Bloke raises hand in vid, claims: I sparked Apple dev site hack panic
'I have 100,000+ users' details ... please don't blacklist me'
A Turkish security bod calling himself Ibrahim Balic claims his bug reports to Apple sparked the shutdown of Cupertino's Developer Centre website.
The iPhone giant pulled the plug on its online home for app programmers last Thursday fearing someone was attempting to hacking into its databases.
Now Balic has alleged he found 13 security vulnerabilities in the system and exploited them to pull up information on 73 Apple staff. He also claimed he gained access to more than 100,000 developers' private data. But he insists he did this to demonstrate the apparent flaws - reported via bugreport.apple.com - and uploaded a video to protest his innocence (since removed).
In an extended mea culpa written after the initial media storm over the Developer Centre outage, the London-based researcher huffed: "I'm not feeling very happy with what I read and I'm a bit irritated, as I did not do this research [to cause] harm or damage.
"I didn't attempt to publish or share this situation with anybody else. My aim was to report bugs and collect the data for the purpose of seeing how deep I can go within this scope. I have over 100,000 users' details and Apple is informed about this. I didn't attempt to get the data first and report then, instead I have reported first."
Balic claims the developer website was shutdown just four hours after he contacted Apple; he added that the fondleslab titan did not respond to his bug reports. The Reg cannot confirm his allegations, and Apple has not yet commented on Balic's claims.
He added: "I do not want my name to be on a blacklist. I'm keeping all the evidence, emails and images. Also I have the records of the bugs that I made through Apple's bug-report [system]."
Security market expert Graham Cluley has predicted that Apple may be tempted to take tough action to dissuade any other researchers from probing too hard.
He wrote: "Balic may not have been motivated by malice if he did, as appears to be the case, exploit a security hole in Apple’s Developer Centre. But he clearly was operating without Apple’s permission.
"As such, the extracting of developers’ personal data from the site could be argued to be unauthorised access, and Apple could – if it wanted – pursue legal action against the researcher.
"Whether Apple will choose to pursue legal action in this case remains to be seen. Although it may be bad for its brand image to pursue a researcher who doesn’t appear to have had cybercrime in mind, Apple is a very strange company. Who can forget when Apple encouraged police to look into the loss of its iPhone prototype in a bar, which resulted in the editor of Gizmodo having his house raided?"
"Apple is under new management now, but the possibility remains that it may want to make an example of him," he added. ®