Hackers threaten to wipe 300 million iCloud accounts unless Apple pays ransom

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A mysterious group of hackers calling themselves the ‘Turkish Crime Family’ have threatened to wipe up to 300 million iPhone and iCloud accounts unless Apple pay a ransom of US$75,000 in Bitcoin by April 7

A hacker said, “I just want my money and thought this would be an interesting report that a lot of Apple customers would be interested in reading and hearing,” Motherboard reported.

The group claim to have the credentials to wipe the accounts and screenshots of supposed discussions with Apple show Apple’s security team requesting that the gang delete a YouTube video where they supposedly access an elderly woman’s iCloud account.

The group claims this is proof that they have the capabilities to act if they aren’t paid.

As yet, these screenshots are the only evidence that the group exists so whether the threat – or even the group is real is questionable.

British computer security expert Graham Cluley, writing on Bitdefender’s Hot for Security blog, says, “What we don’t know is whether the email exchanges between the hackers and Apple are real or faked, and – indeed – whether the so-called “Turkish Crime Gang” really has access to a large number of Apple users’ credentials.

“If it’s true that the hackers are attempting to engage with the media in an attempt to increase their chances of a substantial payout then that would be in line with an increasingly common technique deployed by extortionists.”

In response, Apple has rubbished the claims of the hackers.

In a statement issued to Fortune, a spokesperson for Apple said: “There have not been any breaches in any of Apple’s systems including iCloud and Apple ID.”

“The alleged list of email addresses and passwords appears to have been obtained from previously compromised third-party services.”

“To protect against these type of attacks, we always recommend that users always use strong passwords, not use those same passwords across sites, and turn on two-factor authentication,” Apple added.

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