BlackBerry Blog hacked for helping police quell riots

The attack was spurred by RIM's reaction to reports that BlackBerrys were being used by London rioters to orchestrate actions

Hackers defaced the official Blackberry Blog today in retaliation for Research In Motion's pledge to assist police "in any way we can" in their efforts to quell the riots in London in recent days.

After vandalizing the BlackBerry blog website, the hackers, who call themselves TeaMp0isoN, posted to the Internet an open letter to RIM, which makes BlackBerry smartphones, explaining the motivation behind their actions.

[Related story: Londoners Take to Social Media Outlets During and After the Riots]

"You Will _NOT_ assist the UK Police because if u do innocent members of the public who were at the wrong place at the wrong time and owned a blackberry will get charged for no reason at all," they wrote unfettered by rules of grammar and punctuation, "the Police are looking to arrest as many people as possible to save themselves from embarrassment..."

"if you do assist the police by giving them chat logs, gps locations, customer information & access to peoples BlackBerryMessengers you will regret it," the hackers threatened. "We have access to your database which includes your employees information; e.g - Addresses, Names, Phone Numbers etc."

"now if u assist the police, we _WILL_ make this information public and pass it onto rioters...," they continued, "do you really want a bunch of angry youths on your employees doorsteps?"

The attack on the BlackBerry blog was spurred by RIM's reaction to reports that BlackBerrys were being used by rioters to orchestrate their activities. "It seems that BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) is the perfect instant messaging tool for rioters, given that it's free to use (unlike text messages), and you can instantly see when someone has read a message," the UK edition of The Next Web noted.

"Also," it added, "whilst Twitter is very much a public platform, BBM can be used to communicate between groups in private."

In light of evidence that its hardware may be being used by rioters, RIM, which has shown in the past strong resistance to government authorities interfering with its customers' privacy, told the world through Twitter that it was going to cooperate with law enforcement authorities. "We feel for those impacted by the riots in London" it tweeted. "We have engaged with the authorities to assist in any way we can."

That ambiguous statement was later refined in a statement by Patrick Spence, RIM's managing director for global sales and regional marketing. "As in all markets around the world where BlackBerry is available, we cooperate with local telecommunications operators, law enforcement and regulatory officials," he said. "Similar to other technology providers in the UK, we comply with The Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act and co-operate fully with the Home Office and UK police forces."

Follow freelance technology writer John P. Mello Jr. and Today@PCWorld on Twitter.

Join the CSO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags research in motionsecurityRIM BlackBerry

More about BlackBerryMotionResearch In MotionResearch In Motion

Show Comments

Featured Whitepapers

Editor's Recommendations

Solution Centres

Stories by John P. Mello Jr.

Latest Videos

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: The Human Factor - Your people are your biggest security weakness

    ​Speakers: David Lacey, Researcher and former CISO Royal Mail David Turner - Global Risk Management Expert Mark Guntrip - Group Manager, Email Protection, Proofpoint

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Current ransomware defences are failing – but machine learning can drive a more proactive solution

    Speakers • Ty Miller, Director, Threat Intelligence • Mark Gregory, Leader, Network Engineering Research Group, RMIT • Jeff Lanza, Retired FBI Agent (USA) • Andy Solterbeck, VP Asia Pacific, Cylance • David Braue, CSO MC/Moderator What to expect: ​Hear from industry experts on the local and global ransomware threat landscape. Explore a new approach to dealing with ransomware using machine-learning techniques and by thinking about the problem in a fundamentally different way. Apply techniques for gathering insight into ransomware behaviour and find out what elements must go into a truly effective ransomware defence. Get a first-hand look at how ransomware actually works in practice, and how machine-learning techniques can pick up on its activities long before your employees do.

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Get real about metadata to avoid a false sense of security

    Speakers: • Anthony Caruana – CSO MC and moderator • Ian Farquhar, Worldwide Virtual Security Team Lead, Gigamon • John Lindsay, Former CTO, iiNet • Skeeve Stevens, Futurist, Future Sumo • David Vaile - Vice chair of APF, Co-Convenor of the Cyberspace Law And Policy Community, UNSW Law Faculty This webinar covers: - A 101 on metadata - what it is and how to use it - Insight into a typical attack, what happens and what we would find when looking into the metadata - How to collect metadata, use this to detect attacks and get greater insight into how you can use this to protect your organisation - Learn how much raw data and metadata to retain and how long for - Get a reality check on how you're using your metadata and if this is enough to secure your organisation

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them Featuring: • John Baird, Director of Global Technology Production, Deutsche Bank • Samantha Macleod, GM Cyber Security, ME Bank • Sherrod DeGrippo, Director of Emerging Threats, Proofpoint (USA)

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    IDG Live Webinar:The right collaboration strategy will help your business take flight

    Speakers - Mike Harris, Engineering Services Manager, Jetstar - Christopher Johnson, IT Director APAC, 20th Century Fox - Brent Maxwell, Director of Information Systems, THE ICONIC - IDG MC/Moderator Anthony Caruana

    Play Video

More videos

Blog Posts