Kidnapped! iOS and Mac devices held to ransom via ‘Find My iPhone’ hack

27 May 2014

Reports are emerging from the UK and Australia about Mac, iPhone and iPad owners whose devices have been hacked via the Find My iPhone feature, locked and held to ransom for US$50-US$500 in order to have them unlocked.

It is understood that a group of hackers going by the name ‘Oleg Pliss’ are targeting Macs, iPhones and iPads with the Find My iPhone feature which allows owners to remotely find or lock their mobile devices.

Users are finding their devices are locked and are being asked to submit between AUS$50 and AUS$100 via PayPal.

Users who have already set up passcodes on their devices are able to sidestep the block and re-enable access, however those that haven’t are vulnerable.

The hack has emerged on devices in Australia, New Zealand and the UK.

How the hackers managed to exploit mobile devices in this way is as yet unknown.

However, various theories on Apple’s official support communities pages suggest users’ continuous use of old usernames and passwords for services like iCloud could easily give hackers an idea of existing Apple IDs and passwords.

The problem appears to be affecting owners of multiple iOS devices like iPad and iPhone products who would have the same iCloud settings across both devices.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years