Friday, January 31, 2014

'Angry Birds' turned into 'Spying Birds' after latest Snowden leak

After being mentioned in the same breath as NSA and GCHQ spying, Rovio (maker of the Angry Birds franchise) found its website hacked briefly on Tuesday. the Angry Birds website was was defaced by hackers, with visitors being greeted by an image depicting Angry Birds game characters along by the caption “Spying Birds.”

The NSA’s logo was also visible in the image, seen above.

The New York Times, ProPublica, and The Guardian reported on Monday that the NSA and the U.K.’s GCHQ have been working together to collect data from what they called leaky” mobile apps. Rovio's Angry Birds was mentioned in the documents, leaked by Edward Snowden.

A 2012 20-page GCHQ report contained the code necessary to extract the profiles generated when Android users play Angry Birds, it was reported. That was enough to anger hackers, although Rovio itself came out quickly and blamed third-party ad networks for the leaks.

On Tuesday, the company issued the following statement, in a press release:
The alleged surveillance may be conducted through third party advertising networks used by millions of commercial websites and mobile applications across all industries. If advertising networks are indeed targeted, it would appear that no internet-enabled device that visits ad-enabled websites 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.
Regarding the defacement, Saara Bergström, vice president of marketing communications at Rovio said:
The defacement was caught in minutes and corrected immediately. The end user data was in no risk at any point.

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