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Australian Apple Macs, iPhones, iPads hijacked, digitally held for ransom
MacDailyNews ^ | Tuesday, May 27, 2014 · 9:27 am ·

Posted on 05/27/2014 10:42:08 AM PDT by Swordmaker

“Owners of Apple devices across Australia are having them digitally held for ransom by hackers demanding payment before they will relinquish control,” Ben Grubb reports for Fairfax Media. “iPad, iPhone and Mac owners in Queensland, NSW, Western Australia, South Australia and Victoria have reported having their devices held hostage.” “One iPhone user, a Fairfax Media employee in Sydney, said she was awoken at 4am on Tuesday to a loud ‘lost phone’ message that said ‘Oleg Pliss’ had hacked her phone. She was instructed to send $50 to a PayPal account to have it unlocked,” Grubb reports. “It is likely hackers are using the unusual name as a front to get money from people. A real Oleg Pliss is a software engineer at tech company Oracle. A similar name is listed on LinkedIN as a banking professional in Ukraine, while there are others in Russia.”

“Users who have a passcode on their device appear to be able to unlock it after the hacker has sent them the message demanding payment, but those who had not set a passcode are unable to,” Grubb reports. “A PayPal spokesman said there was no PayPal account linked to the email address the hacker used. The spokesman added that any money that may have been sent by victims would be refunded.”

“Comment is being sought from Apple. A Telstra spokesman said the telco was aware of the reports and had referred the matter to Apple,” Grubb reports. “Vodafone said no customers had reported the issue to its support centre. Optus said if customers had any questions about their Apple devices, they ‘should speak directly to Apple.’ The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, which runs the federal government’s Scam Watch website, said only one user had reported the issue to it

(Excerpt) Read more at macdailynews.com ...


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Computers/Internet
KEYWORDS: apple; australia; ebay; paypal
What is happening is the owners' passwords have been accessed through iCloud and their devices locked through Apple's Find My Device's normal locking service. The users' passwords have apparently been compromised at some other breach, for example, the recent massive security breach at eBay, and these iPhone, iPad and iMac owners, like many people, using the same password on iCloud they were using on eBay. The "hacker" has merely logged into their iCloud account and locked their devices!

It is imperative for Apple device owners to

1: change their passwords if they had an account on eBay and used the same password!

2: IMMEDIATELY set a pass code on your device! Owners with pass codes set could immediately UNLOCK and gain back control of their devices!

3: set iCloud to use the two level authentication before changes can be made.

PayPal states there are no accounts associated with the emails the money is to be sent. PayPal will refund any money sent to them for payment on this extortion attempt.

1 posted on 05/27/2014 10:42:08 AM PDT by Swordmaker
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To: Swordmaker

Those dam Dingos


2 posted on 05/27/2014 10:42:50 AM PDT by al baby (Hi MomÂ…)
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To: Swordmaker

I don’t use iCloud with my Macs or my iPod Touch. My personal devices remain comparatively personal.


3 posted on 05/27/2014 10:45:20 AM PDT by Dr. Sivana ("I'm a Contra" -- President Ronald Reagan)
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To: Swordmaker

I hope law enforcement will go after these criminals with enthusiasm. I don’t have an iPhone, but I’d be happy to send the robbers to prison for a decade or more.


4 posted on 05/27/2014 10:47:47 AM PDT by Pollster1 ("Shall not be infringed" is unambiguous.)
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To: Swordmaker

Get a Mac.


5 posted on 05/27/2014 10:54:48 AM PDT by 867V309 (GOPe? NOPe!)
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To: Swordmaker

Get a Mac.


6 posted on 05/27/2014 10:54:48 AM PDT by 867V309 (GOPe? NOPe!)
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To: ~Kim4VRWC's~; 1234; Abundy; Action-America; acoulterfan; AFreeBird; Airwinger; Aliska; altair; ...
SECURITY ALERT!!! Scammers using passwords, perhaps stolen from the massive ebay breach last week, are using the fact that many people use the same password on multiple services to scam iCloud users! Hackers are logging onto iCloud users accounts with IDs stolen fron other breaches, then using the Apple "Find My Device" ability to lock iPhones, iPads, and Mac computers to do just that! They then hold the device hostage until $50 to $100 is sent by PayPal! NOTE, This is NOT a hack of the Ipad, iPhone, or Mac, but a theft of the users' user name and password which allows them to activate normal features of Apple service against the owner. . . Unless the owner has a local pass code set on his or her device! If you do, you can get control of you devices back immediately. —PING!


Apple SECURITY WARNING Ping!

If you want on or off the Mac Ping List, Freepmail me.

7 posted on 05/27/2014 10:54:51 AM PDT by Swordmaker (This tag line is a Microsoft insult free zone... but if the insults to Mac users continue...)
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To: 867V309
Get a Mac.

Sorry to say, the crooks can remotely lock a Mac just as easily. . . this is a security feature Apple provides to secure your data in case your Apple device is stolen. . . and makes it useless to the thief. The problem here is that those who are having this happen used the same password on their Apple iCloud as they did on their eBay account. . . and eBay was hacked last week and millions of unencrypted email addresses and passwords were stolen. They are being used by crooks to try accesses to see if they can get in and when they do. . .

This merely highlights WHY one should have different passwords for every site one uses. . . Pain in the neck though that may be.

8 posted on 05/27/2014 11:03:17 AM PDT by Swordmaker (This tag line is a Microsoft insult free zone... but if the insults to Mac users continue...)
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To: Swordmaker

Welcome Apple users to the real world, where your devices are constantly hacked.


9 posted on 05/27/2014 11:15:18 AM PDT by Jonty30 (What Islam and secularism have in common is that they are both death cults)
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To: Swordmaker

I keep a notebook of my passwords.


10 posted on 05/27/2014 11:16:24 AM PDT by Jonty30 (What Islam and secularism have in common is that they are both death cults)
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How to defend against Apple's Oleg Pliss iCloud attack
By Jonny Evans
May 27, 2014 7:50 AM EDT

Australian Apple device users are finding their iDevices locked by some hacker demanding cash. Here's how to defend yourself, and what to do if you've been hit.

There have been several high-profile attacks in which passwords and email addresses have been stolen -- principally, attacks on Adobe and eBay.

Those who use the same password across several accounts (ebay and iCloud, for example) are vulnerable. If that's you, then change your password for both accounts immediately. Stop reading this and change them now. (If you use the same passwords on other accounts you should also change those.) Use an original password for each account.

Apple offers two-step verification for devices. Everyone should use this -- iCloud is already a central repository for contact, password, payment and other essential information. This means it makes absolute sense to make iCloud as secure as possible, and that means two-step verification. Read Apple's FAQ for information about this additional security layer.

The hacker who is attacking Australian users employs Apple's Find My iPhone service to lock devices and leave a ransom note on the display.

"iPad woke me at 4.30am with the message 'Your device has been hacked by Oleg Pliss'," a user said.

If you have a passcode for your device, then you don't have a problem -- just use the passcode to get into your device again, and change your iCloud password. Find My iPhone can only set its own code if you have not created your own passcode for the device.

If you've been hit

If you've been affected and already use a device passcode, just access your device using the code and change your password.

If you've been affected and are not using or have forgotten your passcode, then the nuclear option is to plug your device into your computer and run a Recovery Mode reset of your device. This will remove all your apps and data, but you can recover your most recent backup using iTunes, by following these instructions.

Some reports claim the following steps may help locked out users regain control of their device:

Common sense

While this experience is incredibly unfortunate for those affected, it is important to note people would not be impacted to any great extent if they simply follow common sense security advice -- and it has to call into question just how many users of other platforms are also vulnerable through complacency?

Sophos adds:

If nothing works, contact Apple support immediately. Apple did not immediately respond to queries on the matter.

11 posted on 05/27/2014 11:19:41 AM PDT by Swordmaker (This tag line is a Microsoft insult free zone... but if the insults to Mac users continue...)
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To: Swordmaker

I had something similar happen to my ipod about 2 weeks ago. It would let me do certain things but not all. So I wiped it all and rebooted from my weekly backup - problem solved. However, mine was not through iCloud as I don’t use that service.

I did have a passcode set and did not use the same on EBay.

The Find My Device application was installed and I was traveling in China at the time.

Interesting


12 posted on 05/27/2014 11:36:07 AM PDT by reed13k (For evil to triumph it is only necessary for good men to do nothings)
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To: Jonty30
Welcome Apple users to the real world, where your devices are constantly hacked.

No Apple devices have been hacked, Jonty. You're right about constant hacking. . . and that's what happened. . . but it was Windows machines that were hacked. Millions of IDs were stolen from hacks at Adobe and eBay including those of Apple device users and the criminals are using a safety feature of iOS and OSX to remotely lock the Apple devices through the owners' Apple iCloud account as if the Apple device owner were doing it himself.

This is another form of social engineering based on people's tendency to use the same password across multiple accounts. . . and the knowledge of their prefer to not use a pass code to access their devices. Both poor security practices used by owners of all devices. The Apple devices have not been breached. . . they are just as secure as they were.

That said, with the same access the criminals could remotely erase the data from the devices! Not access, and they also have access to the email account and any photos of the breached iCloud user. Not good. Moral of this? Don't use the same password on your iCloud account that you've used anywhere else!

13 posted on 05/27/2014 11:40:57 AM PDT by Swordmaker (This tag line is a Microsoft insult free zone... but if the insults to Mac users continue...)
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To: Swordmaker
Boy, did that get garbled!

"That said, with the same access the criminals could remotely erase the data from the devices! Not access, and they also have access to the email account and any photos of the breached iCloud user."

Should read:

"That said, with the same access the criminals could remotely erase the data from the devices! With that password access they also have access to the email account and any photos of the breached iCloud user."

14 posted on 05/27/2014 11:58:32 AM PDT by Swordmaker (This tag line is a Microsoft insult free zone... but if the insults to Mac users continue...)
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To: Jonty30

Ah, I figured out what got lost in that post. Access to the iCloud password did not give the hacker access to any data on the computer or iOS device.


15 posted on 05/27/2014 12:02:14 PM PDT by Swordmaker (This tag line is a Microsoft insult free zone... but if the insults to Mac users continue...)
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To: Jonty30
I keep a notebook of my passwords.

I use LastPass - a free extension for Chrome. Much more secure and will generate random and unique passwords for every site. Has security tests.

16 posted on 05/27/2014 12:04:02 PM PDT by DaveMSmith (Evil Comes from Falsity, So Share the Truth)
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To: Swordmaker

There’s a lot of that going on with just plain computers, too. A screen purporting to be the FBI pops up and says that you have been illegally downloading music or data, or viewing restricted porn sites, or some such other scam. It freezes your device and asks that you pay a fine by purchasing some sort of moneygram thing and entering the code number it gives you in a box.


17 posted on 05/27/2014 12:19:45 PM PDT by JimRed (Excise the cancer before it kills us; feed & water the Tree of Liberty! TERM LIMITS NOW & FOREVER!)
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To: JimRed
There’s a lot of that going on with just plain computers, too. A screen purporting to be the FBI pops up and says that you have been illegally downloading music or data, or viewing restricted porn sites, or some such other scam. It freezes your device and asks that you pay a fine by purchasing some sort of moneygram thing and entering the code number it gives you in a box.

Hostageware. Those usually work by opening several hundred duplicate alert screen that say the same thing. If you're patient, you can close them all.

18 posted on 05/27/2014 1:13:24 PM PDT by Swordmaker (This tag line is a Microsoft insult free zone... but if the insults to Mac users continue...)
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To: reed13k
So I wiped it all and rebooted from my weekly backup - problem solved.

I too, am leery of doing backups to the cloud. My regular backups of my devices like iPads go to my Macbook. And my Macbook is backed up constantly by Time Machine to a network hard drive attached to my router. On top of that, I make regular backups of the network hard drive to another portable hard drive that goes into a safe. So I always have two or more copies of backups in different locations. Devices are easily restored from backups at any time.

Regarding the passcode lock, a lot of people aren't aware that you can set your passcode to more than the default 4 characters. Set it to at least 5 characters. Be aware that if you set your device to erase after 10 failed attempts, you lose the tracking capability with a wiped device. Best not to, so you can wipe it remotely when and if you want.

19 posted on 05/27/2014 2:39:29 PM PDT by roadcat
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To: Swordmaker
but it was Windows machines that were hacked

E-bay uses windows server?

20 posted on 05/28/2014 4:25:50 AM PDT by palmer (There's someone in my lead but it's not me)
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To: Swordmaker
Common sense

They left off the simplest common sense which is don't use gimmicky crap like:
using the Apple "Find My Device" ability to lock iPhones, iPads, and Mac computers

Live by the sword, die by the sword. If you simply keep track of your physical device, back it up, keep important stuff on a separate stick, then theft will be rare and meaningless other than having to buy a new box and restored from backup.

Furthermore it is not the user's responsbility to use different passwords, but EBay's responsibility to properly salt and hash passwords so there is zero chance of them being stolem when attackers get into their systems. If my services are designed properly I can use the same short password everywhere with no reduction in security whatsoever. The problem is that many sites are poorly designed and I try to stay away from those.

21 posted on 05/28/2014 4:33:06 AM PDT by palmer (There's someone in my lead but it's not me)
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To: palmer
They left off the simplest common sense which is don't use gimmicky crap like:
"using the Apple "Find My Device" ability to lock iPhones, iPads, and Mac computers"

Live by the sword, die by the sword. If you simply keep track of your physical device, back it up, keep important stuff on a separate stick, then theft will be rare and meaningless other than having to buy a new box and restored from backup.

Furthermore it is not the user's responsbility to use different passwords, but EBay's responsibility to properly salt and hash passwords so there is zero chance of them being stolem when attackers get into their systems. If my services are designed properly I can use the same short password everywhere with no reduction in security whatsoever. The problem is that many sites are poorly designed and I try to stay away from those.

"Find My Device" is not a "gimmicky crap" and in fact is being poorly copied by both Android and Microsoft, and is soon going to be required on all portable devices in some form. It is a very safe, mature technology that permits owners to brick a stolen device and prohibits the thief from using or even resetting it without the pass code, thereby making the device economically worthless to the thief. Police departments around the country have been applauding it.

You think that keeping important data on a stick is secure? That's hilarious. Ask at any moderate sized business's lost and found department how many flash drives they have in inventory? I've got over a dozen in my small office.

One of the reasons Android devices are not acceptable to the Enterprise are their removable memory cards. . . too easy to remove, copy, and replace with no one being the wiser. . . or just steal. . . or just lose! I've got a half dozen of those that were left lying on counters, side tables in waiting rooms, etc., with no way of identifying the owners except by spending time I don't have going through the unencrypted (!) files on them and seeing if there's anything identifiable among gigabytes of data.

If you think that EVERY site in the world that requires passwords has the duty to maintain your SINGLE ONESIZE FITS ALL PASSWORD completely secure from all hackers, you are totally naive, Palmer. Some crooks open legitimate sites purely for the PURPOSE of collecting passwords!

It's YOUR responsibility to keep YOUR security safe. No one else's.

22 posted on 05/28/2014 9:58:24 AM PDT by Swordmaker (This tag line is a Microsoft insult free zone... but if the insults to Mac users continue...)
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To: Swordmaker
I've got over a dozen in my small office.

Sounds like you are not very organized. I have exactly one work backup flash drive, one spinning backup at home and one stick with important data. I've got many other sticks of course but all are loseable with no loss to me or gain to anyone else.

Some crooks open legitimate sites purely for the PURPOSE of collecting passwords!

Sounds like those sites don't use salting and hashing. I try to make sure no sites store my password in collectable clear text. Of course salt won't protect my account if I am targeted but it will protect me if I am one of a million accounts.

23 posted on 05/28/2014 12:10:40 PM PDT by palmer (There's someone in my lead but it's not me)
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To: palmer
Sounds like you are not very organized. I have exactly one work backup flash drive, one spinning backup at home and one stick with important data. I've got many other sticks of course but all are loseable with no loss to me or gain to anyone else.

Again, the anti-Apple people resort to ad hominem. You have a problem with reading comprehension, palmer? You mis-comprehended the entire point of my post. We don't STORE valuable data on sticks or cards at my office. We are not stupid. These are cards and sticks left behind by PATIENTS! They are in our lost and found department.

Sounds like those sites don't use salting and hashing. I try to make sure no sites store my password in collectable clear text. Of course salt won't protect my account if I am targeted but it will protect me if I am one of a million accounts.

Of COURSE they don't use salting and hashing! WHY WOULD THEY? AGAIN you mis-comprehend the point of my post. Try to comprehend this: the whole purpose of them having a "legitimate" site is to mine emails and passwords. . . so they can steal them!

Palmer, there is no way for you to know in advance how or how well any particular site handles the data you entrust with them. One of the major breaches two years ago was a CREDIT CARD company! Another was a major european BANK! This last weekend, AVAST Anti-Virus's Customer Service department User Support Forum was hacked and they got both User emails and PASSWORDs in hashed form which AVAST said could be decrypted. Over 200,000,000 names were involved, but perhaps 400,000 of those were actually stolen. You'd think they would be able to protect THEIR data, wouldn't you?

If you think you're protected, I have several bridges surrounding Manhattan Island for sale.

24 posted on 05/28/2014 7:24:25 PM PDT by Swordmaker (This tag line is a Microsoft insult free zone... but if the insults to Mac users continue...)
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To: palmer
Live by the sword, die by the sword. If you simply keep track of your physical device, back it up, keep important stuff on a separate stick, then theft will be rare and meaningless other than having to buy a new box and restored from backup.

It is all well and good to ". . . simply keep track of your physical device, etc." but it really is NOT that simple, palmer. Sometimes the choice to keep track of your "physical device" is not left up to you. Open your eyes:

According to the (New York City, NY) city’s police department, thefts of Apple devices like the iPhone and iPad made up more than 18% of all grand larcenies in New York City last year (2013), with 8,465 incidents having been reported. Apple devices are stolen so often that the NYPD now specifically tracks thefts of Apple-branded devices separately from other devices. The Wall Street Journal noted that while Apple devices are indeed the most frequently stolen mobile devices in New York, an NYPD spokesperson said that Apple has also “led the industry in helping customers protect their lost or stolen devices” with its Find My iPhone and Find My iPad apps."Boy Genius Report — January 13, 2014

So just losing your device is not the only risk, but actually having it snatched out of your hand, being mugged for it, having it stolen from your purse, pocket, car, ripped off your desk, whatever, is one of the most common crimes in the US. . . do you want your device and data stolen?

Apple has come up with a way to protect the data on your device by locking it. . . and making the device itself unsaleable by locking it completely unless one has the pass code known only by the legitimate owner. That is why using a unique password on the iCloud account is important. . . AND also using the pass code on the device. The two fold approach will protect your data and make iDevices less attractive to thieves.

Of course, you probably have an unprotected and un-remote-lockable *Samsung copied a version of Find My iPhone) Android device. No self-respecting thief would be caught dead stealing an Android device. :^)

25 posted on 05/28/2014 8:07:27 PM PDT by Swordmaker (This tag line is a Microsoft insult free zone... but if the insults to Mac users continue...)
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