Hackers have attacked some of the well-known internet names over the New Year, including Skype, Snapchat, BBC server and online game League of Legends.
The social media platforms - Twitter account and blog - of Microsoft Skype, the popular free video-calling application were hacked by a group that claims to be the Syrian Electronic Army (SEA).
The group asked people to thwart surveillance attempts by US-based National Security Agency (NSA) and software giant Microsoft. The group posted messages on Skype's Twitter accounts and blog. It said, "Don't use Microsoft emails (hotmail, outlook). They are monitoring your accounts and selling the data to the governments."
Another tweet said: "Hacked by Syrian Electronic Army.. Stop Spying!" All posts by the group have now been removed.
The Syrian Electronic Army is a group of computer hackers who support the Syrian government and President Bashar al-Assad, and has been responsible for hacking biggies like The New York Times and Twitter.
Skype confirmed the breach and affirmed that there was no compromise of any user information. It posted on its Twitter handle: "You may have noticed our social media properties were targeted today. No user info was compromised. We're sorry for the inconvenience."
Snapchat Hacked, Millions Compromised
The hack on photo messaging app Snapchat has affected 4.6 million accounts, with hackers downloading usernames and phone numbers of users and posting them online.
This data, consisting usernames and phone numbers of millions of Snachat accounts, was released by a website called SnapchatDB. However, the information was censored with the last two digits of the phone numbers being blocked out. Though the website is now suspended, a cached version of the website is still available, reports BBC.
Hackers exploited the recently published Snapchat API to access the data. The message on the website read: "You are downloading 4.6 million users' phone number information, along with their usernames. People tend to use the same username around the web so you can use this information to find phone number information associated with Facebook and Twitter accounts, or simply to figure out the phone numbers of people you wish to get in touch with," reported Sydney Morning Hearld.
TechCrunch received a statement from the hackers saying, "Our motivation behind the release was to raise the public awareness around the issue, and also put public pressure on Snapchat to get this exploit fixed. It is understandable that tech start-ups have limited resources but security and privacy should not be a secondary goal. Security matters as much as user experience does."
Recently, an Australian firm, Gibson Security, had warned Snapchat that it was susceptible to hacking and had published two exploits.
BBC Computer Server Hacked
The server of BBC was hacked by a Russian who gained control and further ventured to sell access to the server to other hackers.
The compromise of the server was via the file-transfer site ftp.bbc.co.uk and it was not yet clear if the hacker was able to grasp the deal before the reaction of the broadcaster, BBC reported. The server was used by reporters to send their news material.
The advertisement of the hacker was spotted by a US firm, Hold Security, when he was trying to sell it on a black market forum. BBC has declined to comment on the issue, saying it does not make comments on issues related to security.
League of Legends Hacked
One of the most popular online games, played by millions of people, was the target of hackers who managed to push the game offline.
This hack was the handiwork of Derp hacking group and was targeted at US pro-gamer James Varga.
The group started to feed the US and European servers with massive data and it was thumped offline; the same tactic used for Asian servers. The hack ended with a prank call where police were told that Varga had hostages in his house. This resulted in police entering his house armed and him being handcuffed. Police searches proved that it was prank call and he was released immediately.