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Australia iOS ransom gizmo-snatch OUTRAGE not our FAULT: Apple

User names and passwords slurped elsewhere? Maybe

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Apple has denied that a breach of its iCloud service is the reason for an outbreak of ransomware infecting Australian iThing users.

Australian Apple owners yesterday complained that their beloved hardware iStuff had been remotely locked by a chap identifying himself as Oleg Pliss and demanding a PayPal transfer of $AUD50 to restore them to life.

Apple Australia has contacted The Reg and offered us the following statement on the situation:

“Apple takes security very seriously and iCloud was not compromised during this incident. Impacted users should change their Apple ID password as soon as possible and avoid using the same user name and password for multiple services. Any users who need additional help can contact AppleCare or visit their local Apple Retail Store.”

So how did the entity known as Pliss manage to compromise accounts?

Folks familiar with the matter have told Vulture South that Pliss is likely in possession of usernames and passwords gleaned from sources other than Apple and has attacked users who use the same identifier for multiple services including iCloud.

Lots of punters use weak passwords and/or use them to log on to multiple services. And it is certainly possible to come by such data: breaches at Adobe and eBay would have yielded many .com.au email addresses that could be used to target Australian iStuff users.

If that is indeed what has transpired on this occasion it is perhaps scarier than an iCloud breach, because to date purloined password troves have not been deployed to power large-scale attacks. If Oleg Pliss is the vanguard of such efforts, millions of people are in peril. ®

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