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Security Apple Games

Has iTunes Been Hacked? 191

Posted by Soulskill
from the missony-loves-company dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Betanews has a series of articles talking about an apparent hack in iTunes that has resulted in fraudulent charges for some users involving Sega's Kingdom Conquest game. The reports start with a personal account from reporter Ed Oswald, who was a victim of the hack itself. The next story adds reports from readers, and the most recent story adds additional reports, with Oswald saying the number of reports received are in the 'dozens.' Apple has yet to confirm the existence of a hack, although reports have appeared on Sega's own support forums, Apple discussion boards, and through other news outlets."
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Has iTunes Been Hacked?

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  • I recall Stringer saying a lot of stupid crap but when criticized for the delay in his notification of a breach [escapistmagazine.com] he said something quite memorable to me:

    "This was an unprecedented situation," he said. "Most of these breaches go unreported by companies."

    At first I thought this was just to spread generalized fear, take a cheap swipe at their competition or even shift attention to something else, but it appears we'll get to see how pervasive this becomes. Perhaps he wasn't completely full of lies ...

    • by jhoegl (638955)
      I dont think this is a "breach", it looks more like a social engineering turned trojan/keylogger.
      Dear Apple users,

      enjoy.
    • by Sprouticus (1503545) on Monday June 06, 2011 @10:00PM (#36358870)

      Half a dozen years ago, I worked at a company that got hacked due to a web vulnerability. The hackers simply used our storage to store geman porn. But it was still a hack. And it went unreported. It was detemrined that there was no value in reporting the hack since it would affect stock value.

      I am betting that the VAST majority of hack never get reported for this exact reason.

      • by wvmarle (1070040) on Monday June 06, 2011 @10:10PM (#36358928)
        So you closed the vulnerability and kept the stash?
      • by pandrijeczko (588093) on Tuesday June 07, 2011 @03:24AM (#36360258)

        Also about half a dozen years ago, a CEO in a software company was suffering one way transmission on VoIP calls and as the manufacturer of the VoIP hardware and software, we'd had technicians trying to fix the problem for months - countless hardware was changed, IP stations, etc. etc. because the customer was screaming at my company daily and it had been escalated to the highest levels.

        As a security & network guy, I got dragged in at the later stages, myself and another consultant went through some packet sniff captures when the problem was happening and we eventually worked out that someone from within the software company was trying to do a man-in-the-middle attack to snoop on the CEO's calls, he/she clearly hadn't got it working right and was interrupting one of the transmission paths, hence the problem.

        We emailed the analysis to the customer and showed it was someone in their company causing the problem. From that point on, it went completely quiet - no daily secreaming from the customer, not even an acknowledgement of our emailed analysis.

        I don't know if higher up in my company we billed the customer for all the work we did or if anything was said afterwards but this was definitely hushed very quickly within that software company.

        • by gstoddart (321705)

          and we eventually worked out that someone from within the software company was trying to do a man-in-the-middle attack to snoop on the CEO's calls, he/she clearly hadn't got it working right and was interrupting one of the transmission paths, hence the problem.

          We emailed the analysis to the customer and showed it was someone in their company causing the problem. From that point on, it went completely quiet - no daily secreaming from the customer, not even an acknowledgement of our emailed analysis.

          Why does

      • by Smurf (7981)

        Half a dozen years ago, I worked at a company that got hacked due to a web vulnerability. The hackers simply used our storage to store geman porn.

        Please excuse my ignorance, but... what's geman porn?

        • by Anomalyst (742352)

          Please excuse my ignorance, but... what's geman porn?

          I am guessing it involves recordings of carnal acts performed by government bureaucrats wearing g-strings.

          • by Smurf (7981)

            Please excuse my ignorance, but... what's geman porn?

            I am guessing it involves recordings of carnal acts performed by government bureaucrats wearing g-strings.

            Eeewwwwwwww..... No wonder they didn't want to be caught with such filthy stuff on their own hard drives!

    • by rAiNsT0rm (877553) on Monday June 06, 2011 @10:18PM (#36359000) Homepage

      I've worked in IT security for a long time and for banks... The sheer number of unreported hacks at banks and at retail stores would blow your mind. People mistakenly get angry at the hackers (which is how the media has trained most everyone to think) when in reality it is almost always gross negligence on the hack-ee side and they deserve the ire.

      • by Ixokai (443555) on Monday June 06, 2011 @11:03PM (#36359216)

        Seriously, "mistakenly", "trained"?

        Sorry, no.

        Sure, the companies deserve ire and disdain if they don't take care of our information securely. They even deserve some real civil liability -- a lot more then they're getting now.

        But asshat little fuckheads who go around breaking into said company deserve ire, irregardless of any other ire given.

        Cracking into networks and systems and grabbing data, damaging systems, anything of the sort-- even if they aren't properly secured-- is not noble.

        It its worthy of ire, scorn, and jail time.

        Now, its not worth as much jail time as is being handed out often these days, nor silly, inflammatory words like "terrorism" being thrown around to make it all worse -- and adolescents who are frankly incapable of understanding that being an idiot even though its a rush or fun is dangerous and has real consequences, should be treated like the kids they are, not adults.

        But, no. Its not a mistake to give them all kinds of ire.

        I pretty much hate Sony, for instance. But what the cracker-jackass groups are doing is pretty sociopathic.

        There's no Greater Good involved, thats self-delusion at best. There could have been a way to go about it that may have been ethical, in a vigilante, internet-patriot sort of way. But these data dumps of real, personal information (including usernames and password hashes) is not at all it.

        • by baldass_newbie (136609) on Monday June 06, 2011 @11:12PM (#36359286) Homepage Journal

          irregardless of any other ire given

          Irregardless is not a word. You may have a point, but your use of a non-word makes me wonder.

          • by jamesh (87723)

            irregardless of any other ire given

            Irregardless is not a word. You may have a point, but your use of a non-word makes me wonder.

            If enough people use it and accept it as valid then it's a perfectly cromulent word, just like all the other words that weren't words 100 years ago. If you want a definition then this [wiktionary.org] might assist you broadening your vocabulary (even though the entry itself state's that it isn't generally accepted as a word :)

            • (even though the entry itself state's that...

              Oh dear, is there a rule of some sort that if you're correcting someone else's grammar/spelling/(mis-)use of words, you'll get something wrong on your own post?

              (*checks and double-checks before submitting*)

              • It's OK, I've seen state's on the internet before - here is the justification. [slashdot.org]

              • by gmhowell (26755)

                (even though the entry itself state's that...

                Oh dear, is there a rule of some sort that if you're correcting someone else's grammar/spelling/(mis-)use of words, you'll get something wrong on your own post?

                (*checks and double-checks before submitting*)

                I think Alanis Morissette starts playing from your computer when this happens.

                Followed by pedants arguing about that word.

                • by Gilmoure (18428)

                  I think Alanis Morissette starts playing from your computer when this happens.

                  Damn it!

              • by ais523 (1172701)

                Oh dear, is there a rule of some sort that if you're correcting someone else's grammar/spelling/(mis-)use of words, you'll get something wrong on your own post?

                There is, it's called Muphry's Law [wikipedia.org]. (For bonus points, if you bring it up in an argument on the Internet, there's about a 50-50 chance that you'll be incorrectly accused of misspelling its name.)

            • Apparently this word goes back to at least 1874 http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/Irregardless [reference.com]

              • I try to be prescriptive in my use of language but descriptive in my acceptance of language, along the lines of the data processing principle of producing well-formatted output but accepting a wide variety of input formats. (Occasionally, though, I fall behind the progress of the language as it is used, such as the development that "electrocute" can apparently now mean just "injure with electricity", according to most dictionaries, with the apparent exception of the one I checked before criticizing that us
      • I work in security on Linux-based VoIP telephony systems for the manufacturer of those systems.

        About two years ago, I was contacted by one of our global customers, a big name in the airline industry, because of their Eastern European call centres had suffered toll fraud and they needed an analysis of the cause and additional hardening put on the servers if it was necessary - that in itself was nothing unusual, I do this kind of the stuff all of the time.

        But the interesting part of it was that the request fo

      • by Aceticon (140883)

        Many banks (at least in the UK) still use a variant of username+password authentication to access online banking (susceptible to things like keyloggers in the user's machine and phishing, not to mention cryptographical attacks against SSL in old browsers) instead of the much safer challenge-response method using an external pin-device (like this [barclays.co.uk]) + banking-card where no kind of password ever gets typed into an unsafe device (a general use, personal PC, used by somebody with little or no IT security training

    • "Dozens" of reports doesn't mean that much. It could have easily been a phishing attack or someone getting ahold of a different online account from said user and they happened to use the same password.

      Someone getting access to your account is NOT necessarily a "breach".
    • by StikyPad (445176) on Monday June 06, 2011 @10:59PM (#36359190) Homepage

      Or, quite possibly, we're starting to see the impact of the Sony hacks themselves. I'd bet money that the affected people were using the same login information on each service, especially since both services use the same "username": the player's e-mail address. If you're not using unique passwords for each of your services (and especially the for the e-mail account that unifies them all), you're doing it wrong.

    • by milkmage (795746)

      if someone hacked Apple/iTunes.. I doubt they'd keep it quiet.

      with 200 MILLION credit cards, a hell of a lot more people would have seen this if it were a hack.

      10 bucks says this guy has a common username and password.

  • by adversus (1451933) on Monday June 06, 2011 @09:35PM (#36358724)
    More like identity theft.
    • by EastCoastSurfer (310758) on Monday June 06, 2011 @10:24PM (#36359044)

      Yep. My bank recently called and canceled my CC. The trigger? The number was attempted to be used for a small ITMS purchase. The fraud department at the bank said that buying a 99c song at ITMS is quick way to verify if they have the right info or not. In my case they used the incorrect pin digits from the back of the card and the bank denied the charge, but it must work some of the time.

      • A 3 digit security code is 1 in 1,000. With a couple of possible tries to get it right for each card before locking it out, your chances are now 1 in 250. With enough compromised account numbers you can find enough valid card combinations to make large purchases at a retailer other than iTunes. Most fraud is for software IP as many merchants won't ship somewhere other than the billing address for the card.

      • by hedwards (940851)

        Cancelling it is a bit extreme. My CC company has frozen my CC a few times for small purchases like that. But, cancelling it outright would be extreme.

      • by mikael_j (106439) on Tuesday June 07, 2011 @12:31AM (#36359636)

        In my case they used the incorrect pin digits from the back of the card and the bank denied the charge, but it must work some of the time.

        Sorry for being pedantic but the card security code (also known as CSC, CVV, CVV2, etc.) is not a PIN code.

        The PIN for Mastercard or VISA cards is a code you as the user must remember, here in Europe it is used pretty much every time you use your card instead of a signature.

        • by torako (532270)
          Here in Europe? At least in Germany you only need the PIN if you want to use your credit card in an ATM. Using debit cards in stores usually (not always) requires using the PIN, but those cards are not VISA or Mastercards but Maestro/girocards.
          • by mikael_j (106439)

            Well, to be honest I've only ever spent a few hours in Germany. But in those countries I've lived in it is common to use the PIN for both credit and debit cards when buying things in stores or withdrawing from an ATM.

            In my experience (anecdotal of course) the use of signatures is a typically American thing, here in Sweden they're only ever used when the store loses its connection to the payment processor or the bank is having some kind of problem and is unable to verify transactions.

            I've been shocked a few

            • by torako (532270)
              That's interesting. It says on Wikipedia that using the PIN to authorize credit card payments seems to be a Scandinavian specialty. That would be awful for me, I've never used my credit cards' PINs and don't even know them :)
  • by Bieeanda (961632) on Monday June 06, 2011 @09:42PM (#36358772)
    People being overcharged because the accounting software fucked up happens all the time. What would a hacker get out of making someone pay a few extra bucks to Sega, via Apple, compared to both dodging an accusation of faulty billing software that could sour people on microtransactions?
    • You need to think like a hacker in order to understand this better.

      No, you are right, this could be about faulty accounting software and we may never know the actual root cause.

      But if it was a hack, then maybe the hacker socially engineered Apple's account code for Sega and that allowed him to perform the hack - it's quite possible that was the only thing the hacker was able to do.

      However, from the hacker's perspective, to be able to boast about hacking into Apple is big karma amongst the hacker community -

      • However, from the hacker's perspective, to be able to boast about hacking into Apple is big karma amongst the hacker community - it doesn't necessarily need to be a huge world-changing hack like Sony suffered to garner that notoriety.

        So has somebody claimed to have hacked Apple yet?

  • It's highly unlikely this was a hack. If it was reports would be in the hundreds or thousands, not "dozens". Also there would a variety of purchases, not just for one game.

    The most likely answer is a keylogger trojan, social engineering or a reused password from a true hacked site (like Sony or PBS). I find it odd that everyone who suggests that in TFA is thumbed down into oblivion as that's the most likely answer.

    Also iTunes doesn't bill in real time, so those purchases that "just happened" were likely

    • by scdeimos (632778)

      Also there would a variety of purchases, not just for one game.

      It's not just for one game...

      Since Betanews' original report last Wednesday, dozens of readers have e-mailed their own reports of account issues, most dealing with Sega's Kingdom Conquest.

      Additionally...

      Nearly every victim had a gift card balance on their account, and some have reported that their credit card and/or payment information had been removed from their account. This indicates that Apple likely is aware of the attacks, and is actively trying to protect its users.

      In all cases, whether they're admitting the hack is occurring or not, users are having little trouble getting their money refunded to them.

    • by wvmarle (1070040) on Monday June 06, 2011 @10:16PM (#36358988)

      This is what bugged me about general security advice: people are recommended not to re-use passwords over a variety of web sites (sensible). However the solutions proposed are to store these passwords in a local "password vault" protected with just a single password, or for all sites to use a centralised log-in system such as Google or OpenID or whatever.

      Now if really those web masters all follow suit and all switch to doing their logins using Google: is that any safer than re-using a password? If Google gets hacked, logins to all web sites are suddenly on the streets. Google's security may be better than Sony's, that's not said that it can not be breached.

      Or if a keylogger finds its way on your computer, then the complete password vault can be opened in one go.

      • It's not practical to expect people to remember a different password for every website. I would rather trust my Mac's keychain and have completely different 18 character passwords for every website, then trust the websites to keep my short 8 character password that I use on every website safe.
  • by blueworm (425290) on Monday June 06, 2011 @09:57PM (#36358856) Homepage

    No mention of keylogging trojans or phishing combined with ridiculous uneducated guessing makes these authors' ramblings pure trash. Apparently all the links are from Betanews, too; I'd like to see Betanews stick to talking about iThings and not security. Choice quotes interspersed with my reactions:

    "Apple's iTunes user logs themselves may have been compromised."

    All I can think of on this one is the time I had someone tell me that my router had "lost its ARP table".

    "... several of the victims that reported into Betanews on their experience are employed in IT -- obviously understanding the risks of improperly secured personal data."

    I'd hope these same IT employees someday understand the risks of improperly secured personal data by not browsing the web on their own PCs (no Windows implied).

  • by Jason Pollock (45537) on Monday June 06, 2011 @10:11PM (#36358934) Homepage

    Considering we've seen a story about how everyone is using the same password everywhere [slashdot.org], and how Sony got hacked again [slashdot.org], exposing even more passwords, is it any surprise that a number of people are having their iTunes and PayPal accounts attacked and drained to buy game gold?

    iTunes and PayPal are pretty huge targets, but who'd attack a single game if they had access to the back end?

    • Re: (Score:2, Redundant)

      by tlhIngan (30335)

      Quite likely actually. It seems these reports surface every few months.

      Heck, last year we've [macrumors.com] had [macrumors.com] many [slashdot.org] reports [slashdot.org] of hacked accounts being used to buy in-app purchases or raise rankings of apps.

      So, the options are either a very lowlevel iTunes hack that only seems to steal a few hundred accounts at a time (iTunes has over 250M accounts according to today's keynote), a very big breach of iTunes that someone only seems to be using a few hundred accounts at a time, or, a bunch of people got phished or used the sam

    • by DrXym (126579)
      More likely it is a vulnerability in the game or iTunes which is being exploited. No need to leap to more far fetched conclusions without some evidence to support it.
      • by Pieroxy (222434)

        Do you mean to say that the fact that some people may use the millions of passwords that are out in the street if more far fetched than believing the system has been hacked?

        I'd say it is debatable at best. As for your advice, since there are no evidence yet, I'd advise you to actually follow it.

        • by DrXym (126579)

          Do you mean to say that the fact that some people may use the millions of passwords that are out in the street if more far fetched than believing the system has been hacked?

          I'd say it is debatable at best. As for your advice, since there are no evidence yet, I'd advise you to actually follow it.

          I have no issue with the assertion that many people use the same password and id in various places. I do take issue in the automatic association of two hacks when no evidence or reason is known to think there is a connection. Perhaps if every single person reporting fraud says "yes I was a PS3 PSN account holder", the evidence might at least be circumstantial but at present it's just weak conjecture. It certainly doesn't make much sense to believe someone who might have stolen millions of accounts would use

    • by Krneki (1192201)
      This!

      It is the same with WoW accounts. They hack into poorly secured forums and use the same password and username to log into the game.
  • by raabetj (1271140) on Monday June 06, 2011 @10:24PM (#36359042)

    I very recently had the same situation that is described in the articles happen to my iTtunes Account. I received 2 emails for gift cards purchased through the iTunes store. As I was on vacation with no PC and thus no iTunes access, and not buying gift cards, I knew something was up. At first, I was thinking they were actually spam/phishing emails, as they listed the last 4 digits of a Credit Card that didn't match any of my Credit cards. Without iTunes, all I could do was access my Apple ID account through the web on my phone, and when logged into my account, I saw that my billing information had been changed.

    Luckily I had moved about 3 weeks before, and updated my billing info with my credit card, and not in iTunes (or I suspect I would have had several more app/gift card purchases on my own card.) The strange part was that they didn't change my password at all, or any security related questions. It seems as all they did was change my billing info to some one else's and buy $100 worth of gift cards (Who knows what they were used for...).

    I changed my iTunes Password, and contacted Apple Technical support, and all I got was a standard form letter about how I could dispute the charges on my credit card (even though I had pointed out that it *wasn't* my credit card info). They locked my account and after a short investigation they enabled it with no indication of anything other than their form letter.

    I will freely admit that my password was vulnerable to a dictionary attack, as in the past, I wasn't too worried about someone buying me lots of music, but have since changed it. However, I had no indication that someone was attempting to access my account. If someone was indeed using a dictionary attack on my account, I would have hoped Apple would notice several thousand invalid logins on an account and do something about it.

    I suspect there is someone named Jason in Seattle, who is wondering why they have a $100 purchase from iTunes on their MasterCard...

    • You could have left the CC info wrong and bought all kinds of software, music, gift cards, etc without "knowing" the CC data had been changed.
  • Data corruption? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Hachima (718971) on Monday June 06, 2011 @10:35PM (#36359094)
    This may be unrelated, but yesterday I noticed that my iTunes account had became corrupted with someone else's data. My first name, last name, address and registered CC number became someone else's info. Had I not noticed, I would have been making charges against this other persons account. Maybe someone wrote one messed up database query and screwed up a massive amount of people's payment association. Some users are starting to notice they have someone else's info and are going on a buying spree. Or people are just making their normal purchases and are unknowingly charging other people's accounts, like I almost did last night.
    • Obviously I have no idea what happened in your case, but it gave me an interesting thought. If you have thousands of stolen credit cards (or even just one) but are afraid of getting caught using them, making thousands of other people unknowingly use stolen credit cards by changing their stored data would make for some fantastic plausible deniability.

      • This is actually a well known tactic in carding circles.

        After you've used and abused the 'virgin' cards, it's standard fare to spam them in IRC so they are used so much so quickly by so many that you are a needle in the haystack.

    • by OverlordQ (264228)

      Some users are starting to notice they have someone else's info and are going on a buying spree. Or people are just making their normal purchases and are unknowingly charging other people's accounts, like I almost did last night.

      Or somebody hacked your account and changed the billing info.

  • Disturbing. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by w0mprat (1317953) on Monday June 06, 2011 @11:46PM (#36359456)
    From reading up on the user reports of this. It seems this has been happening in this pattern since mid to late May. Apple has inexplicably not said a damn thing (yet), but has been removing credit card details from accounts, and locking some others out. Which indicates they are aware of this issue and dealing with it. Interestingly users report they are having no problems having their balances refunded. The silence is conspicuous, no? I guess this issue getting slashdotted means Apple is going to say something.

    What worries me is they appear to have known about it for a while and are trying to clean it up as quietly as possible. If this is was a glitch one presume they would admit it in a downplayed fashion. I'd wager it is a BIG hack.

    Leaving us with two possiblities:
    1) iTunes has been seriously fckued over for teh lulz and profit and is trying to keep it quiet.

    2) Or iTunes fraud may have been a constant (but contained) background noise for some while and this isn't much of an abberation. Apple may prefer to live with some level of fraud and patch it up the leaks quietly. Just because it's trending on /. != a actual real issue.

    Either way, talk about reality distortion.
    • You missed out:

      3) Most iTunes passwords are insecure, and are also used for other accounts like Sony

      Though your option no.2 is a good description of Apple's reaction to the problem. They should probably offer another level of protection like a certificate per device for login.

      • by w0mprat (1317953)
        Thats a good point but you then forgot 3a) The usernames often the same also, not just the emails. I think use of email as login isn't helpful for security either. It shouldn't be used for anything but password resets etc.
    • by steve_bryan (2671)

      There is nothing disturbing about the results so far unless it is due to a security breach of iTMS. So far it seems more likely that this is the result of people "depending on the kindness of strangers". More explicitly, that users may be using the same username and password for multiple sites. If that is the problem it is hard to imagine what any e-commerce site could do to protect a customer other than requiring credit card information to be entered for each transaction.

      A company can take the reactive pos

  • Shouldn't this be easy to track? with the transaction ID, can't they see who bought the points in-game. Then find out if it belongs to an ipod or an iphone. If it belongs to an iphone couldn't they track that done and find out who owns it?

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