iPhone 4 preorder system exposes private user data

How to log into someone's account without really trying

Preordering for Apple's iPhone 4 got off to a rocky start on Tuesday, with long lines, system outages, and an AT&T server that exposed sensitive account information for existing users of the must-have mobile device.

For the second time in less than a week, Gizmodo reported, AT&T was caught exposing private information belonging to Apple customers. The breach came when existing iPhone owners placed advanced orders for the newest iPhone, which is scheduled to go on sale on June 24. After entering their account credentials, certain customers were logged in to accounts belonging to other users, potentially exposing the names, addresses, and phone logs of an unknown number of people, the website said.

The privacy snafu follows a report last week that email addresses for more than 114,000 early adopters of Apple's iPad were exposed by an overly generous application on AT&T's website. As a result, email addresses for some of the rich and powerful — including New York Times Co. CEO Janet Robinson, ABC Newswoman Diane Sawyer, film mogul Harvey Weinstein, and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg — were shared with world+dog.

AT&T representatives didn't respond to an email seeking comment.

Gizmodo shared emails sent by five readers who all recounted the same error.

“I logged in to Att.com in the pre-order frenzy,” a reader named Ethan wrote in one. “I was immediately greeted by someone elses personal information.” Gizmodo included multiple screen shots the publication said belonged to people other than the person who logged in.

Tuesday's breach came as numerous people reported being unable to complete iPhone 4 preorders. Many who tried to order online received a message reading “There was an error processing your request. Please try again later.” Many customers who tried to order in person were greeted by long lines.

Despite the difficulty, AT&T sold out of launch-day preorders several hours later, with AT&T telling Engadget it “was the busiest online sales day in AT&T history.” ®

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