iPad, iPhone data hacked of 12 million

2012-09-04 17:46

Washington - A hacker group has claimed to have obtained personal data from 12 million Apple iPhone and iPad users by breaching an FBI computer, raising concerns about government tracking.

The group called AntiSec, linked to the hacking collective known as Anonymous, posted one million Apple user identifiers claimed to be part of a larger group of 12 million, purportedly obtained from an FBI laptop.

Contacted by AFP, FBI spokesperson Jenny Shearer said: "We're not commenting."

Peter Kruse, an e-crime specialist with CSIS Security Group in Denmark, said on Twitter that the leak "is real" and that he confirmed three of his own devices in the leaked data.

"Also notice that they claim to have fullname, adresses, phone numbers etc... Big ouch!" he tweeted.

Eric Hemmendinger, a security expert with Tata Communications, said the report raises concerns about the protectors of cybersecurity.

"The question is not whether it's accurate, it is why did the feds have the information and why did they not take due care to secure it," he told AFP.

Hemmendinger said that based on past reports from Anonymous and related groups, he believes the report is probably true.

"If you work in cybersecurity and your machine gets hacked, that's a pretty embarrassing scenario," he said.


Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Social media and news blogs were aflutter with the news. The tech blog Geekosystem called it "one of the worst privacy disasters yet" and various Twitter comments said the news suggested the FBI is tracking Apple users.

One website set up a database to help users determine if their device was on the hacked list of Apple unique device IDs (UDIDs).

"Quite why the FBI was collecting the UDIDs and personal information of millions of iPhone and iPad users is not yet clear - but it's obvious that the data (and the computer it was apparently stored on) was not adequately secured," said Graham Cluley of the British security firm Sophos.

"My suspicion is that the hackers were more interested in embarrassing the FBI's team than endangering innocent users. All the same, hacking into computers is a criminal act - and I would anticipate that the FBI and other law enforcement agencies will be keen to hunt down those responsible."

Others expressed concern about the apparent leak.

"Since UDIDs are unique to each iPhone and iPad, having yours end up in the wrong hands is a concern," said Josh Ong on the technology blog The Next Web.

From anywhere

"The bigger issue, however, is that they were tied to additional personal information, including user names, device names, notification tokens, cell phone numbers and addresses, that could potentially lead to identity theft."

Johannes Ullrich of the SANS Internet Storm Centre said it was difficult to verify the report.

"There is nothing else in the file that would implicate the FBI. So this data may very well come from another source. But it is not clear who would have a file like this," he told AFP.

Ullrich said it is unclear why the FBI, if the report were true, would have the data.

"The size of the file... would imply a widespread, not a targeted tracking operation, or the file was just kept in case any of the users in the file needs to be tracked," he said.

"The significance of this breach very much hinges on the source, which as far as I know, hasn't been authenticated yet. The data is, however, real based on some of the reports that people do find their own UDID in the file."

  • RRRainium - 2012-09-04 17:53

    Im still going to buy myself an iPad

      rachell.lass - 2012-09-04 18:45

      Well that makes you an idiot.

      Mandy Casey - 2012-09-04 18:54

      So you think other lists don't exist? That makes you short sighted and naive.

      ianon.ym - 2012-09-04 18:54

      iHacked :)

      Tony Lapson - 2012-09-05 08:01

      Jaco, congratulations on the Apple mentality. "Apple is better because it is more expensive." Shame.

      Havokreeka - 2012-09-05 08:34

      Yeah Jaco, that's some real Apple mentality. Apple is over priced rubbish. My girlfriend has an ipad and an iphone, so I'm well aware of what crap it is. Android all the way.

      Havokreeka - 2012-09-05 10:59

      11 Mac-users dislike my previous post. Denial!

  • tendai.joe - 2012-09-04 17:53

    This is a disaster

      Havokreeka - 2012-09-05 11:12

      No it's not, don't be s melodramatic. Japan's Tsunami was a disaster. This is just a bunch of macintosh bunnies losing some basic information. The real disasters are: 1) Why is Apple allowed to sell it's products at such a retarded price when it basically runs it's factories on slave labour. 2) The patriot Act, invading people's freedom. 3) Why is the FBI sitting with 12 million apple users information on an unsecured laptop. 4) People still being stupid enough to fall for Apples marketing

  • Dr.Ntsele - 2012-09-04 17:55

    why don't they hack Apple.. the anti competition bastards.

      Tony Lapson - 2012-09-04 18:59

      Nothing major can be accomplished by hacking the apple website or data bases. It is also most likely that any truly valuable information will have no way of being accessed online. On the other hand, if they damage Apple's reputation, then Apple won't have anything to lean back on besides clever marketing.

  • herman.heil - 2012-09-04 18:04 bs

  • kseyffert - 2012-09-04 18:29

    And now we know why the US court fine Samsung so heavily... the FBI have not cracked Samsung yet so they don't want the stuff in the US..... Seriously though, this is worrying if it is true. Why in the world would the FBI do this to their own people, the very people they are supposed to be protecting. Very worrying if it true.

      ianon.ym - 2012-09-04 18:56

      Patriot Act - they want to know, what they want to know ...

      Havokreeka - 2012-09-05 08:36

      The sooner you chumps realise that the government doesn't have your best interest at heart, the better. The federal government wants to control people, no protect them.

  • Mandy Casey - 2012-09-04 18:57

    Exactly the same as RICA in ZA, just waiting to be hacked.

      jcoetzee1975 - 2012-09-04 19:37

      You cannot hack piles and piles of paper in a documents facility, unused.

      Mandy Casey - 2012-09-04 19:48

      RICA is an electronic process. Why do you think the government wants all your details including ID number or passport?

  • fhumulani - 2012-09-04 19:03

    Wow good news, A sacrifice in user Privacy Puts the whole Rotten Apple business in danger as the develop both hardware and Software, Blame it on iCloud I guess. Anti Competition.

  • vincent.sevenster.7 - 2012-09-04 19:05

    Going to get out my trusty Nokia 3310, as I'm sure Android is probably also hacked, it being open source and all!

      Havokreeka - 2012-09-05 08:42

      Actually no, you retard. Android doesn't insist on tracking every movement its users make. It also allows you to do things anonymously. Besides, Anonymous only hacks people and companies that do wrong. Numerous government officials, Sony (Playstation Network), Westboro Baptist Church and the church of scientology are among these previously targeted. There was a reason behind each attack and a damn good one. This hack was for 1 of 2 reasons. A) To disgrace the FBI and reveal what they were getting up to in the name of the patriot act. B) Revenge on Samung's behalf for suing them for something they actually did first but didn't patent.

      lydonmcg - 2012-09-05 09:01

      It's amusing intelligent adults can get over a phone.

      vincent.sevenster.7 - 2012-09-05 17:40

      @ Dieter - And what makes you think that just because Android allows you to do certain things anonymously, it can't be hacked or traced, whether by a hacking group, or by a government agency. Seeing as its source code is publicly available, it would be even easier for someone to hack than iOS. I've worked in the telecoms industry as well as IT, so I think I have a wee bit more experience here than you... Oh, and I do have an Android operated phone... obviously you don't get tongue in cheek comments.

      vincent.sevenster.7 - 2012-09-06 09:36

      @Havokreeka And continuing on that trend....

  • fhumulani - 2012-09-04 19:06

    Wow good news, A sacrifice in user Privacy Puts the whole Rotten Apple business in danger as the develop both hardware and Software, Blame it on iCloud I guess. Anti Competition.

  • wayne.abroue - 2012-09-04 19:26

    All those Crapberries will be next,,,

      ianon.ym - 2012-09-04 20:00

      iBerries to Wayne, jou Ma se iPad :)))

      RyanMcRSA - 2012-09-05 01:40

      No they won't. There's a reason the BlackBerry is known for there security and trusted the world over by governments. There has (to my knowledge) never been a virus that has successfully targeted BlackBerry, nor a team who have hacked in and stolen info from BlackBerry. The same can not be said for Apple, on numerous occasions they have been hacked.

      otto.vorster - 2012-09-05 07:02

      @ Wayne, it has already happened: @RyanMcRSA, I never write on these forums but after having read your ignorant comment that Blackberry has never been hacked "To your Knowledge" I just had to respond. Posting such a statement whilst having access to the internet and "Google" at your fingertips indicates disappointing laziness and a serious case of verbal diarrhea. May I suggest you take the 60 seconds it took me to next time check your statements before frivolously posting.

      RyanMcRSA - 2012-09-05 12:52

      @otto.vorster I have Googled it on a few occassions

  • caspertg - 2012-09-05 08:55

    So either the fbi hacked apple or appl gave them the info. Either way, apple can't be trusted. Anybody know if the I'd's were limited to U.S citizens or if its a random list? Have any users been able to verify their I'd on the list?

  • dnxumalo2 - 2012-09-05 08:55

    Stupid FBI no wonder they failed to come up with weapons of mass destruction that they were looking for inside Saddam Hussein's dentures.Suckers.

  • ryan.byrne.522 - 2012-09-05 09:06

    Apple were going to make an ipod touch for kids. Its called the itouchkids :P

      sarah.bouttell - 2012-09-05 09:15

      Yes. Because paedophile jokes are definitely the way to go when you run out of intelligent things to say?

  • darkangelBDF - 2012-09-05 10:11

    I think people are being a little ignorant here... They didn't hack the actual devices if you read the article PROPERLY. They hacked the FBI database which stored information about the devices... To all the anti-Apple supporters... I love my iPhone and won't ever go back. It's easy to use if you spend time learning the ins and outs. It's durable and not any dumb nut can create applications for it (whereas Android is open source). Apple can't be held responsible if the government do these kinds of things, i.e. track its citizens down to such a level. This kind of information is easily obtainable from cellular providers. Android is the most exposed mobile OS out there so if you want to leave yourself open to more attacks than iOS people have to worry about, be my guest. All you do is show your ignorance over the topic. Claiming Android is safer shows your lack of intellect at using the internet to obtain true statistics. Also, I have seen some people who are not as techno savvy as I am (being an IT professional). Yet after a day or two on their Apples they are happy and easily using even its advanced features. I'd say do some research instead of bashing a product you actually don't know inside and out. I've had Nokia, HTC, Sony Ericsson and Samsung. I still rate my iPhone the highest. I'd never touch Blackberry and Apple would have to crumble and fall before I'd ever go back to any of the others.

  • ludlowdj - 2012-09-05 12:27

    face facts the US has never played by the rules anyway, their excuse? the normal national security bullsh*t, but the truth is that Passive chips are being put into everything from car tyres to plastic containers so avoiding tracking is near impossible anyway, don't forget that the US military controls and has exclusive rights to the worlds GPS system anyway. It doesn't matter who you are or where you live, the US can locate and track you if they want.

      Roger Locker - 2012-09-05 13:19

      and that is why Bin Laden was found so quickly, lol

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