A mysterious group of hackers is allegedly extorting Apple, demanding a huge ransom over a large cache of iCloud and other Apple email accounts.
In other words, the hackers are threatening to wipe over 300,000 iPhones’ data if Apple don’t pay $75,000 (£60,000) in Bitcoin – or, bizarrely, $100,000 (£80,000) worth of iTunes gift cards.
The hackers – otherwise known as the Turkish Crime Family – are threatening to reset a number of the iCloud accounts and remotely destroy data from victim’s Apple devices on April 7, unless Apple hands over the requested amount, reports Motherboard.
They claim to have access to hundreds of millions of users’ accounts, and they also claim to have already accessed an elderly lady’s account and published a personal video belonging to the victim to YouTube as proof of their capabilities and their commitment to the threat.
One of the hackers told Motherboard:
I just want my money and thought this would be an interesting report that a lot of Apple customers would be interested in reading and hearing.
Motherboard was given access to the communications between the hackers and an alleged Apple team member, who said archived messages will be sent to the authorities.
Beyond the evidence shown to Motherboard, which constitutes little more than screenshots of emails, there’s little proof the Turkish Crime Family can or will do what they are threatening.
However, British computer security expert Graham Cluley wrote on Bitdefender’s Hot for Security blog, saying:
If it’s true that the hackers are attempting to engage with the media in an attempt to increase their chances of a substantial payout then that would be in line with an increasingly common technique deployed by extortionists.
What we don’t know is whether the email exchanges between the hackers and Apple are real or faked, and – indeed – whether the so-called ‘Turkish Crime Gang’ really has access to a large number of Apple users’ credentials.
This type of cyber crime and extortion is becoming increasingly common but it is unusual for a tech giant such as Apple Inc. to be targeted on such a grand scale.
Regardless, I think I’ll finally back up my data… Just in case.