Feeds

Angry anti-NSA hackers pwn Angry Birds site after GCHQ data slurp

Developers Rovio blame third-party ad networks for leak

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

Anti-NSA hackers defaced ‪Rovio's official Angry Birds website ‬on Tuesday night as a reprisal against revelations that GCHQ and the NSA were feasting on data leaked from the popular smartphone game.

Spying Birds: Angry Birds defaced by irritated hackers.

Angrybirds.com became "Spying Birds" as a result of the defacement (Zone-h mirror here). Rovio has confirmed the defacement, the International Business Times reports.

The ‪Angrybirds.com ‬website was back to normal by Wednesday morning. The defacement, which Zone-h has yet to confirm is genuine, must have been brief. Defacing a website is an act more akin to scrawling graffiti on a billboard put up by a company than breaking into its premises and ransacking its files.

It's unclear how the defacement was pulled off by a previously unknown hacker or defacement crew using the moniker “Anti-NSA hacker”.

"It’s not clear if Rovio’s web servers were compromised or if the hacker managed to hijack the firm’s DNS records and send visiting computers to a third party site carrying the image instead," writes security industry veteran Graham Cluley.

"Whatever the details of how the hack was perpetrated, it appears to have only been present for a few minutes and the company made its website unavailable for 90 minutes while it confirmed that its systems were now secured," he added.

Files leaked by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden showed the NSA and GCHQ were slurping data from smartphone apps to harvest all manner of personal information from world+dog. This information includes users' locations, their political beliefs and even their sexual preferences. ‪

Angrybirds.com ‬was used as a "case study" in the leaked files, hence the hackers' focus on Rovio – even though a great number of smartphone apps from other developers are involved in the dragnet surveillance program.

Rovio issued a statement in the wake of the revelations stating that it "does not share data, collaborate or collude with any government spy agencies such as NSA or GCHQ anywhere in the world," stating that third-party ad networks may be to blame for the leak.

The alleged surveillance may be conducted through third party advertising networks used by millions of commercial web sites and mobile applications across all industries. If advertising networks are indeed targeted, it would appear that no internet-enabled device that visits ad-enabled web sites or uses ad-enabled applications is immune to such surveillance. Rovio does not allow any third party network to use or hand over personal end-user data from Rovio’s apps.

These arguments cut little ice with privacy activists who pointed out that whether the data leaked from Rovio or ad networks was immaterial: how the companies make their money and deliver their technology makes little difference in practice for users of their popular games because the end result is the same.

"The online advertising industry weakens Internet security, and has created pathways for hackers and gov agencies to exploit," said Christopher Soghoian, principal technologist of the speech, privacy & technology project at the American Civil Liberties Union, in an update to his personal Twitter account. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
14 antivirus apps found to have security problems
Vendors just don't care, says researcher, after finding basic boo-boos in security software
'Things' on the Internet-of-things have 25 vulnerabilities apiece
Leaking sprinklers, overheated thermostats and picked locks all online
iWallet: No BONKING PLEASE, we're Apple
BLE-ding iPhones, not NFC bonkers, will drive trend - marketeers
Only '3% of web servers in top corps' fully fixed after Heartbleed snafu
Just slapping a patched OpenSSL on a machine ain't going to cut it, we're told
How long is too long to wait for a security fix?
Synology finally patches OpenSSL bugs in Trevor's NAS
Israel's Iron Dome missile tech stolen by Chinese hackers
Corporate raiders Comment Crew fingered for attacks
Tor attack nodes RIPPED MASKS off users for 6 MONTHS
Traffic confirmation attack bared users' privates - but to whom?
Roll out the welcome mat to hackers and crackers
Security chap pens guide to bug bounty programs that won't fail like Yahoo!'s
Researcher sat on critical IE bugs for THREE YEARS
VUPEN waited for Pwn2Own cash while IE's sandbox leaked
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.