Airtel code injection saga: Indian techie hits back at Flash Networks

Indian techie, who was served a legal notice for revealing hidden JavaScript in Airtel customer browsers, gave back a strong reply demanding unconditional apology

Published Date
18 - Jun - 2015
| Last Updated
18 - Jun - 2015
Airtel code injection saga: Indian techie hits back at Flash Netw...

In yet another instance of a big company attempting to strongarm a customer to hide its wrongdoings, Indian techie, Thejesh GN has been served a legal notice by Israeli firm Flash Networks for revealing its javascript injection code online. However, he has decided to fight back, by replying to the firm stating his grounds and demanding an immediate unconditional apology for force-inserting codes into user browsers and violating his privacy. Airtel has denied any involvement with the cease and desist letter sent to Thejesh by Flash Networks, although acknowledging its involvement with Flash Networks.

Based in Israel, Flash Networks provide monetization solutions for service providers. The ordeal started when Thejesh started facing very slow Internet speeds on his Airtel 3G connection. After checking his connection, he proceeded to debug his website, when he encountered a script named Anchor.js with three lines of unreadable code. After decoding the script, he found that it was installing an iframe on his website. He tracked the source, verified the IP address, and found confirmation of his suspicions that the address belonged to Airtel. He then took screenshots to prove his claim, and posted about the incident on GitHub, along with the code and all required proof.

The tweet posted by Thejesh GN after he found the code

Thejesh GN's lawyer has claimed that this, in no way, was an infringement of copyright since the code was available on a public forum. Also, GitHub is a forum for developers to discuss security breaches and any related incidents that may be of relevance. Flash Networks, who specializes in monetization programs for service providers, was responsible for including the code within the network, and Thejesh's lawyer has stated that it is they who can be blamed for breaching privacy and causing inconvenience to customers by slowing down connection and adding unnecessary toolbars and other malicious content. Thejesh’s lawyer, Lawrence Liang, has sent a legal reply to Flash Networks clarifying his client’s actions, and demanding an unconditional apology for including the code in the network and accusing Thejesh of copyright infringement.

Including similar tools for monetizing strategies is nothing new from network providers, and Flash Networks even boasts of Vodafone as one of its clients. Although Airtel has stated that it had no involvement in Flash Networks’ claim of copyright infringement, it has justified the inclusion of such a code in its service, saying that such codes are included to keep track of the amount of data used by consumers, thereby providing them better statistics and improving customer satisfaction. Hopefully TRAI will soon look into the validity of Airtel's claims.

Source: Mobiletor

Souvik DasSouvik Das

The one that switches between BMWs and Harbour Line Second Class.