Tags: apple | china | icloud | hack

Apple's Cook Discusses User-Data With Chinese Vice Premier

Wednesday, 22 October 2014 07:29 AM

Apple Inc. Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook met with Chinese Vice Premier Ma Kai to discuss protecting user data, state media reported, two days after a report that hackers targeted its iCloud services.

Meeting in Beijing, the two discussed more cooperation in information and communication, the official Xinhua news agency reported, without giving details. Carolyn Wu, a Beijing-based Apple spokeswoman, said in an e-mailed statement that the Xinhua report is accurate.

Apple’s iCloud service in China was attacked by hackers who positioned themselves between users and computer servers, compromising user names and passwords, according to Greatfire.org, which monitors Internet censorship in the country. Apple last month said it would add new security features to iCloud after celebrity accounts were hacked and photographs of them were posted on the Internet.

The so-called “man-in-the-middle” attack on iCloud in China this week was conducted by Chinese authorities, Greatfire wrote in a blog post, without providing evidence linking the government to the attack. Not all users in China are affected because the attack is only staged against one of multiple Internet protocol addresses used by iCloud, it said.

Apple is “aware of intermittent organized network attacks using insecure certificates to obtain user information, and we take this very seriously,” Trudy Muller, a spokeswoman for the Cupertino, Calif.-based company, said in a statement. She declined to comment on Greatfire’s report that the attack was conducted by China-backed hackers.

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China’s State Council Information Office didn’t respond to a faxed request for comment.

This week’s attack in China, aimed at gaining user names and passwords, is at least the second that Greatfire has outlined in the past month in which hackers used a man-in-the- middle strategy against Western websites, following a similar attack on Yahoo! Inc.

A successful attack on iCloud would allow access to data including messages, photos and contacts, Greatfire said. Customers should take note of security warnings, use a trusted browser and enable two-step verification to mitigate the threat, Greatfire said.

“If users ignored the security warning and clicked through to the Apple site and entered their user name and password, this information has now been compromised by the Chinese authorities,” Greatfire said.

Organized Attacks

Muller referred users to a company website that details how people can verify that their browser is securely connected to iCloud. The website advises consumers to “never enter their Apple ID or password into a website that presents a certificate warning.”

In August, Apple said it will shift user data onto servers run by China Telecom Corp., with the information to be encrypted. The latest iPhones gained approval for sale in China last month after Apple agreed to improve user security and privacy. Apple later said pre-orders set a record in the country. The devices debuted in China on Oct. 17.

In May, U.S. prosecutors announced the indictments of five Chinese military officers for allegedly hacking into the computers of American companies, escalating tensions between the countries about cyber-security.

Apple customers will receive e-mails and other alerts on their iPhones and iPads if someone tries to change a password, log in from a new device or restore files, according to the security features announced last month.


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Apple Inc. Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook met with Chinese Vice Premier Ma Kai to discuss protecting user data, state media reported, two days after a report that hackers targeted its iCloud services. Meeting in Beijing, the two discussed more cooperation in information...
apple, china, icloud, hack
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2014-29-22
Wednesday, 22 October 2014 07:29 AM
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