iOS devices are being held hostage by hackers down under

Oleg-Pliss

A number of Mac and iOS users from across Australia have had their Macs, iPhones and iPads remotely locked by hackers — and money demanded if they want to be able to continue using the devices.

Affected users have taken to Apple’s support forum, along with social media, to discuss the issue.

One iPhone user from Sydney claims she was awoken at 4am on Tuesday to a loud “lost phone” which claimed that an “Oleg Pliss” had hacked her phone. She was told to send $50 to a PayPal account in order for it to be unlocked.

Apple hasn’t yet commented on the issue, which has already been reported to Australia’s competition regulator and consumer law promoter, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

According to IT security expert Troy Hunt the hacking is most likely the result of login credentials having been acquired from recent data breaches and used to lock users out using iCloud.

If this is the case, the use of unique passwords alongside Apple’s two-step verification process for Apple IDs is highly recommended. Affected users who use passcode lock or Touch ID have also reportedly been able to unlock their iOS devices without having to pay the ransom.

Let’s hope the issue gets resolved as soon as possible, and the drongos behind the hacking get what’s coming to them!

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About the author

Luke DormehlLuke Dormehl is a UK-based journalist and author, with a background working in documentary film for Channel 4 and the BBC. He is the author of The Formula: How Algorithms Solve All Our Problems, And Create More and The Apple Revolution, both published by Penguin/Random House. His tech writing has also appeared in Wired, Fast Company, Techmeme, and other publications. He'd like you a lot if you followed him on Twitter.

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