Apple Hacked!

In the wake of the Edward Snowden-surveillance scandal revelations and the spying on countries and individuals around the world by the US administration, Apple has revealed today that information related to 275, 000 third-party developers has been stolen via hacking of its Developer portal.

The Developer portal allows users to download operating systems that are beta versions and also allows them to upload new versions of applications that go on line at the App Store.

App Store: Hacked?

App Store: Hacked? has been offline and out of action since Thursday last week and Apple has just issued a statement as to the reason why. There had been assumptions that the system had suffered from a massive bug that had brought the system down. Rumors followed about a hacking scandal, which have now been proved to be true.

The person behind the attack on the system is Ibrahim Balic, a Turkish security researcher. He has stated that he never intended to hack the system to get any information on third-party developers but he wished to show Apple that user information was being leaked. He filmed the hacking of the system and posted a video of it on Youtube last Thursday and the site was immediately taken off-line. He stated on the video “Data leaks user information. I think you should fix it as soon as possible”.

In an interview with the Guardian newspaper in the UK, Balic stated that he had found 13 bugs and that Apple was informed immediately of the situation. He stated that his intention was to see just “how deep” he was able to go into the system. It is suspected that since some developers were asked to reset their passwords key information had been hacked and could be exploited. In essence, this would mean that there could be uploading of malicious apps to the App Store. Apple has denied the possibility of the App Store being infected at the moment, although it is certainly cause for concern since there are millions of users logging in every day to the App Store to download applications. Apple has stated that the App Store has remained unaffected.

Hacking of Developer Portal

Hacking of Developer Portal

The App Store was not available on Sunday as a direct result of the hacking by Balic. If he gained access to user IDs, the danger is that they could be exploited and the applications on line at the App Store jeopardized. Rumors abounded with Apple making no statement whatsoever and it was quickly suggested that any form of up-date of the system or migration (which was what was first imagined) would be clearly out of the question.

Apple has stated that the data was encrypted and that it would have been impossible to exploit the information. However, it now looks as if it is set to have another bout of explaining to do to the public that is rightly concerned.

Just a few weeks ago in early June, it was revealed by security researchers that it was possible to hack into iPhones and iPads using the USB charger. Chengyu Song and Yeongjin Jang (Georgia Institute of Technology) showed how easy it was for them to bypass security of those devices and install software. They stated “Despite the plethora of defense mechanisms in iOS, we successfully injected arbitrary software into current-generation Apple devices running the latest operating system (OS) software. All users are affected, as our approach requires neither a jailbroken device nor user interaction."

Apple has always prided itself on the fact that their devices were less vulnerable to being hacked and that infection of files was much harder than on other devices or hardware running Microsoft software, for example.

There are growing concerns as members of the public are starting to complain that their private accounts are being hacked and sales going through for applications that they have never purchased. Examples of frustrated Apple-Store users complaining on forums on-line detail how Apple has informed them to change their passwords. However, on occasions, when the passwords are changed, sales still go through that they never made and sometimes on the opposite side of the country. Apple has reimbursed some of the users, despite the fact that this is strictly against their company policy. Emails sent to users include the following:  "After reviewing the circumstances of your case, we determined that issuing you a refund for the items that were purchased without your permission is an appropriate exception to the iTunes Store Terms and Conditions, which state that all sales are final. A refund will be credited to your iTunes account”.

How to tell if your iPhone is being hacked? Some specialists say that if your phone is running out of battery more quickly than it usually does, then this may be the sign that you have been hacked. If it becomes unusually warm when you are not making calls or using it, then this could also be the tell-tale sign that a software program is surreptitiously accessing information. One of Apple’s selling points was that it was virtually impossible to hack into a device produced by the company. In today’s world, impossible doesn’t exist.

On Friday Apple closed down 1.58% (down $6.808 to $424.95).

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