iMessage Hack From August Affecting More

Users are finding that their iMessage accounts have been hacked, and are being flooded with foreign messages. Unfortunately, this is not a new hack.

Mashable is reporting on many iPhone users finding that their iMessage accounts have been hacked. This comes after one of their own employees found themselves the victim of the hack.

The employee first discovered a message from a foreign number which they didn’t recognize. The message was written completely in Chinese. Soon after, the employee received a notification that her Apple ID was being used on another device. The notification gives the user one option. And that option is to click “OK”. That’s not necessarily the best option if you haven’t used your Apple ID on another device, but when you have no choice, you have no choice. The employee did the only thing she could do, and clicked OK, only to find herself flooded with more Chinese messages.

Luckily, this employee works at Mashable and is probably a bit more technically aware than the average user. She immediately changed her password and security questions and contacted Apple Support. What she was told is quite alarming.

The Apple Support representative told her this hack was probably an attempt to steal personal information. They told her that the hack was fairly new, and there was no way to tell if information had indeed been stolen, but that Apple was working on the issue. She was not alone either. The representative told her that Apple had received many calls on the same issue that morning. In fact, there were many people posting on social media about themselves falling victim to this hack.

Unfortunately, the Apple Support representative was wrong about an aspect of the hack. It is not a new hack. In fact, this hack was being reported on back in early August. And here we are, more than two months and a new OS update later, and the hack is still affecting users. Is Apple really working on the issue? How can it take that long to fix?

For those that appreciate humor, news of this hack arrives at the same time that Amnesty International releases their list of messenger privacy rankings. Shockingly, Amnesty International scores Apple second only to Facebook?

What???

Yes, you read that right. Facebook messenger is listed as the most private messenger. Perhaps no one told Amnesty International that Facebook transmits mobile users exact location with every message, enabling those that are not even “friends” with the user to be able geographically track the user in real time. Perhaps no one told Amnesty International that Facebook sells information from Facebook Messenger chats to other companies like Nielsen. Perhaps no one told Amnesty International that iMessage and the iPhones in which it lives are repeatedly hacked, and that Apple cannot even stop people from gaining root access to the OS?

In fact, Amnesty International has ranked BBM as the second to last private messenger. Instead of looking at BBM as having the longest history of keeping users private matters private, Amnesty International has fallen for the great encryption debate. They laud Facebook and iMessage’s end to end encryption. There is a major fail here. Yes, utilizing end to end encryption will keep messages safe in transit, but what happens when those messages arrive to their intended destination? Are they safe there? In the case of Apple and Facebook, they are not. In fact, it is this blogger’s opinion that Facebook has done more to ensure that user’s private information is not private than any other company or service in our technological age. BBM is downgraded for not having a default end to end encryption, meanwhile BlackBerry was the first among the companies mentioned to encrypt messages. BlackBerry offers many different methods within BBM to keep user’s information safe. From BBM Enterprise/Protect to private chats. And most important of all, the device which houses the messages, is secure.

What’s my choice? Facebook who admittedly uses information from your messages as a source of income? Of course not. Apple who cannot secure their phone, and can’t patch a hack of their iMessage in over two months? Not on your life.

I’ll be using BBM, created by BlackBerry, who wrote the book on mobile security. The which governments and secure industry uses. And the messenger which has been keeping my messages private for the last decade.

imessage-crack

Brad

BlackBerry Elite Founder & Owner of UTB Blogs and UTB Geek. When I'm not talking or writing about BlackBerry, you'll find me using my BlackBerry.

  • nnik

    It’s not to Amnesty International’s best interest for the world to be using secure messaging…. If all those gray area governments etc used BBM ….well you can imagine

  • Jope28

    BBM Protected or bust!
    Am just concerned about BlackBerry now making it tougher for us to subscribe to BBM Protected.
    They now require a rep to call and make you run through some hoops. Not as straightforward as it was at first.

  • Madge

    I find it bizarre that amnesty international, who are not known for their It speciality, should comment let alone try to inquire into messenger app security. Sure if it’s for their own company use – but to try and advise others based on obviously flawed criteria! That’s bizarre!

  • BBM not secured ? man, someone use some hard drugs at amnesty…

  • alan510

    BlackBerry needs to jump all over this report. It is being reported and AI has a lot of credence in the Western press, especially when we know many media outlets now use Apple devices in the workplace. This report undermines BlackBerry’s entire marketing efforts about secure devices and software. If BBM were in the middle of the pack it wouldn’t be such an issue. But Amnesty rates BBM second to last for security! Time to set the record straight as you have done in your blog.

  • I Twitted them and send the Amnesty report to my friend who works with BlackBerry

  • Alan

    Very strange publication. What happened to AI here!? You are absolutely right Brad, among other security levels BBM offers private chat for free to all its users. Surely this feature alone would not rate BBM second to last on a breach of privacy list. I to look forward to BlackBerry come back on this one. It’s shocking to hear about AI which does such great work in its area of human right can be so wrong about Facebook messenger and Facebook puppet Whatsap concerning privacy matters.

  • bartron

    End-to-end encryption (e2ee) is useless when hackers can hack into the device and steal the keys, replace the app or read the messages before they get encrypted. That cannot happen with BB10.

    In other words, a messaging app cannot be considered secure unless it runs on a secure platform. Thus, every messaging app on iOS and Android is insecure. And since you cannot have privacy until you first have security, messaging apps on iOS and Android cannot be considered private either.

    Amnesty Intl.’s list is worse than a joke because it misleads people.

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