Hackers use 'Find My iPhone' to lockout, ransom Mac and iOS device owners in Australia

Posted:
in General Discussion edited May 2014
Owners of Macs and iOS devices in Australia woke up on Tuesday to find their machines locked by Find My iPhone, with the nefarious hackers responsible demanding payment via PayPal before they return control.


Message from hacked iMac. | Source: The Age


A report from Australia's The Age, as well as multiple posts on Apple's Support Communities forum, confirmed a number of device owners were targeted in what appears to be a string of related "digital hijackings." As of this writing, iPhone, iPad and Mac owners in Queensland, New South Wales, Western Australia, South Australia and Victoria have been affected by the attack.

Those targeted in the attack said their devices alerted them to a "Find My iPhone" or "Find My Mac" remote lock, with many receiving an accompanying message reading "Device hacked by Oleg Pliss." The hackers responsible then directed owners to pay up to $100 for a device unlock.

According to reports, the hackers appear to have gained access to users' iCloud accounts as multiple devices show the same message simultaneously. It is unclear how this feat was accomplished, though password reuse is a likely scenario.

Savvy owners who set an access passcode for their computer or iOS device were able to regain control of their device following receipt of the message. Limited by design, Find My iPhone's functionality only allows users to set a password for devices that don't already have one logged.

Those owners who did not set a passcode prior to the hack were reportedly unable to take back their devices. Apple provides a support page that offers a workaround to the issue, though some users may have to contact customer support to completely solve the problem.

Along with protecting an iDevice with a password, owners can set up two-factor authentication, which sends a confirmation code to a trusted device before any account changes can be made.
«1

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 31
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 30,836member
    Gotta use that 2-factor authentication, people!
  • Reply 2 of 31
    ombra2105ombra2105 Posts: 114member
    Wish I could - but it still hasn't been extended to Belgium...
  • Reply 3 of 31
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    Gotta use that 2-factor authentication, people!

    And stop using the same password for every site. No matter how complex you think your password is if you use it for more than one account you continually add all those accounts to a pool of easily hacked account as soon as your own set of credentials is known.

    My gut says they had a "secure" password that they used with different services which is how there iCloud accounts were accessible to this criminals.
  • Reply 4 of 31
    ombra2105ombra2105 Posts: 114member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post





    And stop using the same password for every site. No matter how complex you think your password is if you use it for more than one account you continually add all those accounts to a pool of easily hacked account as soon as your own set of credentials is known.



    My gut says they had a "secure" password that they used with different services which is how there iCloud accounts were accessible to this criminals.

    I no longer do this - the iCloud Keychain feature, with suggested passwords, in Mavericks/iOS 7 has been a God-send, sorry an Apple-send ;) - even under pain of torture, I have no clue what my passwords are...

  • Reply 5 of 31
    Guys, can one of you please tell me in plain old English how to prevent this? My English and understanding of what's written in the article isn't what it's supposed to be. I have a pass code on my phone. Is that sufficient to prevent being hacked? Serious answers or replies please...
  • Reply 6 of 31
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    Guys, can one of you please tell me in plain old English how to prevent this? My English and understanding of what's written in the article isn't what it's supposed to be. I have a pass code on my phone. Is that sufficient to prevent being hacked? Serious answers or replies please...

    This was unauthorized access to a user's iCloud account. That username and password can be used to lock,erase or put a message on your iPhone if you have Find My iPhone enabled. iCloud is what they gained access to, not the iPhone directly. They had their password so they changed their password on iCloud, which prevented them from accessing it again, which also prevents emails, iMessages, FaceTime, and even iTunes Store account from working.

    1) You need to go to the site below and set up 2-step authentication.

    2) You need to make sure you don't use your iCloud password with any other sites.
  • Reply 7 of 31
    solipsismx wrote: »
    This was unauthorized access to a user's iCloud account. That username and password can be used to lock,erase or put a message on your iPhone if you have Find My iPhone enabled. iCloud is what they gained access to, not the iPhone directly. They had their password so they changed their password on iCloud, which prevented them from accessing it again, which also prevents emails, iMessages, FaceTime, and even iTunes Store account from working.

    1) You need to go to the site below and set up 2-step authentication.

    2) You need to make sure you don't use your iCloud password with any other sites.


    Thanks SolipsismX!! Reading the article I got really worried and concerned considering I have very limited understanding of all this tech stuff.
  • Reply 8 of 31
    oldmacsoldmacs Posts: 81member

    Two step authentication is not changing anything. The apple discussion forum thread  show there have  been cases today where the password has been changed by apple and then the devices re locked. Something bigger is going on and its localised to Australia. 

  • Reply 9 of 31
    taniwhataniwha Posts: 347member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by oldmacs View Post

     

    Two step authentication is not changing anything. The apple discussion forum thread  show there have  been cases today where the password has been changed by apple and then the devices re locked. Something bigger is going on and its localised to Australia. 


    What me worry. It just works and Apple is secure as fort Knox isn't it ?

  • Reply 10 of 31
    hill60hill60 Posts: 6,989member

    My Ebay password was different to my iCloud password.

     

    That could explain why I wasn't affected.

     

    I also password lock all my devices and use multiple email accounts.

     

    Strange that it's only happening here in Australia.

  • Reply 11 of 31
    It will spread, dont worry.
    Shame to Apple there is no two-factor auth in all EU countries.
  • Reply 12 of 31
    ombra2105ombra2105 Posts: 114member

    We are a European Union after all, are we not. I know that we don't yet have the Digital Single Market, nevertheless it shouldn't be to difficult to approve more EU carriers for the SMS facility that is tied to 2-step authentication? Or am I missing something...

  • Reply 13 of 31
    taniwhataniwha Posts: 347member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by ombra2105 View Post

     

    We are a European Union after all, are we not. I know that we don't yet have the Digital Single Market, nevertheless it shouldn't be to difficult to approve more EU carriers for the SMS facility that is tied to 2-step authentication? Or am I missing something...


    It doesn't have anything to do with politics unless I am very mistaken. Apple is a US company and the rest of the world is not firmly in their crosshairs.

  • Reply 14 of 31
    ombra2105ombra2105 Posts: 114member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Taniwha View Post

     

    It doesn't have anything to do with politics unless I am very mistaken. Apple is a US company and the rest of the world is not firmly in their crosshairs.


     

    You're absolutely right that it has nothing to do with politics, it was more of a general comment on the disparity in terms of availaibility of Apple's online services throughout the EU.

  • Reply 15 of 31
    taniwhataniwha Posts: 347member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by ombra2105 View Post

     
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Taniwha View Post

     

    It doesn't have anything to do with politics unless I am very mistaken. Apple is a US company and the rest of the world is not firmly in their crosshairs.


     

    You're absolutely right that it has nothing to do with politics, it was more of a general comment on the disparity in terms of availaibility of Apple's online services throughout the EU.


    But then it seems that whatever policy Apple follows (and I don't think anybody really knows what that might be) to determine which services will be made available, is treated on a country-by-country basis. I don't think Apple regards the EU as a unit, which is actually quite understandable in regard to the national laws,regulations and customs/culture that Apple has to deal with. Also I think that there are often copyright and licensing or contractual arrangements with Carriers/ISPs that probably are not negotiated EU wide. I dunno, but it looks like that is the case.

  • Reply 16 of 31
    moxommoxom Posts: 325member

    I've not been affected as I live in the UK.

     

    However, I've just enabled two-step authentication anyway... ;)

  • Reply 17 of 31
    hill60hill60 Posts: 6,989member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Taniwha View Post

     

    It doesn't have anything to do with politics unless I am very mistaken. Apple is a US company and the rest of the world is not firmly in their crosshairs.


     

    Yay, Australia, all the way with LBJ, is really paying off.

  • Reply 18 of 31
    jungmarkjungmark Posts: 6,657member
    The weakest link will always be the human element.
  • Reply 19 of 31
    ghostface147ghostface147 Posts: 1,629member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by ombra2105 View Post

     

    I no longer do this - the iCloud Keychain feature, with suggested passwords, in Mavericks/iOS 7 has been a God-send, sorry an Apple-send ;) - even under pain of torture, I have no clue what my passwords are...


    I would love to except I can't use it on Windows, which is my primary machine I use at home.  

  • Reply 20 of 31
    b9botb9bot Posts: 238member

    1 total case reported doesn't make this a story people. Just 1 person reported this. This is sensationalism from whomever wrote this.

    Make sure your password is decent and move along people, nothing to see here.

Sign In or Register to comment.