Well, this is new. What would you do if your device was held ransom? Unfortunately, that’s what many Australians are dealing with right now. A couple of weeks ago, hackers took over iOS and Mac around the country by freezing their devices. Owners received notifications that they need to pay a demand of $50 to $100 if they want control of their devices back.
The hacker or hackers going by the name of Oleg Pliss supposedly manipulated Apple’s Find my iPhone feature to lock the devices and used Paypal to demand payment. Luckily, those with passcode security have been able to regain access because one isn’t allowed to change the password on a device that already has one.
To overcome the issue, it has been necessary for Apple to contact and work directly with those affected as breaking through someone’s passcode isn’t an easy task. Users in other countries such as New Zealand have reported similar problems but this may be due to the recycling of passcodes by users who reuse the passwords they have used on other websites or devices.
Apple has however contacted sites such as The Reg to confirm that there was no breach via iCloud servers or any other feature/servers. Hence, holding true to the possibility that Oleg Pliss most likely gained access to Apple IDs because of recycled passwords used for other credentials once breached. We advise that if you ever get hacked and you have the same password for most of your accounts, change it. Immediately.
The Sydney Morning Herald reported on June 10 2014 that the hackers have been detained by the Russian authorities. They were caught on camera when they withdrew money from a victim’s account via ATM. The hackers manage to get through to victim’s Apple IDs and password by using phishing pages social engineering techniques where they attained enough information to lock the iDevices.
I think we all have a lesson to learn here. In these current times of advancing technology, we are connected through devices and the internet. We need to take steps to protect ourselves just as we do when we are out there in public. Think smart and lock your devices with strong passcodes. And please, do not use one password for all your accounts. It just takes one person to get that single password to access everything and wipe you clean.