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Aussie Apple Users Hit by Ransomware

Alexandra GHEORGHE

May 27, 2014

Aussie Apple Users Hit by Ransomware

Aussie Apple Users Hit by RansomwareAn unknown number of Apple customers located in Australia had their accounts locked and were asked to pay $100 to access their own data, according to itnews.com.au.

Apple device owners, including iPhones, tablets, laptops or desktops, started to complain on Apple`s support forum about a message saying “Device hacked by Oleg Pliss” appearing inside the Find My Phone section of their iCloud account.

The Find My iPhone app allows Apple users to locate and remotely lock their devices in case of loss or theft. Inside the app, users can activate the Lost Mode feature, which seals the device with a unique passcode. If the device passcode was not set, iCloud will prompt users to create one.

Aussie Apple Users Hit by Ransomware

“I have logged into iCloud and changed my password, I can see the hack message inside Find my Phone in iCloud. I can see though that if I turn off Lost Mode the passcode the hacker set will still remain. Has anyone called the police? It is a fraud attempt after all,” one user writes.

It seems hackers obtained users` iCloud login credentials, activated the Lost Mode feature and used it to remotely set a new password and lock users out.

“If you had your own passcode, the hackers` passcode is obsolete as your passcode would override it. Therefore he could not gain access. If you didn’t have a passcode on your device and he set one, then his would be the one you need to unlock,” another user says.

To solve the problem, some users recommend restoring the device from a backup within their iTunes account.

“Most likely, the hacker phished the users` iCloud account and changed their PINs in demand of ransom money. Securing the iCloud credentials is as important as ensuring the physical security of the iOS device, as well as the security of other computers system you use to log into this service”, said Bogdan Botezatu, Senior E-Threat Analyst at Bitdefender.

Bitdefender recommends using strong, complex passwords to minimize the risk of data theft. As an additional security measure, users can enable two-factor authentication for their Apple ID.

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