You'd have to imagine that the birds in Angry Birds are some of the angriest around, but last night, a "friend" of the hacking group Syrian Electronic Army saw it fit to add to their angst. For an undetermined amount of time, an image was plastered on the main Angry Birds site that changed the name to "Spying Birds". For added dramatic effect, an NSA logo was affixed to the lead character.
The Syrian Electronic Army states that the hacker behind this is "anti-NSA", which is of little surprise given the attack. The group announced the attack (as a proxy, apparently) on Twitter, although judging by the comments, it appears that the website went back to normal mere minutes later. Either the SEA delayed its posting in order to have the page remain defaced for as long as possible, or Rovio was really on top of things and noticed the breach immediately.
The reason the attack took place isn't just because the hacker is "anti-NSA", but it's because Rovio has been involved in rumors that state the US government gets information from it, made possible through its games.
In response to this attack, Rovio posted on its website that it doesn't share information with any government agency.
Rovio Entertainment Ltd, which is headquartered in Finland, does not share data, collaborate or collude with any government spy agencies such as NSA or GCHQ anywhere in the world.
There has been speculation in the media that NSA targets Angry Birds to collect end user data. The speculation is based on information from documents leaked by Edward Snowden.
Rovio goes on to state that if any information was gathered while people played its games, it would be the ad networks to blame - the same ad networks used by millions of websites and other games alike.
It further states, "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." That's hard to disagree with, but that doesn't make it less of a problem.
I haven't played a Rovio game in a good while, but given its size, it makes sense to me that the company would manage its own ad network, one where it could ensure no information leaks ever take place. Though admittedly, Rovio going that route wouldn't reduce the risk too much, given no one only plays its games. To truly help the issue, the government would have to step in and enforce it. But, when it's the government itself that wants this information... we're a little out-of-luck.
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