FBI, hackers trade claims on stolen Apple device IDs

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Hackers have posted online the unique ID numbers for more than 1 million Apple devices like iPhones and iPads, saying they stole the data from an FBI laptop, a claim the bureau denies.

The ID numbers could be used to impersonate the devices, allowing hackers to access personal information about their owners from apps they have installed, according to Alex Horan, product manager at Boston-based CORE Security.

The ID numbers are unique to each device and cannot be changed, said Mr. Horan, so they are generally accepted to provide a failsafe way to identify a particular device and its user, “Like DNA for a phone.”

The hackers said the million-and-one IDs they published — many of which have been verified as genuine by security analysts — came from a trove of more than 12 million IDs and other personal information about the phones’ users that they stole from an FBI laptop.

The hackers, using the name AntiSec, a splinter group from the leaderless hacktivist collective Anonymous, posted a long and occasionally scatological manifesto with the IDs. The posting provides some details of how they allegedly took over the laptop of one of the FBI’s highest profile cyber-detectives, Special Agent Christopher Stangl, during the second week of March this year.

In a statement released Tuesday evening, the bureau said it was “aware of published reports alleging that an FBI laptop was compromised and private data regarding Apple [Unique Device IDs] was exposed. At this time, there is no evidence indicating that an FBI laptop was compromised or that the FBI either sought or obtained this data.”

Apple did not return voice-mail or email messages requesting comment.

Mr. Horan noted that AntiSec had no track record of false claims. It would be interesting to see whether AntiSec backed up their claim by releasing more data, he added.

“If they truly got control of this FBI agent’s laptop … they should be able to provide more proof,” he said.

© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

About the Author
Shaun Waterman

Shaun Waterman

Shaun Waterman is an award-winning reporter for The Washington Times, covering foreign affairs, defense and cybersecurity. He was a senior editor and correspondent for United Press International for nearly a decade, and has covered the Department of Homeland Security since 2003. His reporting on the Sept. 11 Commission and the tortuous process by which some of its recommendations finally became ...

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