Hackers Held 250 Million iPhones for Ransom to Blackmail Apple
Apple recently received a threat from a hacker claiming to have over 250 million iPhone accounts as well as all the data on those accounts. He sent an email to Apples support team demanding a large amount of money or else he would factory reset 250 million accounts within a few days.
The accounts that were breached store valuable customer data such as their photos, games, apps and music. Now imagine 250 million accounts worth of data, you probably couldn’t imagine it and neither could Apple so they had to take this threat seriously.
This hacker sent a few accounts to Apple as a sort of proof of crime so they know that he isn’t bluffing stating that Apple had to pay him £52,000 or he would factory reset every account that he had. Apple did not respond as quickly as they should have and this angered the hacker, so he decided to go even further. He recorded a YouTube video of him accessing these accounts and “messing” with them in order to get a response from Apple.
He then made a final email that would be sure to get their attention and it’s a pretty scary one. He said in this email that he has access to 250 million iPhone accounts, so deleting them by hand would take years. Obviously if this hacker could get access to the iPhones then he would be able to bulk delete them too, which he said. “I have enough power to factory reset 150 accounts per minute per script, and we can process 17 scripts per server.” This was enough to get a response from Apple but it was not sent to him, they decided that this was a matter that only the police and investigators could deal with since it is an extremely illegal operation in which the public’s data is exposed.
The hacker was stopped
This hacker was not very careful when he was treading around the internet however since law enforcement in the UK managed to find traces of him and eventually arrested him in his own home. The police seized valuable equipment like computers, phones and any devices they could find but they were only able to arrest him since they could not locate the other hackers.
A few days ago he was seen in court with blackmail charges which could lead to prison time; however the judge decided that he was not trying to be destructive. They said he was just trying to receive fame from the media and he plead guilty of blackmail but he did not see himself as a cyber criminal like he appeared to be.
He did not receive prison time; instead he received a lot of community service and a year of un-paid work. This will teach him to stay away from cyber crime and of course he destroyed all the databases that he had meaning that the Apple accounts are safe. It’s still scary to think that 250 million accounts were almost destroyed in an attempt to get money.
His side of the story
“I’m a business-driven person,” Albayrak says, “and never intended to be publicised as a cyber-criminal.” He tells me that he had been working on a “database search engine” that would enable people “to pull strings from breached databases online and secure their accounts.” This was the database that he had put up for sale, Albayrak says, as he needed funding to market his idea. Then things started going wrong. Albayrak came up with the idea to “whip up a storm of press coverage informing Apple and users of the compromised data which was shown and then launch the website.”
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