THE ANGRY BIRDS WEBSITE was defaced last night as the firm scurried to clear up controversy over whether it lets the US National Security Agency (NSA) and UK GCHQ snoop on its players' nests.
Angry Birds and its developer Rovio were pulled into the NSA surveillance scandal yesterday after documents revealed by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden suggested that the game was used by the NSA and GCHQ to obtain personal information and profile players.
There was a shocked reaction to this, and the game was criticised for being easy to exploit.
Hoping to cool the controversy Rovio released a statement that claime it has no arrangement with any intelligence agencies anywhere.
Rovio CEO Mikael Hed said, "Our fans' trust is the most important thing for us and we take privacy extremely seriously. We do not collaborate, collude, or share data with spy agencies anywhere in the world.
"As the alleged surveillance might be happening through third party advertising networks, the most important conversation to be had is how to ensure user privacy is protected while preventing the negative impact on the whole advertising industry and the countless mobile apps that rely on ad networks."
"In order to protect our end users, we will, like all other companies using third party advertising networks, have to re-evaluate working with these networks if they are being used for spying purposes."
Someone missed that message, or didn't buy it, and late last night they hit and defaced the Angry Birds website.
The defaced webpage, which has been posted to Zone H, shows the birds with an NSA logo and the legend "Spying Birds" where its actual title should be.
Finnish security firm F-Secure apparently has tagged the page as a defacement, and a Twitter message from its director of security response Antti Tikkanen said that it looked like a DNS hijack. This conclusion was supported by Mikko Hypponen.
The defacement was linked to by political hacktivist group the Syrian Electronic Army (SEA), but the group did not claim responsibility. According to Zone H it was uploaded by an account called AntiNSA, which suggests pro-Snowden sympathies.
Today Rovio confirmed the defacement to The INQUIRER, but added that the webpage was live for just a few minutes.
"The defacement was caught in minutes and corrected immediately," said Rovio marketing and communications VP Saara Bergström.
"The end user data was in no risk at any point. Due to how the internet name resolution works, for most areas it was not visible at all, but some areas take time for the correct information to be updated." µ
Sign up for INQbot – a weekly roundup of the best from the INQ