by Al Sacco

Group Hacks Official BlackBerry Blog, Threatens RIM Over London-Riot BBM Data

Aug 09, 20114 mins
MobileSecuritySmall and Medium Business

Hacker-group TeaMp0isoN has broken into RIM's official BlackBerry blog and posted threats to the company and its staffers.

UPDATED: A British Parliament member is reportedly now calling for a suspension of BBM service in riot-affected areas in and around London, according to Reuters.

“This is one of the reasons why unsophisticated criminals are outfoxing an otherwise sophisticated police force,” David Lammy, Member of Parliament for Tottenham, reportedly wrote on Twitter. “BBM is different as it is encrypted and police can’t access it.”

RIM hasn’t responded yet, but it did already commit to cooperating with U.K. authorities, so it will be interesting to see if that cooperation translates into a BBM service shutdown, RIM handing over BBM data to authorities or something else.

One day after BlackBerry-maker Research In Motion (RIM) said it would work along with U.K. law enforcement authorities to help contain and eventually end the ongoing rioting in and around London, a hacker group calling itself TeaMp0isoN has broken into RIM’s official BlackBerry blog and threatened to expose personal information on RIM staffers if the company hands over any BlackBerry smartphone data that might incriminate rioters.


RIM offered to help U.K. law enforcement after reports that its proprietary BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) IM chat application was used over the weekend by looters to organize and incite riots. BBM Groups were apparently formed to offer up details on riot locations and specific events, as well images and other details. And other social networks, including Twitter and Facebook, were used to spread BBM “PINS” to quickly build and expand the number of people contributing information.

Here’s the TeaMp0isoN statement posted on RIM’s hacked “Inside BlackBerry” blog:

This hack is a response to this statement by RIM:

“We feel for those impacted by this weekend’s riots in London. We have engaged with the authorities to assist in any way we can. As in all markets around the world Where BlackBerry is available, we cooperate with local telecommunications operators, law enforcement and regulatory officials. 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.”

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

Wow. I didn’t see this coming. And I’d bet RIM didn’t either. But this move was a silly, juvenile one on the part of TeaMp0isoN, because it will no doubt only further motivate RIM to work with U.K. authorities to end the riots—and also identify the hackers who infiltrated its blog and other RIM systems, if the TeaMp0isoN claims prove to be true.

Regardless, this whole story is about to get a lot more interesting, I think. RIM has already stated it will fully cooperate with U.K. law enforcement, so it’s probably only a matter of time before a court order is handed down and RIM hands over some BlackBerry data.

The hacker group is right about one thing, though: If RIM does hand over BBM or other data to police, it will open up a whole new can of worms due to concerns over the privacy of people who may have simply acted as BBM-voyeurs to the carnage and not actually participated in the chaos.