Hackers Involved in Locking and Ransoming Apple Devices in Australia Arrested

Two weeks ago, hackers hijacked several iOS and Mac devices in Australia, remotely locking them via iCloud and demanding a ransom from the owner to get the device unlocked.

"Device locked by Oleg Pliss," read the hijacker's message, along with a demand for $50 to $100. Quite a few users were affected and while early speculation suggested iCloud may have been hacked, Apple confirmed that iCloud was not compromised, and that hackers had instead gained access to Apple IDs and passwords, likely through other site breaches where they used similar credentials.

australian_ios_device_hacked
The two hackers behind the attacks have now been detained by Russian authorities, reports The Sydney Morning Herald.

The hackers - aged 17 and 23 - were detained in the course of "operational activities" by the Russian Interior Ministry, Russia's Ministry of Internal Affairs said. They are both residents of the Southern Administrative District of Moscow and one has already been tried before, it said.

According to Russian site MKRU [Google Translate), the two hackers were caught after appearing on camera withdrawing a victim's ransom money from an ATM. The site also confirms the hackers gained access to Apple IDs and passwords via phishing pages and social engineering techniques, then used that information to lock devices. Russian users were also affected, which led to the investigation.

One method of obtaining login information involved a pre-owned account filled with movies and music that was sold to an unsuspecting victim. Once the person linked their own details with the account, it was vulnerable to being hijacked.

During the attacks, users who had passcodes enabled on their devices were able to bypass the hack, but those who had not previously set a passcode were out of luck, requiring a full reinstall of iOS. Apple recommends using a passcode with iOS devices, as well as two-step authentication, which can help thwart attacks like this one.

Top Rated Comments

ionjohn Avatar
113 months ago
May they be hanged
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
EdgardasB Avatar
113 months ago
...now give them a job in cupertino and get our devices safe.

lol? they didn't hacked or breach Apple security, they used simple phishing scamming scheme and found some stupid ppl who doesn't care about their protection while using passwords like 123456...
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Otelm Avatar
113 months ago
ArrestGate!

People are being arrested because of Apple's security fail!1!

Apple si d00med!
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Komrad808 Avatar
113 months ago
YAY! Now with todays technology, find the missing Malaysia plane!
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ChrisA Avatar
113 months ago
ArrestGate!

People are being arrested because of Apple's security fail!1!

Apple si d00med!

No, they tricked the users into giving up their passwords.

But who cares? If you have a recent backup you can simply re-set the phone. It's stupid to pay a ransom.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Nunyabinez Avatar
113 months ago
This title is totally misleading. They were not hackers. This is what it should read.
"Phishers Involved in Locking and Ransoming Apple devices in Australia Detained."

----------

its crazy how someone can be so smart to hack or phish information and hijack a computer....yet walk up to a bank machine that has video surveillance and withdraw the money they stole....
Phishing requires very little intelligence. It requires stupidness on the part of the Phishee.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

iOS 16

iOS 16.3 Now Available for Your iPhone With These 4 New Features

Friday February 3, 2023 1:13 pm PST by
Apple released iOS 16.3 in late January following nearly six weeks of beta testing. The software update is available for the iPhone 8 and newer, and while it is a relatively minor update, it still includes a handful of new features, changes, and bug fixes. Below, we've recapped new features in iOS 16.3, including support for physical security keys as a two-factor authentication option for...
iPhone 14 Pro Purple Side Perspective Feature Purple

Gurman: Apple Considering New High-End iPhone Alongside Pro and Pro Max

Sunday February 5, 2023 6:07 am PST by
Apple has discussed selling a new top-of-the-line iPhone alongside the Pro and Pro Max models in 2024 at the earliest, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. Based on this timeframe, the device would be part of the iPhone 16 lineup or later. In a September 2022 edition of his weekly "Power On" newsletter, Gurman said there was "potential" for an iPhone 15 Ultra to replace the iPhone 15 Pro...
ipad air purple

Deals: M1 iPad Air Hits Record-Low Prices at TigerDirect, Starting at $313.99 (48% Off) [Updated]

Saturday February 4, 2023 10:05 am PST by
Online retailer TigerDirect has slashed pricing on the M1 iPad Air in several colors, offering the base 64GB configuration for just $313.99 in Purple and Pink. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with TigerDirect. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the site running. That's a savings of 48% compared to Apple's normal $599.00...
mac studio pink

Apple May Not Launch Updated Mac Studio With M2 Ultra Chip Due to Similarity With Upcoming Mac Pro

Sunday February 5, 2023 6:06 am PST by
A new version of the Mac Studio with the "M2 Ultra" chip is unlikely to arrive in the near future, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. In the latest edition of his "Power On" newsletter, Gurman explained that since the upcoming Apple silicon Mac Pro is "very similar in functionality to the Mac Studio," Apple may wait until the release of M3- or M4-series chips to update the machine, or...
HomePod 2 White and Midnight Feature Purple Orange

Apple Releases tvOS 16.3.1 and HomePod 16.3.1 Software Updates

Monday February 6, 2023 10:13 am PST by
Apple today released new tvOS 16.3.1 and HomePod 16.3.1 software updates, with the software coming two weeks after the tvOS 16.3 and HomePod 16.3 updates were released. According to Apple's release notes for HomePod software 16.3.1, the update includes general performance and stability improvements. Notes for tvOS 16.3.1 are unavailable as of yet, but are probably similar to the HomePod...
iPhone 15 Pro Blue Feature

iPhone 15 Pro 'Buttonless Design' Rumors: Everything We Know

Monday February 6, 2023 7:44 am PST by
The iPhone 15 Pro models will feature a "buttonless design" thanks to additional Taptic Engines, according to multiple corroborated reports, so what do we know about the change so far? Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo was first to report that the volume and power buttons on this year's two high-end iPhone models will adopt a solid-state design, similar to the iPhone 7's home button, replacing a...
iphone ultra concept daehnert

'iPhone Ultra' Concept Envisions Apple's Rumored Future Top-Tier Smartphone

Tuesday February 7, 2023 5:38 am PST by
Apple has reportedly considered releasing a new top-of-the-line iPhone alongside future Pro and Pro Max models, tentatively referred to as "iPhone Ultra," and one designer has taken it upon himself to envision what such a device could potentially look like. German industrial designer Jonas Daehnert came up with this impressive-looking concept (pictured) by marrying design elements of the...
webkit vs chromium feature

Google Working on Browser for iOS That Would Break Apple's App Store Rules

Saturday February 4, 2023 1:30 am PST by
Google's Chromium developers are working on an experimental web browser for iOS that would break Apple's browser engine restrictions, The Register reports. The experimental browser, which is being actively pursued by developers, uses Google's Blink engine. Yet if Google attempted to release it on the App Store, it would not pass Apple's App Review process. Apple's App Store rules dictate...