Feeds

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

Developers Rovio blame third-party ad networks for leak

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

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. ®

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

More from The Register

next story
BMW's ConnectedDrive falls over, bosses blame upgrade snafu
Traffic flows up 20% as motorway middle lanes miraculously unclog
LibreSSL RNG bug fix: What's all the forking fuss about, ask devs
Blow to bit-spitter 'tis but a flesh wound, claim team
Mozilla fixes CRITICAL security holes in Firefox, urges v31 upgrade
Misc memory hazards 'could be exploited' - and guess what, one's a Javascript vuln
Putin: Crack Tor for me and I'll make you a MILLIONAIRE
Russian Interior Ministry offers big pile o' roubles for busting pro-privacy browser
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
Don't look, Snowden: Security biz chases Tails with zero-day flaws alert
Exodus vows not to sell secrets of whistleblower's favorite OS
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

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
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.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
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.