Blog Post

UK Riots: BlackBerry Hacked, Sony Burned, eBay On Alert

Four days in, and more tech company fallout from the riots in the UK: RIM (NSDQ: RIMM), which has found itself in the story because rioters are using its BBM messaging network to organize meetups, has had its site hacked. And eBay (NSDQ: EBAY) tells us that so far it has not seen any suspicious activity involving the sale of stolen items on its site, but that it will work with authorities to track this going forward.

RIM has not commented further on BBM, after yesterday noting that it would cooperate with authorities to regarding any messages sent on its network and related to the riot. But the company is still getting hit from all sides.

On Tuesday, the MP for Tottenham, David Lammy, made a call for RIM to shut down the network to try to prevent that line of communication.

And a post on the BlackBerry Blogs site has been hacked by someone called “Trick” from a group called Teampoison, who says he is concerned that RIM’s cooperation with the police will lead to innocent people getting targeted.

Update: RIM took down, then reinstated, the site, free of the hack. Trick meanwhile reposted the hack on a mirror site here. The original text of the hack follows:

Dear Rim;
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, 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, 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…. do you really want a bunch of angry youths on your employees doorsteps? Think about it…. and don’t think that the police will protect your employees, the police can’t protect themselves let alone protect others….. if you make the wrong choice your database will be made public, save yourself the embarrassment and make the right choice. don’t be a puppet..

p.s – we do not condone in innocent people being attacked in these riots nor do we condone in small businesses being looted, but we are all for the rioters that are engaging in attacks on the police and government…. and before anyone says “the blackberry employees are innocent” no they are not! They are the ones that would be assisting the police

– TriCk – TeaMp0isoN –
– Greets To: iN^SaNe – Hex00010 – MLT – BlackHacker

– Knowledge is Power . . . . .

Twitter: @TeaMp0isoN_

– TriCk

eBay. Meanwhile, some more on what happens to loot the day after… when the news broke of the first break-ins to mobile phone, sporting goods and consumer electronics shops, many people started to ponder how quickly items would make their way to eBay for sale.


Well, according to an eBay UK spokesperson, so far, not at all.

“We haven’t seen any unusual listing activity on the site, but of course we will be vigilant over the coming days/weeks,” she tells me, along with this prepared statement:

Our thoughts are with the businesses and communities affected by recent events in London and around the UK. eBay will cooperate fully with the investigating authorities to identify and remove any listings which are linked to criminal activity.

There are, however, questions over how exactly eBay will be able to track hot goods: will it be based on sellers’ track record, or the date the items were posted, or whether they fall into certain categories? We’ve asked the eBay spokesperson to clarify this.

And if you think something might just slip through anyway, you could be right: nosing around the site looking for relevant items, I came across this. It’s a listing for a torched police car, put up yesterday.

“here we have 2 fire damage ex police astra’s for sale comes complete with alloys. may need new tyres and a re-spray. cash on collection. pick up from tottenham,” reads the description.

In all likelihood a (bad-taste) hoax, which eBay says it will be taking it down now that we’ve alerted them. But it does show that eBay’s system — whatever it is — may not be completely watertight.

RIM and eBay aren’t the only big tech/media companies feeling the impact of the riots. Last night, a warehouse belonging to Sony (NYSE: SNE) in the London area of Enfield burned to the ground, taking hundreds of discs for 150 independent labels with it.