduled to be available as a free download to customers in February 2012,” RIM said. “There are no known exploits, and risk is mitigated by the fact that a user would need to install and run a malicious application after initiating a BlackBerry Bridge connection with their BlackBerry smartphone.”

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