How secure is your iCloud account and iOS device? A group of hackers has apparently gained access to a large number of these accounts. Now, the group holding that data ransom in an effort to extort Cupertino. If Apple doesn’t pay up by April 7, 2017, those iCloud accounts will be reset and the iOS devices remotely wiped, according to a recent article from Motherboard.
They Just Want Their Money
The group, calling itself the “Turkish Crime Family,” has demanded $75,000 in Bitcoin or Ethereum, another popular form of crypto-currency. Ever accomodating, the group is also willing to accept $100,000 worth of iTunes gift cards from Apple. If its demands are met, Turkish Crime Family promises to delete the alleged cache of usernames and passwords.
Inconsistent Stories From the Hackers
According to one of the emails Motherboard was allowed access to, the hackers claim to have access to more than 300 million Apple email accounts. There’s some inconsistency in the hackers’ story, though. One member of the group later claimed that Turkish Crime Family had compromised 559 million accounts in all.
The Proof is ... Questionable
The hackers have mostly been corresponding with Motherboard, although the emails in the account the outlet was given access to make it seem that the group has approached multiple media outlets. What the hackers haven’t done, though, is provide any of the supposedly stolen iCloud accounts to verify their claim. A few accounts were shown being accessed in a YouTube video, but that video has since been deleted.
What Does Apple Say About All of This?
Apple apparently hasn’t commented publicly on the breach. However, Motherboard was shown a screenshot of a message allegedly from Cupertino’s security team after the hackers’ YouTube video was posted.
We firstly kindly request you to remove the video that you have uploaded on your YouTube channel as it’s seeking unwanted attention, second of all we would like you to know that we do not reward cyber criminals for breaking the law.- Motherboard
Is the Threat Real?
At this point, it’s impossible to say whether this group of hackers really has access to such a large number of iCloud and other Apple email accounts. It’s unlikely that the group could have gained access by way of a breach of Apple’s servers, but people are often known to use the same email address and password combination for multiple services. It’s entirely possible that some other service has suffered a major breach, giving Turkish Crime Family the iCloud data it claims to have. It’s always a good idea to change your password periodically, so maybe this is a good time to do so.