An anti-government hacktivist group affiliated with AntiSec has leaked 1 million Unique Device Identifiers for Apple iPhones, iPads and iPod touches. The group, which posted on the Pastebin.com information-sharing website, said it stole the data from the FBI.
But the hacktivists aren't stopping with the 1 million ID dumps. The group may have more than 11 million more Apple device IDs on hand to leak to the masses. Many of the IDs were stolen complete with user names, telephone numbers and even addresses. The goal of the hack is reportedly to prove that the FBI is tracking people.
"Why exposing [sic] this personal data?," the posting hactivist asked. "Well, we have learnt it seems quite clear nobody pays attention if you just come and say 'Hey, FBI is using your device details and info and who the [expletive] knows what the hell are they experimenting with that,' well sorry, but nobody will care."
Pastebin.com describes itself as a website where you can store text for a certain period of time. "The website is mainly used by programmers to store pieces of source code or configuration information," but anyone can paste any type of text. "The idea behind the site is to make it more convenient for people to share large amounts of text online."
The site clearly states on its FAQs that it is not to be used for sharing private information or stolen data, and yet that's exactly what happened.
Tapping a Java Vulnerability
The hackers claim they accessed the files by hacking a laptop belonging to Supervisor Special Agent Christopher K. Stangl at the FBI. The FBI has not issued a statement about the situation. The saving grace, if there is one, is that the postings on Pastebin.com did not reveal some of the most personal information associated with the accounts.
"We trimmed out other personal data as, full names, cell numbers, addresses, zipcodes, etc. not all devices have the same amount of personal data linked. some devices contained lot of info. others no more than zipcodes or almost anything," says the Pastebin post. "We left those main columns we consider enough to help a significant amount of users to look if their devices are listed there or not. the DevTokens are included for those mobile hackers who could figure out some use from the dataset."
According to info on Pastebin, during the second week of March 2012, a Dell Vostro notebook, used by Stangl from FBI Regional Cyber Action Team and New York FBI Office Evidence Response Team was breached using the AtomicReferenceArray vulnerability on Java:
"During the shell session some files were downloaded from his Desktop folder one of them with the name of 'NCFTA_iOS_devices_intel.csv' turned to be a list of 12,367,232 Apple iOS devices including Unique Device Identifiers (UDID), user names, name of device, type of device, Apple Push Notification Service tokens, zipcodes, cellphone numbers, addresses, etc. the personal details fields referring to people appears many times empty leaving the whole list incompleted on many parts."
Breeding Better Security
We caught up with Jonathan Spira, CEO and chief analyst at Basex, to get his takeaways from the lasts fallout of the Java exploit. His first reaction was to question
why an FBI agent allegedly carried a database of Apple device IDs.
"This hack does show that once again nothing is ever fully secure. We constantly have to reevaluate how we attempt to keep our information secure. No organization, including the FBI, appears to be exempt," Spira told us. "We have to find fundamentally new approaches to security and how we collect, manage and store information."
Posted: 2013-04-03 @ 7:38am PT
Ken is correct. Technology is a double edged sword. It can do wonderful things but it seems today it's being used more to profit from us and spy on us than benefit us.
Kenneth B ishop:
Posted: 2012-10-04 @ 4:50pm PT
I think we are our own worst enemy because we cant seem to grasp the idea that unless you keep vital info in a 100 percent safe location you might as well put the info on TV