Menu
Hackers deface Angry Birds website following NSA spying claims

Hackers deface Angry Birds website following NSA spying claims

The hackers placed an image with the message 'Spying Birds' on the site's home page

The official Angry Birds website was defaced by hackers following reports that U.S. and U.K. intelligence agencies have been collecting user information from the game and other popular mobile apps.

Some users trying to access the www.angrybirds.com website late Tuesday were greeted by an image depicting the Angry Birds game characters accompanied by the text "Spying Birds." The U.S. National Security Agency's logo was also visible in the image.

The NSA and Britain's Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) have been working together to collect geolocation data, address books, buddy lists, telephone logs and other pieces of information from "leaky" mobile apps, The New York Times reported Monday based on documents provided by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

Mobile apps commonly collect data about their users and share it with advertising networks, which then use the information to build user profiles for targeted advertising.

A secret 20-page GCHQ report from 2012 contained code needed to extract the profiles generated when Android users play Angry Birds, The New York Times reported. It's not clear if and how this data collection happens, but the reports were apparently enough to anger some hackers.

The defacement of the Angry Birds website seems to have been the result of a DNS (Domain Name System) attack where the site's name servers were swapped with others under the attackers' control.

''The defacement was caught in minutes and corrected immediately," said Saara Bergström, vice president of marketing communications at Rovio Entertainment, the Finnish company that develops Angry Birds. "The end user data was in no risk at any point."

Bergström said the attack was similar to the one against The New York Times last year, referring to an incident where attackers pointed the nytimes.com domain to a server they controlled by changing its DNS settings.

Because of how DNS changes propagate on the Internet, the incident was only visible to some users.

In many areas the attack was not visible at all, but in some affected areas it might take time for the correct information to be updated, Bergström said.

This delay is caused by how DNS resolvers -- servers that resolve domain names to IP (Internet Protocol) addresses -- cache records. Some servers might cache the information for a particular domain for a longer time than others, in which case changes won't be visible to users that rely on those servers until the cached record expires.

A copy of the angrybirds.com defacement can be viewed on Zone-H, a website defacement archive. It is attributed to a hacker using the handle Anti-NSA.

Rovio issued a statement Tuesday on its website denying that it collaborates or shares data with any government spy agencies.

"The alleged surveillance may be conducted through third party advertising networks used by millions of commercial web sites and mobile applications across all industries," the company said. "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."

Follow Us

Join the New Zealand Reseller News newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Rovio Entertainmentintrusiononline safetysecurity

Featured

Slideshows

Arrow exclusively introduces Tenable Network Security to A/NZ channel

Arrow exclusively introduces Tenable Network Security to A/NZ channel

Arrow Electronics introduced Tenable Network Security to local resellers in Sydney last week, officially launching the distributor's latest security partnership across Australia and New Zealand. Representing the first direct distribution agreement locally for Tenable specifically, the deal sees Arrow deliver security solutions directly to mid-market and enterprise channel partners on both sides of the Tasman.

Arrow exclusively introduces Tenable Network Security to A/NZ channel
Examining the changing job scene in the Kiwi channel

Examining the changing job scene in the Kiwi channel

Typically, the New Year brings new opportunities for personnel within the Kiwi channel. 2017 started no differently, with a host of appointments, departures and reshuffles across vendor, distributor and reseller businesses. As a result, the job scene across New Zealand has changed - here’s a run down of who is working where in the year ahead…

Examining the changing job scene in the Kiwi channel
​What are the top 10 tech trends for New Zealand in 2017?

​What are the top 10 tech trends for New Zealand in 2017?

Digital Transformation (DX) has been a critical topic for business over the last few years and IDC is now predicting a step change as DX reaches macroeconomic levels. By 2020 a DX economy will emerge and it will become the core of what New Zealand industries focus on. From the board level through to the C-Suite, Kiwi organisations must be prepared to think and act digital when the DX economy emerges in 2017.

​What are the top 10 tech trends for New Zealand in 2017?
Show Comments