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.