Sky Android apps and Twitter feed hacked, apps pulled

Sky's Android apps and Twitter feed have been hacked by the same group attacking the Guardian and Financial Times.

Update 3 (28 May): Sky has been in touch with a statement apologising to customers hoping to download its Android apps, which are currently still unavailable, and saying it's "working hard to make these apps available again as soon as possible."

Update 2: Another of Sky's Twitter feeds has tweeted some advice, Sky has confirmed. Sky TV BB & Talk tweeted: "Sky Android apps previously downloaded by Sky customers are unaffected and there is no need to remove them from an Android device." 

Update: A Sky spokesperson has got back to me, saying the broadcaster's Twitter feed was hacked as well. I've updated the headline to reflect this. The official comment from Sky is: "The Sky Help Team's Twitter account has been compromised, and the tweet that states customers should uninstall their apps is not guidance from Sky. We are currently investigating the situation. We will provide a further update when we have more information." The original story follows. 

Sky's Android apps have been hacked by the Syrian Electronic Army. In the early hours of this morning, the broadcaster advised Android users via the Sky Help Team Twitter feed to uninstall the offending apps and wait until it says it's safe.

Those apps are Sky Go, Sky+, Sky WiFi, Sky News, Sky Sports Football and Sky Sports News. At time of writing, they've all been yanked from Google Play. The only Sky ones still showing up are Sky News Arabia, Sky News Arabia for Tablets, and Sky News Weather Channel, all of which seem to have escaped unscathed.

Of course there's always the chance that the Sky Help Team Twitter feed has itself been hacked. As Graham Cluley points out, its alerts were sent via Twitter's Web user interface, instead of the usual Lithium Social Web. Some dodgy grammar could also point to a non-native English speaker, or that could be down to the fact they were sent out in the early hours by someone who was tired.

The Syrian Electronic Army replaced the logo of each app with its own, and changed the description to "Syrian Electronic Army Was Here".

Sky is just the latest media company the Syrian Electronic Army has targeted. In recent weeks, it hacked the Financial Times' website, as well as Twitter accounts belonging to that paper and to the Guardian. In both instances, as in today's, it posted the message "Syrian Electronic Army Was Here".

The anonymous group's previous efforts have been a little more headline-grabbing. It hacked the Associated Press' Twitter account to claim that US president Barack Obama had been injured in a White House bombing. It also took control of entertainment network E!'s account to falsely claim Justin Bieber had outed himself as gay.

This is the first time the group has targeted Google Play apps, instead of Twitter and Facebook, or the victim's website. At time of writing, all Sky's apps on iOS seem untouched.

Are groups like the Syrian Electronic Army a menace? Or are they highlighting the instability of the digital world, and keeping companies on their toes? Were you affected by the hack? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below, or on Facebook.

About the author

    Joe has been writing about consumer tech for nearly seven years now, but his liking for all things shiny goes back to the Gameboy he received aged eight (and that he still plays on at family gatherings, much to the annoyance of his parents). His pride and joy is an Infocus projector, whose 80-inch picture elevates movie nights to a whole new level.

     

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