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Apple pulls iForgot password recovery system over security bug

Two-factors forward, one step back

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Updated Don't get too hammered this Friday night in case you wake up to find you've forgotten your Apple password, as Cupertino has been forced to pull down its iForget service due to an embarrassing new security flaw.

This was supposed to be a good week for Apple on the security front. On Tuesday the company fixed a password-bypass flaw in iOS with its latest 6.1.3 update, and Apple finished the week with the introduction of two-factor authentication for its users on Friday.

But then came a tip to The Verge of a flaw in the iForget password retrieval system. With just the email address and date of birth of an Apple user, you could get a password reset request granted using a modified URL in the date-of-birth box on the iForgot security web page. Done correctly, this would allow an attacker full access to iTunes and iCloud accounts.

Step-by-step instructions detailing how to carry out the low-skill hack were found online, and Apple moved quickly to pull down the iForget system by 1pm PT (10pm UTC) Friday. It is working to fix the fatal flaw, but until it does, don't forget your password.

"Apple takes customer privacy very seriously. We are aware of this issue, and working on a fix," said the company in a statement.

When news of the bug broke, some of the more – ahem – excitable members of the anti-Apple movement pointed out that the only way to get around the flaw was to use Cupertino's new two-factor security system, and wasn't that convenient timing. Apple's prompt iForget pull-down rather negates that argument but it won't stop those fond of tin-foil headwear from speculating. ®

Update

The security hole was fixed as of Friday night, and the iForgot web site is now up and running again.

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