Australian Mac and iOS users are reporting their devices have been remotely locked by Hackers for ransom

iOS Device Locked - Hackers

A number of iOS and Mac users in Australia are reporting on Apple Support Communities and Twitter that their iPhones, iPads and Macs are being locked remotely by hackers, and are demanding a ransom to get access to their devices again.

Hackers seem to be using Find my iPhone to remotely lock the device. 

Based on this Apple Support Communities thread, it looks like the issue started earlier today (or yesterday if you’re in Australia). User veritylikestea from Melbourne, Australia writes:

i was using my ipad a short while ago when suddenly it locked itself, and was askiwhich I’d never previously set up. I went to check my phone and there was a message on the screen (it’s still there) saying that my device(s) had been hacked by ‘Oleg Pliss’ and he/she/they demanded $100 USD/EUR (sent by paypal to lock404(at)hotmail.com) to return them to me. 

It looks like quite a few users have been targeted by the hackers, as the thread had 163 comments at the time of posting this article. As you can see below, several users have reported a similar issue on Twitter as well.

Hackers are demanding a ransom of $50 in some cases. IT security expert, Troy Hunt speculates that the hackers may be using compromised login information from recent data breaches to gain access to iCloud accounts and lock the device remotely. He points out that these accounts probably did not have two-step verification enabled.

Apple is yet to comment on the issue, but it seems quite alarming. It highlights the need to setup two-step verification that could prevent such incidents, so I would strongly recommend you to enable it if you haven’t done so already. It is quite straightforward, and will take you two minutes to enable it. Check out our step-by-step guide if you need help in setting it up.

[The Age via MacRumors]

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  • Macmaniman

    oh ohh

  • Steve Heller

    The problem is in Switzerland we do not have two-step verification. Anyway, I would gladly know if anyone is able to change my password without the answers to the security questions.

  • Lucky

    I don’t think setting a password makes everything go off beautifully. Some hackers easily gain access to Wi-Fi connected iPhone when it’s jail-broken if they try the default root password, 80% jailbreakers know nothing about the root password configuration after their jailbreak!!! Some users even install spy apps like ikeymonitor to steal unlock pass-code when the device is jailbroken. We are not living in a safe world protected by password.

    But it is at least safer than no password. In normal cases, password is a protective and useful shield, even if it is weak to some extend..

    • Aaron Leanage

      By the sounds of it neither do you, jailbreaking does not allow the iPhone to become more vulnerable to WiFi/Bluetooth attacks unless you install OpenSSH or something similar. Oh btw I develop for ios so know the system inside out.