An American tech company has admitted it was the victim of a hacking that led to the publication of a million Apple device details. The revelation appears to prove the FBI’s denial that it was the source of the stolen data.
The details first appeared last week when the LulzSec hacking group said it had accessed details of 12 million Apple portable devices. The details available for each device varied, but the range included the Unique Device Identifier (Apple’s own code for each specific device), the name users had assigned to the device (“Jim’s iPad” etc), and the addresses, phone numbers and zip codes of owners.
Of the records it claimed to have available, Lulzsec published the details of one million and one machines.
A statement accompanying the release said the data had been stolen through a wireless attack on the laptop of a named FBI special agent. The FBI later denied ever possessing the data, let alone having it stolen.
Now the president of a Florida company, BlueToad, has said his firm was the actual victim of the attack. The company specialises in converting publications into digital formats, including those specifically designed for Apple devices.
According to Paul DeHart, the data that was stolen in the attack was collected and stored in a legitimate manner. He stressed that it didn’t include any “highly sensitive personal information”, though didn’t specifically address whether or how BlueToad had obtained home addresses and e-mail details.
DeHart says an independent security researcher figured out the BlueToad connection after searching through the published data. He told BlueToad, who then told Apple and law enforcement officials before going public today.
Why LulzSec would not only falsely claim the details were on an FBI machine but actually name a specific individual isn’t clear. Perhaps inevitably some of the more imaginative online reporters have concluded either that the FBI stole the data from BlueToad, or that the whole thing is a cover story to save their blushes.
Much as I doubt that, I almost hope it’s the case just so I can use the headline “BlueToad is Red Herring.”