Apple denies iCloud breach was responsible for device lockout attack, advises users to change passwords

icloud

Last night we reported that several Mac and iOS users were finding their devices remotely locked by hackers who had gained access to the users’ Find My iPhone accounts and demanded a ransom to return the devices to a working state.

Today Apple issued a statement on the problem, noting that—as suspected—the iCloud service itself was not actually breached, but individual user accounts may have been compromised through password reuse or social engineering:

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Australian Mac and iOS users find devices remotely locked, held for ransom (and how to keep yours safe)

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The Sydney Morning Herald reports that several Australian Mac, iPhone, and iPad users are finding that their devices have been locked remotely through Apple’s Find My iPhone service by someone using the name “Oleg Pliss.” The hacker (or hackers) then demand payments of around $50 to $100 to an anonymous PayPal account in order to restore the devices to their owners.

An active thread on Apple’s support forum was started yesterday as users started to discover that they had been targeted by the attack. According to that discussion, users are finding all of their devices locked at once rather than a single device per user. Based on that report and the fact that Find My iPhone is being used to hold the devices hostage, it seems likely that the perpetrator has gained access to these users’ iCloud accounts—possibly through password reuse by those users—rather than some device-specific malware or hack.

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Video: Connect your iPad to the Internet via Ethernet cable with this easy hack

iPad connected to the Internet via Ethernet only

iPad connected to the Internet via Ethernet only

After seeing an eager Redditor discuss their setup for deploying iPads online with just an Ethernet connection, I was curious myself to see if I could get my iPad Air to be wireless-less as well.

It’s obviously not an ideal way to use a tablet in 2014, as it’s probably easier and cheaper to travel with an inexpensive router than the equipment required to get your iPad wired in. But if you have the equipment lying around or just want to experience the proof-of-concept for yourself, it’s certainly a strange thing to witness.

Check below for the setup I used as well as my video experience. Read more

How to: Use a password manager to have strong, unique passwords for each website

Image: redorbit.com

Image: redorbit.com

Evernote, Adobe, even Apple … just a few of the companies who have found their user data compromised by hackers in recent times. The possibility of a hacker being able to access one of your web accounts is worrying enough – but if you use the same email address and password for almost all the websites you use, the risk becomes huge.

The first thing a hacker does when they get hold of a list of usernames and passwords is to use automated software to fire them at a whole bunch of popular websites. That means your online security is only as good as the most vulnerable of the websites you visit. Not good.

The answer, of course, is to use a unique – and strong – password for each website you access. But that creates its own hassles. Strong passwords aren’t easily memorised. Sure, we can ask our browsers to store logins for us, but when you might use several different computers, an iPhone and an iPad, you’d have to login once from each device as soon as you chose the password so it gets stored before you forget it. Not very convenient.

Which is where password managers come in. When you see the instructions, it’ll look like a long process, but it in fact takes only 10-20 mins if you have two or three devices …  Read more

Two minute SIM card hack could leave 25 percent of phones vulnerable to spying

Image: joyenjoys.com

Image: joyenjoys.com

A two minute SIM card hack could allow an intruder to listen to your phone calls, send text messages from your phone number and make mobile payments from your account. The vulnerability, discovered by a German security researcher, is present in an estimated 750 million SIM cards – around one in four of all SIM cards.

Give me any phone number and there is some chance I will, a few minutes later, be able to remotely control this SIM card and even make a copy of it …  Read more