Don’t Panic, iPhone Lock Hack Is Very Isolated

Apple forum provides a good indication of just how many people got attacked

  Despite seeming to be filled with reports of ransomware attacks, the forum thread mostly acts as a platform used by unaffected people to discuss the hack
An Apple forum thread viewed more than 30 thousand times in less than three days will have you think there are a lot of people experiencing a certain problem, but when it comes to the widely-reported Oleg Pliss hack, only a handful of people are actually affected.

An Apple forum thread viewed more than 30 thousand times in less than three days will have you think there are a lot of people experiencing a certain problem, but when it comes to the widely-reported Oleg Pliss hack, only a handful of people are actually affected.

That’s right. Viewed 31,390 times (at the time of this writing) and carrying over 340 replies, the 23-page thread discussing the recent Apple ID hack actually contains less than a dozen individual complaints. In a nutshell, it’s not that major.

Don’t get the wrong idea. The issue itself is serious. Someone getting hold of your Apple ID and password can empty your bank account solely through in-app purchases. They can sell your credentials to others for more nefarious purposes and, as evidenced more recently, they can lock you out of your device and ask for ransom.

However, the severity of a ransomware attack (because of how these things are classified) is also determined by how many people were actually hit by the hack. In this case, not that many.

That’s not to say every living soul impacted by Oleg Pliss has made an entry in the forum thread in question. We’re just using this example as a good indicator for the number of present hacks in the wild.

Most of the people who got hit appear to be from Australia. Their neighbors, New Zealand, also have a few recorded cases, and a few faint reports were noticed in the US and the UK as well. It’s safe to say there’s no reason for anyone to panic, but it would be safer if everyone took security matters more seriously.

This means: set up a unique password for your Apple ID; use a passcode lock and / or Touch ID fingerprint authentication (if your device allows it); and the mother of all spike strips for hackers, use two-factor authentication.

We’ll be monitoring all forum activity closely to see if any new threads emerge on the topic or if any new users chime in with their own tales. Things seem to have cooled off in the past 24 hours, so the attack could well have been muffled.

Apple’s winning advice – change your password – undoubtedly also helped clear the list of people who were targeted by the hack. As a safety measure, try and remember if you recently answered any emails asking you to renew your Apple account. If you have, you should change your Apple ID password immediately.

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By    28 May 2014, 14:24 GMT