Apple tricked into releasing data used to sexually extort minors

Apple tricked into releasing information used to sexually extort minors

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We realized final month that Apple was tricked into releasing private information to hackers, after they posed as regulation enforcement officers with emergency information requests. A follow-up report reveals that a few of this information was used to sexually extort minors.

The most recent report additionally sheds gentle on how the hackers had been in a position to idiot Apple and different tech giants, together with Fb, Google, Snap, Twitter, and Discord …


Often, an organization will solely launch buyer information to regulation enforcement officers on receipt of a court docket order, and even then will scrutinize the request rigorously, generally providing to produce solely a part of the information requested.

As this course of takes time, there may be an emergency information request process to be used when there may be an instantaneous threat of hurt to a number of people. In these circumstances, corporations do test that the request comes from a respectable regulation enforcement contact, however provide the data first, and ask questions later.

Hackers used faux emergency information requests to steer Apple and different corporations to launch consumer information. A brand new report explains how the information was misused, and gives some data on how the businesses had been fooled.

How Apple was tricked

Bloomberg stories that the assault usually depends on having the ability to use hacking or phishing to achieve entry to regulation enforcement e mail techniques, in order that the supply of the requests seems real.

The precise methodology of the assaults varies, however they have a tendency to comply with a normal sample, based on the regulation enforcement officers. It begins with the perpetrator compromising the e-mail system of a international regulation enforcement company.

Then, the attacker will forge an “emergency information request” to a expertise firm, in search of details about a consumer’s account, the officers mentioned. Such requests are utilized by regulation enforcement to acquire data quantity on-line accounts in circumstances involving imminent hazard reminiscent of suicide, homicide or abductions […]

The info supplied varies by corporations, however usually consists of the title, IP handle, e mail handle and bodily handle. Some corporations present extra information.

Cascade assaults used to extort victims

Though the information doesn’t sound prefer it quantities to a lot, it does present sufficient data to permit additional hacks and phishing assaults to be carried out towards particular person victims. Each perpetrators and victims are reported to incorporate kids.

The attackers have used the data to hack into sufferer’s on-line accounts or to befriend the ladies and minors earlier than encouraging them to offer sexually specific images, based on the folks. Lots of the perpetrators are believed to be youngsters themselves based mostly within the US and overseas, based on 4 of the folks.

Bloomberg stories that a number of the circumstances had been horrifically excessive.

Perpetrators have threatened to ship sexually specific materials supplied by the sufferer to their pals, relations and college directors in the event that they don’t adjust to the calls for, based on the folks. In a couple of cases, the victims have been pressured to carve the perpetrator’s title into their pores and skin and share pictures of it

9to5Mac’s Take

Using faux emergency information requests from respectable regulation enforcement e mail addresses is a big subject as a result of it dangers hurt nevertheless corporations reply. In the event that they do launch information with minimal checks, they run the danger of handing over private data to hackers. In the event that they delay lengthy sufficient for extra concerned checks, it could be too late to assist victims in real circumstances.

The apparent threat is that this turns into an more and more widespread tactic. Important assets must be put into stopping and detecting this crime, and the punishment must mirror the severity of the potential penalties.

Photograph: Alexander Krivitskiy/Unsplash

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