You may have heard that Apple has been contacted by a Turkish hacker group who threatens to remote wipe a large number of Apple devices if their ransom demands are not met.
What do the hackers want with my stuff?
Nothing in this case. The hackers claim that they will wipe millions of Apple devices and their iCloud backups unless Apple pays a ransom.
Typically, hackers will target a person’s personal accounts (think Apple ID or personal Google account) for the purpose of identity theft or credit fraud.
Is the threat real?
While it is possible that Apple could have had their security compromised, the technical details around making something like this work at the scale the hackers claim to be capable of make it unlikely.
Security professionals around the globe are leaning towards weak passwords or the same password used for multiple things being the most likely credible threat.
What should I do?
If you have an Apple device, the IMT Security Office recommends doing 2 things.
- Make sure your Apple ID/iCloud account uses a strong password that you don’t use anywhere else. For tips on creating a strong password visit the IMT Security Office website at http://security.apu.edu/home/what-you-need-to-know/password-tips.
- Turn on Apple’s 2 factor authentication. Instructions for using this are available at https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT204915.
For an extra layer of security, if you use a personal Google account, turn on Google’s 2 factor authentication. Instructions for this are available at https://www.google.com/landing/2step/.