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Hackers Claim Access To 300 Million iCloud Accounts, Demand $75,000 From Apple To Delete the Cache of Data (vice.com) 122

A hacker or group of hackers calling themselves the "Turkish Crime Family" claim they have access to at least 300 million iCloud accounts, and will delete the alleged cache of data if Apple pays a ransom by early next month. Motherboard is reporting that the hackers are demanding "$75,000 in Bitcoin or Ethereum, another increasingly popular crypto-currency, or $100,000 worth of iTunes gift cards in exchange for deleting the alleged cache of data." From the report: The hackers provided screenshots of alleged emails between the group and members of Apple's security team. One also gave Motherboard access to an email account allegedly used to communicate with Apple. "Are you willing to share a sample of the data set?" an unnamed member of Apple's security team wrote to the hackers a week ago, according to one of the emails stored in the account. (According to the email headers, the return-path of the email is to an address with the @apple.com domain). The hackers also uploaded a YouTube video of them allegedly logging into some of the stolen accounts. The hacker appears to access an elderly woman's iCloud account, which includes backed-up photos, and the ability to remotely wipe the device. Now, the hackers are threatening to reset a number of the iCloud accounts and remotely wipe victim's Apple devices on April 7, unless Apple pays the requested amount. According to one of the emails in the accessed account, the hackers claim to have access to over 300 million Apple email accounts, including those use @icloud and @me domains. However, the hackers appear to be inconsistent in their story; one of the hackers then claimed they had 559 million accounts in all. The hackers did not provide Motherboard with any of the supposedly stolen iCloud accounts to verify this claim, except those shown in the video.
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Hackers Claim Access To 300 Million iCloud Accounts, Demand $75,000 From Apple To Delete the Cache of Data

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  • Two factor (Score:5, Funny)

    by Chewbacon ( 797801 ) on Wednesday March 22, 2017 @06:48PM (#54091921)

    Let's see if all this 2-factor authentication is everything it's cracked up to be!

    • Let's see if all this 2-factor authentication is everything it's cracked up to be!

      Since this is starting to sound like yet another case of people being lazy with passwords, it's unlikely anyone affected has two-factor authentication enabled.

      • by tattood ( 855883 )

        Let's see if all this 2-factor authentication is everything it's cracked up to be!

        Since this is starting to sound like yet another case of people being lazy with passwords, it's unlikely anyone affected has two-factor authentication enabled.

        You don't get access to 300 million account by guessing passwords or phishing. You get it by hacking Apple directly and stealing the backend data. Either way, anyone with an iCloud account should change their password just to be sure.

  • Stupid question (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Locke2005 ( 849178 ) on Wednesday March 22, 2017 @06:53PM (#54091951)
    So, if Apple can convince everybody to change their password, they will have zero stolen accounts? Or have the hackers already changed the passwords?
  • $75k? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Moheeheeko ( 1682914 ) on Wednesday March 22, 2017 @06:54PM (#54091967)
    Do they know its Apple they have by the balls?
    • Do they know its Apple they have by the balls?

      Well, it's not like they are going to really delete it.

      • Do they know its Apple they have by the balls?

        Well, it's not like they are going to really delete it.

        And it's not like Apple doesn't have backups.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      They are just negotiating the bug bounty reward.

    • Do they know its Apple they have by the balls?

      They don't have anybody by the balls. There is a big, big difference between opening your big mouth and claiming you have access to 300 million iTunes accounts, and having access to 300 million iTunes accounts.

      And one of the "hackers" will get his ass spanked by his grandma for deleting her account.

      • by rtb61 ( 674572 ) on Wednesday March 22, 2017 @08:19PM (#54092419) Homepage

        Why would anyone publicise blackmail. Seriously, think about it, makes no sense at all. It publicly forces Apple into a corner where they are aiding and abetting crime by paying the ransom, so no ransom can be paid. So a mass invasion of privacy, why, no ransom? So who benefits by a publicised mass invasion or privacy, someone who already hugely and grossly invades privacy on a mass scale and wants to attack Apple to prove it can not provide privacy. Only one culprit really fits that bill and corporate espionage on all sorts of scale was inevitable and is happening. So which corporation most hates Apples ability to sell 'you' privacy, whilst that disgusting filthy vile company is selling 'your' privacy, M$. This really does stink of a corporate funded attack, maybe not from the top but most certainly from a major investor.

        For Apple to prove itself it must act with an extreme corporate legal vengeance, can Apple buy privacy, in this case it most certainly, by offering ten times the blackmail demand with reward for the culprits and those who paid them. Most likely source of the hackers, corrupt intelligence services, contracts or ex-agents (Turkey recently conducted a purge).

        • by JaredOfEuropa ( 526365 ) on Wednesday March 22, 2017 @08:26PM (#54092449) Journal
          Alternatively, this is a bunch of script kiddies who managed to guess the password to a handful of accounts, and are now trying to make a name for themselves.
          • Another possibility is these guys got hold of known-cracked account info (e.g. Yahoo accounts) and then script-kiddied their way through the list to find the ones which were using the same credentials on iCloud.com.

          • Alternatively, this is a bunch of script kiddies who managed to guess the password to a handful of accounts, and are now trying to make a name for themselves.

            I'm betting its a PR stunt for Ethereum

        • It publicly forces Apple into a corner where they are aiding and abetting crime by paying the ransom, so no ransom can be paid.

          That's not how ransom works. Any time there is a ransom request, the victim is allowed to pay it if the outcome is likely to be more desirable than not paying it. Where did you get the idea that paying a ransom was illegal? Happens all the time.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      1. You are assuming they are telling the truth.

      2. All 300 million people don't live in the same town. That's going to raise a red flag with the login process.

      3. They can't delete all 300 million at once. They can't delete a significant fraction of 300 million at once. You block IPs once you see them appear.

      4. Turning the honeypot on when it hits April 7 is pretty easy.

      5. You are assuming they are telling the truth.

    • Re:$75k? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by wonkey_monkey ( 2592601 ) on Wednesday March 22, 2017 @07:54PM (#54092287) Homepage

      Yeah, they're realy under-pricing their hoard, assuming they really have it.

      I wonder if they just compromised enough accounts via other means in the hopes of passing light scrutiny and $75,000 was the most they thought they might possibly get away with asking for without anyone bothering to take a closer look.

      • I wonder if they just compromised enough accounts via other means in the hopes of passing light scrutiny and $75,000 was the most they thought they might possibly get away with asking for without anyone bothering to take a closer look.

        Or they request 75k for starters, then after being paid, they do make another request, of 10 times that amount.

    • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
      For 75K the FBI adds a one to the federal US computer crime statistics.
      At around 78K and above the FBI sends out two agents.
    • Funny, but $75k is probably just the amount of money Apple gives to a secretary as a yearly bonus. Meaning not a big deal. Meaning, if Apple pays the hackers will likely ask even more...
  • heart cloud (Score:5, Funny)

    by fluffernutter ( 1411889 ) on Wednesday March 22, 2017 @06:59PM (#54091991)
    Love the cloud. Love the cloud. Love the cloud. Love the CLOUD.
  • A hacker or group of hackers calling themselves the "Turkish Crime Family" claim they have access to at least 300 million iCloud accounts, and will delete the alleged cache of data if Apple pays a ransom by early next month. Motherboard is reporting that the hackers are demanding "$75,000 in Bitcoin or Ethereum, another increasingly popular crypto-currency, or $100,000 worth of iTunes gift cards in exchange for deleting the alleged cache of data." From the report:

    If Apple pays the data gets deleted - simple solution is to not pay. A far more complex solution is editing summaries at a 5th grade level or above.

    • by Lehk228 ( 705449 )
      iTunes gift cards

      lol dumbasses don't realize that apple can issue and cancel itunes gift cards however they wish.
      • Apparently it's a problem. Apple has an article on it on the front of their support page.
        • Apparently it's a problem. Apple has an article on it on the front of their support page.

          You don't even understand what "it" is.

      • That's why they asked for used itunes cards in low denominations with no sequential serial numbers, so they couldn't be tracked.
  • by TheDarkener ( 198348 ) on Wednesday March 22, 2017 @07:19PM (#54092115) Homepage

    I had a client a few years back that accidentally deleted 10 years worth of personal photos because they thought they were only deleting them from iCloud, not knowing it would delete it from their computer as well.

    I say, if people are fucking stupid enough to entrust a third party with their data and not back it up independently, they get what they deserve.

    Back up your shit, and back it up to YOUR OWN MEDIA.

    • by Striek ( 1811980 ) on Wednesday March 22, 2017 @08:08PM (#54092341)

      I can't believe shit like this gets modded up. People like you - the ones who blame the user - give people like me a bad name.

      They put it on iCloud - as far as they know, THAT IS A FUCKING BACKUP. They have independently set up an iCloud backup, as far as they are aware. Calling them stupid does nothing to address the cause, which in your example, is a shitty user interface provided by Apple that did not adequately inform the user of the effects of the action in question.

      No, they do not "deserve" this. They made a simple mistake. We all do. Believing an iCloud copy is a reliable backup is a perfectly reasonable assumption to a layperson. They have a copy on their iPhone, and a backup copy in an iCloud account. Or conversely, they have a copy in an iCloud account, and a backup stored on their iPhone - THEIR OWN FUCKING MEDIA.

      You seem to not understand that not everyone should be expected to maintain the level of knowledge you have on this matter. They don't understand it - so they place their trust in Apple - who, by all accounts, should know a hell of a lot more about this matter than they do.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        What a rubbish comment 'Believing an iCloud copy is a reliable backup is a perfectly reasonable assumption to a layperson'' you should never make an assumption, it takes 5 mins to run a quick google search to confirm. I hate hearing people who are always looking to point the finger and blame someone else for their mistakes.

        • You should never make an assumption

          The problem with that comment is that you have to know a certain amount of what you are doing in order to realize whether you are making an assumption or not. You might say a person should know at least that much about computers before using one, but that has never been who Apple sells to. Apple is supposed to 'just work'. These people probably don't know the difference between an email attachment and a file in the finder, so now their thinking they can't delete email attachment because it will affect th

      • Meh.

        Thinking of iCloud as a "backup" is akin to thinking that having 2 broadband modems will help when your ISP goes down.

    • -1 uninsightful and -1 overrated

      Deleting all of your copies of data means you have no more copies, regardless of where those copies used to be.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 22, 2017 @09:03PM (#54092677)

      I call total BULLSHIT on this story:

      1) when you delete a picture there is a pop up warning you that the picture will be delete from ALL devices.

      2) deleted pictures are not deleted, they are moved to the trash album, in which they reside for 30 days, then and only then they are truly deleted. You just go to the trash album, select the pics and tap the recover button.

      • I've never used iCloud, I don't really understand #1. What if you legitimately want to remove your files just from iCloud, how do you do that then? It doesn't seem logical to me to respond to a user requesting to delete one representation of a file by deleting ALL representations of the file.
    • ARE you afraid that AFTER waiting for 10 years, you will be TOO tempted to hit the DEL key on your macbook and WIPING everything you unknowingly uploaded to the Cloud?

      FEAR NOT. Introducing the keyboard exercise! By doing a daily keyboard exercise per week, you can ensure your key-smashing excitement is well satisfied. It will also enhance your bodily excitement for a health life.

      WHAT are you waiting for? Complete your daily keyboard exercise TODAY.

      Disclaimers: May cause pain, numbness and soreness on head,

    • I'd like to add to this that people should also avoid proprietary file formats like the plague if they're interested in long-term storage. That nifty program to do X on MacOS will be gone with the wind in 10-20 years from now.
  • or they'd be asking for a lot more money. But I hope they do it. Apple fan boy tears are the best tears. Burn that walled garden :)

  • Do we have any idea how they managed to compromise 300k accounts?
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Are you sure they're Turkish hackers? Didn't you really mean Russian hackers? There's only two kinds of hackers in the world: Russian hackers, and the hacker known as 4chan.

  • by technicalnotebook ( 1812518 ) on Wednesday March 22, 2017 @10:34PM (#54093119) Homepage
    While time will tell the extent of this, I have been recommending the following to my friends (copied verbatim from https://www.facebook.com/stuar... [facebook.com] ).

    As a precaution, here are some prudent tips:
    1. Log into your Apple Account at https://appleid.apple.com/ [apple.com] and enable two-factor authentication if you haven't already (see https://support.apple.com/en-a... [apple.com]) .
    2. While you are there, if you have not changed your password in a while, consider doing that too (https://support.apple.com/en-au/HT201355).
    3. As the threats include the threat of remotely wiping devices, you can disable this on each of your iCloud connected devices. See Macworld's good article on how to do this for each device type: http://www.macworld.co.uk/how-... [macworld.co.uk] . Note that if you do this, you will also be unable to use the Find my iPhone/iPad/Mac feature. Until more details come out, personally I feel this is acceptable given the risk.
    4. When you are logged in at https://appleid.apple.com/acco... [apple.com], check to ensure there are no devices you do not recognise under 'Devices'.
    5. For the next few weeks, periodically do a local backup using iTunes of your iDevices. See https://support.apple.com/en-a... [apple.com] and click on 'Use iTunes'. I recommend you also set a backup password, this encrypts the backup and stores additional information making a future restore easier.
    6. As always, BACKUP BACKUP BACKUP. For your Mac, I would already hope you have backups in place. If not, my favourite is CrashPlan http://crashplan.com/ [crashplan.com] and I have used it for years/put many friends onto it also.
    Time will tell what will happen with these accounts, it never hurts to take a few prudent steps until the community at large knows more.
  • the iTunes gift cards are probably marked.

    • the iTunes gift cards are probably marked.

      They contain explosive dye packets which trigger once the card gets too far away from any hipsters.

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