Hackers holding iPhones for ransom

'This takes the cake'

wtopstaff | November 15, 2014 6:44 am

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WASHINGTON — First it was learned last week that hackers were able to unlock the data from iPhones through iCloud, and now it’s known what the hackers are doing with the access.

CNN technology contributor Brett Larson says he’s never seen anything like it before: “They’re kidnapping your iPhone!”

He explains that they’ve found a way to exploit the “Find My iPhone” feature, which allows users to find their phones on a map and send a message that can help someone who finds a phone to return it. But the feature also allows you to lock your phone, and that’s the weakness they’ve exploited.

“What these hackers have done is lock people’s iPhones using the ‘Find my iPhone’ feature, and demand ransom for it” through PayPal.

It’s a new wrinkle, Larson says, but too many of us make it easy for the hackers: “We’re relatively new at (putting data into the cloud); we all hate our passwords, so we make them really simple, which makes them easy to hack.”

So what if this happens to you? First off, Larson says, “do not send them any money.” All that does is give the hackers your PayPal information.

A trip to an Apple store can get your phone unlocked, and a factory reset will clear it, which is why “you need to back up all your data locally,” to your computer.

And above all: “Change your password! I feel like a broken record.”

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