Facebook has released the updated application for BlackBerry handsets which finally brought Places, the location-based tagging facility to the device, rivalling the popular Foursquare service.
Yet with this, the developers must not have taken into account the BlackBerry Simulation Software, which for all intents and purposes is a fully functional device for the desktop yet purely for simulating the phone and testing applications. It can be used to spoof your Facebook Places and Twitter status locations.
What if you wanted just half an hour's privacy from your partner to buy them the perfect gift? Or how about fooling your friends and appearing somewhere when you physically couldn't be 'for a bit of a laugh'? Why not while you're at it give yourself an alibi to allow you to commit crime? Or skip work for the day and say you're going to the doctors when in fact you're out shopping 20 miles away?
If you have a computer and a social networking account which supports location based features, you can. You don't even need a mobile device.
Gallery To see the step-by-step process, including the installation of the prerequisites and setting everything up, click here. To skip to the good bit and see how to tweak your location settings and fool your friends and followers, click here.
Gratuitous disclaimer As with other 'proof of concepts' out there, this isn't designed in any way to be used for illegal activity. Sure, you could give yourself an alibi for committing crimes, but don't. We here at ZDNet and CBS Interactive do not in any way, shape or form endorse or support the committing of crime (as the lawyers are keen to stress). By all means test it out, but consider the ethical implications of doing this. Hopefully Facebook and BlackBerry will work together to plug this hole so it can't be further used for unethical or illegal reasons.
In short, the process is simple.
By standard, the BlackBerry Simulation Software by standard doesn't allow Internet access, so by installing the MDS (Mobile Data Service) allows data to flow through the simulated device provided the host computer is connected. This then allows you to download and install BlackBerry App World, the catalogue of approved applications which users can buy and download.
By downloading and installing the latest version of Facebook for BlackBerry, this includes Places. Twitter also works provided you have the geolocation feature turned on from the settings on the full web view. ÜberTwitter works, but only if you turn off the ÜberTwitter's installed geolocation helping feature.
You can alter the GPS on the simulated device by going through the menus, allowing you to check yourself into places that you are not present at, or even on the same continent to.
This simulator and Facebook Places was not designed to be abused in this way, but it can be exploited. There are funny and interesting attributes to this exploit, but unfortunately all I can think are the negative ones. I guess it does bring a whole new meaning to the saying, "where do you want to go today"?
That's it; it's as simple as that. Check out the screenshot gallery detailing this entire process here.
Update: I may have just killed Foursquare... whoops.