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Hackers can digitally hijack your iPhone and hold it for ransom

Updated Dec 19th, 2018 8:48PM EST
iPhone Hacks
Image: Shutterstock

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If it wasn’t our devices and data at risk, it would be pretty fascinating to see the creative new ways hackers find to attack various systems. But it is our data and devices being compromised constantly by nefarious hackers, and their latest tactics use Apple’s own security tools against Apple device owners in one of the most devious hacks we have seen in quite some time.

The Age on Tuesday reported news of a new scam that hackers have begun perpetrating in Australia.

A number of iPhone, iPad and Mac owners in Western and Southern Australia awoke Tuesday morning to find that their devices had been locked using Apple’s Find My iPhone, Find My iPad and Find My Mac Features.

These features were designed to allow users to remotely locate Apple devices that have been lost or stolen, and they also allow users to lock their lost devices and display a message to aid in their recovery.

Hackers in Australia have found another use for Apple’s remote locking feature, however. They have been able to compromise Apple’s iCloud-based remote device locking feature in order to render iPhones, iPads and Macs useless. They then display a message on the devices that demands a ransom be paid via PayPal before they will unlock the devices.

A number of users have confirmed the hacks on Twitter, Facebook and Apple’s own support forum. Apple has not yet commented publicly on the scam.

This latest news of Apple’s systems being compromised comes just one week after hackers claimed they were able to hack iCloud and unlock iOS devices.

Those looking to prevent this devious new attack should ensure that they have PIN code or password protection enabled on their devices. Two-factor authentication can also be used to further protect iCloud accounts.

Zach Epstein
Zach Epstein Executive Editor

Zach Epstein has been the Executive Editor at BGR for more than 10 years. He manages BGR’s editorial team and ensures that best practices are adhered to. He also oversees the Ecommerce team and directs the daily flow of all content. Zach first joined BGR in 2007 as a Staff Writer covering business, technology, and entertainment.

His work has been quoted by countless top news organizations, and he was recently named one of the world's top 10 “power mobile influencers” by Forbes. Prior to BGR, Zach worked as an executive in marketing and business development with two private telcos.


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