back to article Splinter Cell hack smells more like publicity stunt

Ubisoft said that the website of its popular video game Splinter Cell had been hacked on Thursday. However circumstantial evidence suggests the hack is more likely to be a publicity stunt than a genuine cyber assault. Visitors to the Splinter Cell website are been greeted by a message in Russian. This is followed a bit.ly link …

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Silver badge

Could it also induce a...

..."That's not a hack, THIS is a hack!" type of response?

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WTF?

"If it is a publicity stunt" said Graham Cluley,

"If it is a publicity stunt" said Graham Cluley,

There speaks the expert on virus and hoax publicity, Mr Rent-A-Quote himself.

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FAIL

crying wolf

"If it is a publicity stunt it's probably not the wisest that there has ever been - a hoax like this can panic users into believing there is a genuine security problem, and panic can lead internet users to make bad decisions,"

... i'd say the opposite is even worse; that [say] someone /does/ hack their site next week - users would now believe it's a hoax and be tricked into thinking they are safe by this weeks action...

silly silly...

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Joke

Or...

Or, if there were a real hack by a Russian group intent on taking over the world, we'd all think it was another hoax and ignore it. Even James Bond might be duped. This is the perfect opportunity for Dr Evil to strike.

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Thumb Down

Doh!

Pity the poor website sysadmin, who is being publicly humiliated for operating weak security measures while doing nothing of the sort.

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Google Translate

Page title: Raven

Notifications

Subject: System Maintenance

Occasionally the security system will be switched off for planned work and data protection. During such work may be a breach in security from external threats. Thus, all off would be a random character in accordance with a random pattern of Delta-3-6-Oscar

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Obvious Publiciy

Google translate of the russian Text:-

27.11.09 - Subject: System Maintenance

Occasionally the security system will be switched off for planned work and data protection. During such work may be a breach in security from external threats. Thus, all off would be a random character in accordance with a random pattern of Delta-3-6-Oscar

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WTF?

Updated

It now reads:

Update: secure connection will be restored within 72 hours. The external threat is under control. Use the core-0-Victor Romeo. Current level - Prospect. Route 27.

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Bronze badge
FAIL

OMG PANIC

ASCII ART HAS BEEN PUT ON A RANDOM WEBPAGE !!

yeah people are really going to panic that a page has had an image uploaded to it.

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Anonymous Coward

Well I guess it worked then...

Didn;t even know there was a new Sphincter Cell game coming out. Why even report this publicity stunt you are giving them what they want. Free publicity.

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anyone translated this yet?

Have chucked the russian email into bable fish and this is what i got....

Periodically security system will be disconnected for conducting of planned works and data protection. During similar works can arise the breach out of danger from the external threat. Thus, all turning offs will bear random nature in accordance with the random diagram Delta-3-6- Oscar

Sounds like they're just updating the website! :D

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Black Helicopters

St Petersburg?

Co-ordinates at the bottom right of the "hacked" page are for a street in St Petersburg:

http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=59.935903,30.321429&sll=55.950176,-3.187536&sspn=0.511334,1.234589&ie=UTF8&ll=59.936349,30.321708&spn=0.001787,0.004823&t=h&z=18&iwloc=lyrftr:h,16686579852811902287,59.936376,30.321021

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FAIL

doesn't even look like a real hack

Far to arty

And why post the co-ordinates for the Kazansky Cathedral in St Petersburg in bottom corner?

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Just updating the system.

27.11.09 - theme: Servicing the system

Periodically security system will be disconnected for conducting of planned works and data protection. During similar works can arise the breach out of danger from the external threat. Thus, all turning offs will bear random nature in accordance with the random diagram Delta-3-6- Oscar

Yay for bable fish!

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hack?

No way thats a hack, unless flash obsessed digital agencies have started hacking websites?

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Hack 2

<!--

Th!s S!T3 hä¢KeD ߥ VL@d69

M3M0RY l3@K C0nfirm3d

c0nfID3N7i@L d@t@ c3r7ifi3d

Unix D@7@ f0ld3R Sc-hack/2009

http://bit.ly/6M12tE

V0r0n v2.1.f

-->

Memory Leak Confirmed? Confidential Data Certified? Unix Data Folder Sc-hack/2009? (SC20K much?)

Not even hackers are THIS cheesy - MUST be a digital agency ;)

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Badgers

Yeah, right...

... it is well known that these guys use Flash applets when defacing a website, and of course they are using Google Analytics, too.

Hint: copy'n'paste the russian text into Google Translate, and it doesn't look like a hack so much any more...

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FAIL

Gotta be a PR stunt...

It's been up now for at least 21 hours - that's when they admitted it on the Twitter post anyway. If they can't clean up a "defacement" that they know about in less than 24 hours, they need to find themselves a new sysadmin and/or web host. Anyone with half a brain would have pulled the site and started a clean-up by now...

...which they haven't.

Anyway, it looks FAR too slick to be genuine.

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This post has been deleted by a moderator

Different Departments?

I doubt Ubisoft's game programmers and web admins are the same people...

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Anonymous Coward

Silly Web Admin

SIlly web admin, everyone knows you need security! I can't talk for other programming languages, but in PHP I always do the following to prevent such attacks.

<?php

if(detect_hack() == true){ stop hack_attack() ; }

and for really important sites I include

if($shenanigans){$shenanigans = false;}

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Bronze badge

Awesome !

http://webimages.stephen-wright.net/shenanigans7sy.jpg

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FAIL

Par for the course games industry marketing

Anyone with experience of the games industry will tell you that the primary qualification for being a games industry marketeer is a Nathan Barley-esque level of twattishness so it's entirely plausible that this is an inept marketing stunt rather than the real thing.

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Pirate

Update

Google translator to the rescue again.

Update: secure connection will be restored within 72 hours. The external threat is under control. Use the core-0-Victor Romeo. Current level - Prospect. Route 27.

<3 hackers now giving updates on hacked sites

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Anonymous Coward

Looks a lot like

I think that a stealthy man with high tech gear is hiding in someone's office reading emails. He got the one that said "The new security code for the website is 3192." I can't figure out how he sneaked past the guard with the clockwork bladder. Some spots in the corridors were lit so nobody could remain hidden for long.

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WTF?

@Clueley

"If it is a publicity stunt it's probably not the wisest that there has ever been - a hoax like this can panic users into believing there is a genuine security problem, and panic can lead internet users to make bad decisions," said Graham Cluley

Yeah, riiiight. My mother often panics when she hears a web server has been hacked, esp if they've gone to the trouble of using Flash. Usually she'll then e-mail her online banking credentials to everyone on the Interwebs.

I'll refrain from making the obvious pun on your last name.

Anyone remember the URL of the web page you could go to (posted about 10 years ago) that IIRC popped your browser window full-screen and looked like it was wiping the hard drive and installing a different OS?

Now THAT was good...

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