The world’s first trillion-dollar public company- Apple, had its servers hacked. By a Melbourne based teenage schoolboy aged 16. Yes, Read that again. That’s how safe your data is at Apple, the most privacy-conscious of the FAANG tech giants.
The student, whose name cannot be publicly revealed due to his age and reputation in the hacking community, reportedly pleaded guilty to his actions in an Australian Children’s Court this week.
“Dream of working at Apple” leads teen to hack into its servers
The accused juvenile, not new to cybercrime, is well known in the international hacking community. His ability to develop computerized tunnels and online bypassing systems to hide his identity served him well until a raid on his family home last year exposed hacking files and instructions all saved in a folder interestingly named “hacky hack hack”.
Reportedly fascinated with the tech giant, the 16-year old confessed that the hacking took shape as someday he had plans to work for Apple, a Melbourne court reported.
He hacked into Apple’s mainframe, downloaded internal files and accessed customer accounts. The teen managed to obtain customers’ authorized keys – that could grant access to user accounts to anybody. Which, by the way, are considered to be extremely secure. What is surprising is that, he hasn’t hacked into Apple just once but multiple times over the course of the past year.
In spite of downloading 90GB of secure files and accessing customer accounts, Apple has denied that customers were affected in real time. The company testified that it identified the security breach and notified the FBI, which in turn referred the matter to the Australian federal police.
A prosecutor further threw some light on the incident by acknowledging that “Two Apple laptops were seized and the serial numbers matched the serial numbers of the devices which accessed the internal systems” He further added that, “A mobile phone and hard drive were also seized whose IP address matched those detected in the breaches.”
A company guardian tried to provide solace to its customers by releasing a statement saying that they vigilantly protect their networks and have dedicated teams of information security professionals that work to detect and respond to threats. He added, “In this case, our teams discovered the unauthorized access, contained it, and reported the incident to law enforcement. We regard the data security of our users as one of our greatest responsibilities and want to assure our customers that at no point during this incident was their personal data compromised.”
The boy’s audacity is further highlighted by the fact that he shared details of his hacking with members of a WhatsApp group.
He pleaded guilty and will return to the court for sentencing in September. However, the magistrate has decided to announce the sentence conferred, by next week because of the complexities involved in the case.
Head over to fossbytes for a detailed coverage of the case.