UPDATED Ex Gizmodo Writer Has Several Accounts Hacked 'Hard' Courtesy of Apple Tech Support
Ex Gizmodo writer Mat Honan has had various accounts of his hacked, due to the incompetence of Apple's tech support - and what a nightmare ensued. He had linked the Gizmodo website's Twitter account with his Apple iCloud account. An enterprising 'hacker' was then able to use social engineering to trick Apple tech support into handing over Honan's iCloud password. Using this, he was able to spam vile racist and offensive messages on Twitter, representing himself as Gizmodo. He was also able to remotely disable the hapless Honan's iPhone, iPad and MacBook Air laptop, including wiping the data from the laptop. Finally, the hacker managed to close down his Gmail account. Nightmare.
After much headache and hours on the phone, Honan was able to restore all of his accounts. However, he lost over a year's worth of data on his laptop due to the lack of backups - yes, a tech journalist who doesn't make backups. The laptop is now with Apple to attempt data recovery, "Apple tells me that the remote wipe is likely irrecoverable without serious forensics. Because I’m a jerk who doesn't back up data, I’ve lost at more than a year’s worth of photos, emails, documents, and more. And, really, who knows what else." Quite. Honan now believes that he knows how this was done, but doesn't want to say until Apple have had a chance to tighten up their procedures. The whole account is worth reading and is linked to below.
UPDATE: Honan has now written a follow-up article on this incident at wired.com, explaining exactly how the hacker got in. It boils down to elementary errors made by Apple, Amazon and Honan.
- At 4:50 PM, someone got into my iCloud account, reset the password and sent the confirmation message about the reset to the trash.
- At 4:52 PM, they sent a Gmail password recovery email to the .mac account. Two minutes later, an email arrived notifying me that my Google Account password had changed.
- At 5:00 PM, they remote wiped my iPhone
- At 5:01 PM, they remote wiped my iPad
- At 5:05, they remote wiped my MacBook Air.
- A few minutes after that, they took over my Twitter. Because, a long time ago, I had linked my Twitter to Gizmodo’s they were then able to gain entry to that as well.
Posted by | Mon, Aug 06, 2012 - 03:19 PM