A number of users of Apple iPhones and iPads in Australia have reported having their gadgets “hijacked” with a message demanding money to allow their owners access to their devices.
Security experts believe that the hackers have gained access to the phones by exploiting the Find My Phone feature on iOS devices and locking down devices by hacking into user’s iCloud accounts, but little is currently known about the precise method of attack.
The hackers demand “$100 USD/EUR” to be sent to a specified Paypal account to return access to the phone or tablet, but PayPal has said that they will refund any money sent to the account.
Mobile networks have told users to report the issue to Apple, who are yet to publish a statement, although the issue does appear to be localised to Australia, or at least Australian citizens, with one traveller reporting the issue in London.
Apple has long claimed their devices to be more secure than competitors such as Windows, but much of this security came through obscurity. As iPhone and iPads are some of the most widely sold gadgets around the world, Apple no longer benefits from being a small target, with hackers looking to exploit every small hole they find.
Photograph by Kārlis Dambrāns