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Hacker tricks AppleCare into exposing writer's iCloud login

updated 09:37 am EDT, Mon August 6, 2012

Mistake wipes out Wired writer's digital footprint

A writer for Wired, Mat Honan, says he has confirmed with both Apple and the hacker that victimized him that his iCloud account was recently compromised by a "social engineering" trick with AppleCare. The hacker managed to get an AppleCare support staffer to skip security questions, and then reset Honan's password, giving the hacker complete access to anything tied to Honan's iCloud account or email address. This included not only personal and Gizmodo Twitter accounts, but also Honan's Gmail account, which was completely wiped out. Making matters even more severe, the hacker used Find My iPhone to perform remote wipes of Honan's Mac, iPhone, and iPad.

The writer says he is working with Apple and Google to recover lost data, and Apple in fact currently has his MacBook. He has also regained control of all the accounts he knows the hacker got access to, but adds he is still trying to determine what else the hacker might have cracked.

The incident may raise serious questions about the security of AppleCare. It may also spawn worries about the increasingly close integration of iCloud into Apple products, since a breach in one area can potentially leave a person's digital life completely exposed, depending on how much they've entrusted Apple with.




by MacNN Staff

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Comments

  1. Grendelmon

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: 12-26-07

    "The hacker managed to get an AppleCare support staffer to skip security questions..."


    WTF?!?

  1. BLAZE_MkIV

    Professional Poster

    Joined: 02-23-00

    Its called social engineering. Like standing on a street corner trading passwords for candy bars.

  1. Grendelmon

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: 12-26-07

    If Apple isn't going to take iCloud seriously, then let them suffer the consequences of this negative press. What's the point of having "security questions" if the AppleCare rep doesn't follow policy?

    I say this just two days after upgrading from 10.6.8 to Mountain Lion. iCloud is disabled on my Mac, as well as my iPad. My "cloud" consists of a collection of DVDs, USB sticks and SD cards in a safety deposit box in my bank. You know, where I actually have to show photo ID, provide my account number as well as my deposit box number to get in. :)

  1. Xinnix

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 11-11-03

    I agree...... WTF!
    I always thought AppleCare was a warranty extension on your hardware.

    When did it become a password reset option?

  1. msuper69

    Professional Poster

    Joined: 01-16-00

    There's nothing wrong with AppleCare.
    The problem is with the Apple staffer that didn't follow proper procedure.
    That person had better be chastised/fired.
    They are the cause of the security breach.
    There is nothing that can be made 100% secure as long as human beings are part of the equation.

    This same story could be about Amazon, a financial institution or any other place that requires a login and password.

  1. blahblahbber

    Banned

    Joined: 02-01-05

    Originally Posted by GrendelmonView Post

    If Apple isn't going to take iCloud seriously, then let them suffer the consequences of this negative press. What's the point of having "security questions" if the AppleCare rep doesn't follow policy?
    I say this just two days after upgrading from 10.6.8 to Mountain Lion. iCloud is disabled on my Mac, as well as my iPad. My "cloud" consists of a collection of DVDs, USB sticks and SD cards in a safety deposit box in my bank. You know, where I actually have to show photo ID, provide my account number as well as my deposit box number to get in. :)

    Totally agree with you on this, 110%

  1. Spheric Harlot

    Clinically Insane

    Joined: 11-07-99

    Originally Posted by GrendelmonView Post

    If Apple isn't going to take iCloud seriously, then let them suffer the consequences of this negative press. What's the point of having "security questions" if the AppleCare rep doesn't follow policy?


    True.

    The rep erred on the side of good will. Which he cannot, if he wants to do his job properly.

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