The US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), is having a PR nightmare of the worst kind. Yesterday a group of hackers called AntiSec, posted data from an FBI laptop that they alleged was being used to track nearly 12 million Apple iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch users. You can view the entire post by the hackers here.
The hackers then released some 1,000,001 Apple Devices UDIDs (Unique Device Identifiers) linking to their users and their APNS tokens. The UDID is what mobile app developers use to track user behaviour on Apple devices.
But according to the hackers, the FBI had also got their hands on the technology to track users. What was also amazing was that hackers claimed that the UDID's ensured that the FBI had access to pretty much all the information on affected users, from addresses to zip codes.
Now the FBI has issued an official press statement saying that the report is absolutely false.
The FBI is aware of published reports alleging that an FBI laptop was compromised and private data regarding Apple UDIDs was exposed. At this time, there is no evidence indicating that an FBI laptop was compromised or that the FBI either sought or obtained this data.
The federal agency also posted on Twitter via it's official press account. You can see the tweet below.
Statement soon on reports that one of our laptops with personal info was hacked. We never had info in question. Bottom Line: TOTALLY FALSE
— FBI PressOffice (@FBIPressOffice) सितम्बर 4, 2012
The tweet prompted a response on Anonymous which is given below:
@fbipressoffice Wait, what? So because you don't know of any data breach it never happened? So the conference call was fake, too?
— AnonymousIRC (@AnonymousIRC) सितम्बर 4, 2012
So is the AntiSec hack real? Well, according to TheNextWeb and the New York Times,the data has turned up positive matches for UDIDs. To say that these numbers are invalid is thus wrong and it appears that hackers did get access to some pretty important information.
The real question is still whether they were hacked from an FBI laptop as the post claims. FBI's argument that there is no current evidence of a hack is not going to convince the skeptics especially. The hackers said that We never liked the concept of UDIDs since the beginning indeed. Really bad decision from Apple. fishy thingie.
They also pointed out that Apple was looking for alternatives to the UDID system. The post goes on to say, in this case it’s too late for those concerned owners on the list. we always thought it was a really bad idea. that hardware coded IDs for devices concept should be erradicated from any device on the market in the future.