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Icelandic Vodafone springs a leak

What an eventful day it has been here in the Land of the Nice.

VodafoneIt all started with the news that the Vodafone Iceland website had been hacked and “sensitive information” about thousands of customers had been appropriated and subsequently leaked onto the intertubes. I don’t think anyone was too concerned [especially given the nonplussed response by the Vodafone PR guy who blew it off as nothing, while undoubtedly sweating bullets under his preppy shirt] … that is, until text messages that were indeed “sensitive” were read up during the RÚV noontime news hour. They ranged from messages from the phones of politicians currently in power texting each other about a “secret meeting” at LÍÚ [the Association of Fishing Vessel Operators … those of you up on Icelandic politics will understand the extreme significance of this] to explicit sexual messages sent between parties whose phone number was proudly displayed alongside. In fact, anyone could search for your phone number and find any messages attributed to that number. There were also the passwords of thousands of customers displayed in Excel files right there next to their names, and all sorts of other fun information.

Apparently the hacker was a Turkish national who had a bone to pick with Vodafone worldwide and so decided to hack into all the Vodafone websites and dribble whatever he could find onto the web.

[Though I really have to wonder how many Vodafone outlets worldwide are as lax about security as Icelandic Vodafone and just had their customers’ “sensitive” information lying around un-encripted, like. NOT TOO MANY would be my bet.]

Anyway, the folder with all the info was soon removed from the web, but as we all know – once on the intertubes, always on the intertubes. And sure enough, even our very own YT was able to extract a copy from deep inside the bowels of the web.

Naturally I was rather anxious to find out whether any of my “sensitive” SMS messages had leaked out, even though, rack my brains as I might, I couldn’t recall ever texting anything more salacious than “picked up fish for dinner.”

Sure enough, after trawling through the virtually unintelligible garble that made up the Vodafone SMS files, I managed to find the one single message that was attached to my phone number. It read: Vorum að fá aftur Softy leðurjakkana með krumpunum. Kveðja Galleri 17 Kringlunni, which means: “Just re-received the Softy leather jackets with the wrinkles. Regards, Galleri 17, Kringlan”.

I have to say, I was a little disappointed. Still, I wonder whether I could sue Vodafone for damages. I mean, Softy leather jackets with wrinkles … those puppies could do some serious harm to my public image, wouldn’t you say?

~~

[Postscript: all this was a huge windfall for the government coalition, which revealed its highly controversial plans for debt forgiveness today. The announcement had been breathlessly anticipated, but I guess it’s safe to say that Vodagate sort of stole their thunder – and saved their asses when it came to a general furore. I’ll have to delve into that whole business in a bit more detail before I can comment, but I couldn’t let this post go without mentioning it.]

[pic from the Vodafone website.]

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  • blaraka November 30, 2013, 11:43 pm

    A few weeks ago facebook conversations of polish far-right activists were published on wikileaks. Some of those conversations were with movement members, e.g. about plans to attack squats, jokes about becoming propaganda minister in the future or things like discussing rape commited by their friend (rape which was not reported to the police). But some were completely private messages. People were making fun of his relation with wife etc. It resulted with discussion here in Poland about justifability of using such leakage. Should we completely destroy someone privacy because he is stupid, far-right or even neonazi activist?
    I am curious how this vodafone thing will end in Iceland. Even if leaked are just messages sent from www gateway (if google translate didn’t mistranslate vodafone claims that), this leakage seems to be really massive.

  • Katharine Kroeber December 1, 2013, 1:25 am

    I swear this was set up by the government to distract from their feeble remarks. Just because at this point I wouldn’t put anything past them.

  • Michael December 1, 2013, 11:24 am

    Seems like a little hacker is having fun. What we need is a whistle blower with Snowden effect. After all lies and secrecy are two of very few last bastions left to corrupted power holders.

  • Mike December 3, 2013, 5:49 pm

    Come on Alda, we know that ‘picked up fish for dinner’ is clearly a coded message to your KGB handler that you’ve got copies of the secret recipe for skyr.

    In the UK we’re quite relaxed about this sort of thing, because between them the CIA, NSA and GCHQ have already heard and shared everything we have to say on the phone. I wish they’d get back and let me know where I left my headphones.