Apparently a hacker has gained access to Apple iCloud accounts and used account information to remotely lock Apple iPhones, iPads, and Mac computers, demanding anywhere from $50 to $100 to unlock the devices. No malware was installed on any of these devices to accomplish this. The hacker used iCloud username/password information, combined with Apple’s “Find My Device” feature to lock not only the devices but also the iCloud accounts associated with them.
So far the hack has been restricted to Australia, New Zealand, and one user in the UK. Apple has released no comment on the subject yet.
Steps you can take to prevent becoming a victim of a similar attack:
- Set a passcode for your iPhone or iPad. While still possible to fall victim to such an attack, this will at least allow users to unlock their devices and regain control of their iCloud accounts.
- Do not use the same password information across multiple accounts. Preliminary information seems to indicate that might be a related factor in this event, although details are still emerging.
- If you do fall victim to any form of ransomware attack that locks your computer, phone, or mobile device and demands money to unlock it, whatever you do, DO NOT PAY. Contact your cellular carrier, the manufacturer of the device, or your local computer repair company first.