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?
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.