Russian hackers who held iOS devices ransom have been detained



According to Russian authorities, two hackers — aged 17 and 23 — have been detained after holding a number of iOS devices ransom and demanding payment in order for users to regain control of their accounts.

We initially reported on this in late May, and Apple then released a statement the next day saying that iCloud as a service had not been compromised and that it wasn’t responsible for the breach.

The new report says that the hackers, residents of the Southern Administrative District of Moscow, have been detained by the Russian Interior Ministry. News of them being detained was first released Russia’s Ministry of Internal Affairs website at around 3:40 PM AEST. Apparently, the hackers were caught via a closed-circuit television while withdrawing the money they stole from their victims.

The hack was supposedly headed up by 19-year old “Ivan” who was “madly keen on computers and hacking”. He “never studied or worked and was always looking for easy ways to make money,” according to Russian media outlet MKRU. 


The hackers’ apartments were searched, and most of their electronics, including computers, SIM cards, and phones, were confiscated.

The hackers both confessed to the crime, and Russian authorities say that they have “stopped the activities of the group of persons involved in the blocking of Apple devices to extort funds.” It’s unclear whether or not these hackers are connected to the reports of devices being held for ransom in Australia last month, as there were similar reports of hacks in Russia as well. The techniques used by these hackers could have been used against Australians as well, but the Sydney Morning Herald says that the Australian hacks could have been done by “copycats.”

The above photo demonstrates the message that victims in Australia, the US, and other locales were presented with when affected by the attack. The accounts were accessed by way of phishing rather than a breach of Apple’s service, meaning victims had accidentally provided the hackers with log-in credentials via what are apparently “well-established” schemes. Users, once having lost access to their accounts, were asked for amounts between $50 and $100 to get them back.

Whether or not the Australian and Russian hacking schemes are linked, it’s probably a good idea to change your account passwords. Have you been affected by these hacks?

[via Sydney Morning Herald]


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