Imagine the situation: you are sitting at work, your iPhone suddenly reboots on its own, and a message appears on the screen: your device is locked, and it costs $50 to unlock it. You’re shocked: the phone is locked, and you can’t use it anymore.
Most likely, the scammers hacked your email and found the Apple ID tied to it. With simple shenanigans, they change your password, log into your phone, and lock it.
What is iCloud
The iCloud is a 5 GB space where your photos and a variety of other personal information can be stored, which is hosted on Apple’s servers. With the help of the above-mentioned tool your gadgets work systematically, but at the same time iCloud doesn’t allow copying data directly to a certain folder, thus, preventing the possibility of a “leak” of personal information. In a few days, an improved version of this useful service – iCloud Drive – will be available to users.
Of course, many people may start to get sarcastic about this, but if we look back a bit and look at the development of cloud technologies (and the development of network security and user personal data in general), the service from Apple has survived long enough, given its long-standing appearance.
If you look at the big picture, the vast majority of different services and projects have been hacked. From this we can draw a simple conclusion: absolutely everything can be hacked.
Protecting your iCloud account
First, it’s worth repeating the basic ways to protect your iCloud account (and any other account):
- Make up long and complex passwords;
- Be sure to use letters, numbers, and symbols of a different case in your passwords;
- Don’t use one and the same password for different sites. One site – one password. The popular 1Password app can act as a helper if you can’t remember all your passwords. (Or don’t.)
- Use two-factor authentication.
- From time to time change your passwords from sites and services.
Setting up iCloud two-factor authentication
The entire process consists of just a few simple steps:
- Go to the My Apple ID website at https://appleid.apple.com/account/home
- On the right side of the screen, click on “Manage Apple ID”.
- Enter your username and password that matches your Apple ID.
- Select “Password and Security” on the left side of the screen and follow the site prompts by clicking the “Proceed” button. Add a backup email address and answer the system’s questions.
- Wait. Setting up the two-factor authorization will be available after 3 days.
The essence of this authorization is quite simple: you need to add one or more trusted devices that are always with you and are able to receive SMS messages. Once two-factor authorization is enabled, any action on your account (changing credentials, shopping in the app store, etc.) must be confirmed with a 4-digit code, which will come to the trusted device. You can read more details in the official Apple manual.
What to do if you’ve been hacked?
If your account is hacked, you’ll get an email when you change your password. Immediately change your email account password, restore your old account password, check your Windows and Android smartphone for viruses (you can even Mac), and contact Apple Support if you have any problems.
How is money stolen through smartphones?
With access to the Apple id, any tethered iPhone, iPad, and even an iPod Touch connected to the Internet is blocked in two clicks. This is done through the “Find iPhone” app. Moreover, scammers will know exactly where your locked iPhone is, and can use this information against you.
What the intruder will do with this data depends only on his imagination. Knowing with whom the victim is communicating, an intruder can blackmail you by publishing intimate photos. He may tell his wife or husband about the affair on the side. Knowing where you work, may find among your correspondence unpleasant words about your boss – and forward them to the boss. Just imagine that someone got into your phone and wants to hurt you on purpose.
A few years ago, hackers were able to gain access to thousands of Aiklauds. Among them were the iClouds of celebrities: Jennifer Lawrence, Kaley Cuoco, Kirsten Dunst, and many other lesser-known women. It turned out that the actresses’ Iclouds contained intimate photos. All of them ended up on the Internet.
How dangerous is this?
The burglars will know where you work, who you talk to, and what you say behind your back. You can be blackmailed with this.
If you forwarded passport scans via iMessage, unscrupulous micro-loan providers will give the scammer a loan: on his card, but in your name.
To avoid risking your career, money, and reputation, take care of the security of your personal data in advance.
What to do?
The main rule: keep calm and under no circumstances should you pay fraudsters. Immediately call Apple tech support in your country.
Apple tech support USA phone number:
900 812 703
It is unlikely that the scammers will stop and quietly return your phone. If you pay, they’ll realize they have easy prey and squeeze even more money and nerves. When the victim pays, it shows they can be manipulated. Don’t do that.
How don’t get caught in the same situation?
Come up with complicated passwords for Apple id and mail. Password 123456 or qwerty a hacker with a powerful computer will pick it up in seconds. That’s why users are recommended to come up with passwords with upper and lower case letters, numbers, and special characters. They are much harder to pick.
Install a password manager. Even if you set a password like nO0new1LhaCKme! an intruder can watch you enter it while standing behind your back. This can be avoided by using a password manager. Some of them have apps for iPhones and browser plug-ins. The password can simply be copied and pasted, and no one can see it. Some managers offer to come up with a complex password for you.
How to get it right: A strong password
Turn on two-factor authentication for Apple ID. Two-factor authentication will prevent crooks from logging into your account, even if they’ve stolen your password. If it’s enabled, a numeric code will arrive on your trusted iPhone, iPad, or MacBook. You won’t be able to sign in without it and steal your data.
Send personal data and intimate photos via Telegram or Snapchat. Create a secret chat in Telegram that deletes everything as soon as the session is closed. And Snapchat basically deletes everything right away. After sending, delete the photo from your phone.
Be wary if an acquaintance asks what your first dog’s name was. Remember: scammers steal accounts by answering control questions, too.
Don’t buy “gray” iPhones. They are sold in dubious stores and are much cheaper than the official ones. They may have spyware installed that can spy on your password or even lock your phone without access to iCloud. If you hear the words “unlocked” or “jailbreak” – take your money and leave.
Be careful when buying an iPhone “from hand”. When buying, make the seller do a complete factory reset of all settings, and have him do it in front of you. Immediately log in to your Aicloud by Apple ID. Demand the receipt he used to buy the phone in the store. Check the serial number on the box against the serial number on the case. If you have time, check what batch your phone’s serial number belongs to – if it was bought in the U.S., it must belong to that country’s batch.
- Don’t panic and don’t pay extortionists.
- Call tech support. Prepare data to help identify you.
- Use strong passwords and password managers.
- Enable two-factor authentication.
In any case, you need to understand the main thing: absolutely no one is immune to account hacking. Even if you take all necessary precautions, a loophole may still be found on a company’s servers, if not on your own. No one is 100% safe from hacking attacks. Nevertheless, make up complex passwords, use two-factor authentication, and don’t sync your intimate photos with the cloud. And it’s not just about iCloud.