Hackers who call themselves the Turkish Crime Family have claimed to have compromised upwards of 600 million iCloud.com, me.com and mac.com accounts. They have demanded that Apple pay them $150,000 dollars by early April that hackers will use those accounts and remotely wipe all the devices connected to those accounts.
The hacker group have claimed to verify that 200 million of the accounts they have in their possession would be impacted by a remote wipe as those do not have two-step authentication enabled on them. Accounts that do have two-factor turned on would be stopped, but the account’s and their passwords may still be in out in the open.
There are a few things you can do to ensure your account is protected from any action’s these hackers may take on your account. Regardless if the hacker’s claims are true or not, you should do these steps anyway if you have an iOS device and use iCloud, me.com or mac.com in anyway with your devices.
RESET YOUR PASSWORD NOW
There are a few ways to reset your password but this Apple Support page will run down all the steps and scenarios and the steps to do it. https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201487
When you create a new password don’t use dictionary words, simple combinations, or short phrases. I have written before on password creation and some tips on how to create a good password.
Create a strong password is the first step but if you want to get that extra level of protection you must enable two-factor authentication for your iCloud account.
AppleID/iCloud accounts are one in the same for the most part. When you enable two-factor authentication on your iCloud account you must have your phone or iPad nearby to complete logging in. When you login a 4-digit code will be sent to your designated device to enter. This may seem to be ‘inconvenient’ but this removes the ability of anyone using your username and password without your phone as well. Two factors – What you know (the username/password) and What you have (the device).
Accounts with two-factor will be protected from any attempts to wipe from the hackers as your phone will be in your possession. This also ensures you will be notified if someone attempts to login with your real credentials if your phone gets a login code and you are not doing anything.
Here are the steps to enable two-factor – https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT204915
If you have an iCloud, me.com or mac.com and no iOS device you can still enable two step authentication but instead of using an iOS device the code is sent via a text message.
The last thing to do to ensure protection is to backup your device locally. If you backup to the cloud and the hackers actually pull this off your backups will be wiped too. Backup locally, direct to your computer. Also for your photos look into using Google Photos, Amazon Photos or Dropbox as backup locations for your photos. I have written articles on how to use those here – Google, Amazon, Dropbox.
You should be concerned about these threats. Real or not, you can easily protect your account, devices and data from being impacted. Change your password first and if you have not already, enable two-factor on your Apple accounts (and any account you have that supports it too).
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Binary Blogger has spent 20 years in the Information Security space currently providing security solutions and evangelism to clients. From early web application programming, system administration, senior management to enterprise consulting I provide practical security analysis and solutions to help companies and individuals figure out HOW to be secure every day.