Sky says Android apps safe to use after Twitter hack
Broadcaster Sky has confirmed its Android apps are safe to keep using after an attack from the Syrian Electronic Army.
The Sky Go, Sky+, SKY WiFi and Sky News apps all appeared to have been targeted in the attack, but the company said existing installations of the apps were not affected. Sky’s support Twitter account was also taken over.
The hack first became apparent when Syrian Electronic Army images replaced the application’s screengrabs in the Google Play Store, as can be seen in this ITV report.
This story was updated at 22:00 with Sky’s comment.
The applications have since been withdrawn from the Google Play store, and are expected to return soon. The apps themselves weren’t compromised, only the pages in the Android store.
A message on the @SkyHelpTeam Twitter account seemingly urging its customers to uninstall the apps on their devices was posted by the hackers, the company confirmed. “All Sky’s Android apps were hacked and replaced… please uninstall it, And we will let you know when it [sic] will be available,” reads the latest tweet from the account at the time of writing.
“Sky Android apps previously downloaded by Sky customers are unaffected and there is no need to remove them from an Android device,” a Sky spokeswoman said.
Sky’s advice to users took hours to come, and many may already have removed the apps – something security experts advised earlier in the day.
Before Sky confirmed the attack and said the apps were safe, Sophos security expert Graham Cluley suggested users uninstall the apps as a precautionary measure.
“At the time of writing, many Sky Android apps are unavailable to access via Google Play which indicates that something unusual has happened,” Cluley said in a post on the Sophos blog. “Frustratingly, that also means that they cannot be downloaded to check for signs of malware or tampering.
“But we should retain a healthy skepticism about implicitly trusting warnings that have only been shared via Twitter, especially when the reported attack relates to a group with a history of hacking the Twitter accounts of media organisations.”
It’s not clear how the apps were compromised or what – if anything – has been done to them. Our brief checks of the Sky WiFi app for Android showed no obvious signs of interference or defacement.
A report on TheNextWeb claims that, in addition to images being replaced, Google Play store links to Sky’s website and email address were redirected to the Syrian Electronics Army.
Sky is investigating, but hasn’t given any further details about the attack.
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