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Hackers threaten to remotely wipe iOS devices

A group of hackers is currently attempting to extort Apple by threatening to remotely wipe iOS devices, reports Motherboard.

The group of hackers is known under the code-name “Turkish Crime Family,” and have said they have access to millions of Apple accounts – including iCloud inboxes.

They’ve since demanded Apple pay either $75,000 in the form of cryptocurrencies – such as Bitcoin, or $100,000 in iTunes Gift Cards.

It says Apple must pay the group by April 7 or it will reset the accounts of users, wiping tons of data.

So, do iOS owners have anything to worry about? The question could also be extended to Apple. The iCloud infrastructure has never actually been hacked into directly. Furthermore, the ransom demand is a curious one. It would be a drop in a very large ocean for the multi-billion dollar company, but that’s perhaps why it’s set so low – with the hope that Apple will simply pay them off without a second thought.

But it also suggests the group doesn’t legitimately have access to what it says it does – and Apple will almost certainly not comply. To do so would be to admit a weakness in iCloud.

In the article, one of the hackers is quoted as saying: “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.”

The group had previously posted a video to YouTube supposedly proving that they were serious. However, a member of Apple’s security team has since had the video removed, and in fact, turned down the ransom request on behalf of Apple.

According to Motherboard, the security team member was supposed to have written back the following: “We firstly kindly request you to remove the video that you have uploaded on your YouTube channel as it’s seeking unwanted attention. Second of all, we would like you to know that we do not reward cyber criminals for breaking the law.”

However, Apple has yet to respond officially, and likely won’t. There are numerous holes in the hacker’s story and the number of accounts they’ve claimed to have hacked has also varied wildly.

Motherboard said they were supplied some evidence, but only a screenshot of a message, not any original documentation.

We’d say iOS users have little to be concerned about. But if security is a worry, we’d recommend reading our guide to staying secure on your iPhone or iPad:

Digital Security 101: How to keep your private and personal data safe in eight easy steps