April 7th is the day that Apple users need to have circled on their calendars. Why? Because there is a chance that you and 200 million other Apple users could get your devices wiped.
Earlier in the week Motherboard broke a news story that some Turkish Crime family has threatened to wipe all these Apple devices unless the ransom is paid. When I first read the story I thought that the ransom would be in the millions of dollars, but I guessed way high. The ransom requested is between $75,000 and $100,000.
Why the spread?
The crime family has requested that Apple either pays in bitcoin (the currency of choice for criminals) or iTunes gift cards. No joke. Either these criminals REALLY like music or they need to work on their negotiation skills.
After seeing how low the ransom request was I did some more reading into this never-heard-of criminal family. I found they have a motto that would impress most corporate businesses:
“Make millions this year, $500 at a time.”
So if they can extort a relatively small amount form a large number of people they will reach their goal. Makes sense.
Apple has released a statement that “we do not reward cyber criminals for breaking the law.” Considering how many hackers out there would love to make money off of Apple, it’s a smart move so other don’t attempt the same thing.
So these criminal decided to throw their coming out party by blackmailing one of the biggest companies in the world, asking for pennies, and tipping off what they were planning on doing. They sound about as bright as Harry and Marv.
Just in case Apple Armageddon is legit, what is there to do?
Greg Leffler, a Senior Editor at LinkedIn, has released an article and video about what you can do to protect yourself. The criminals haven’t said exactly how they are going delete 200 million accounts, but it is safe to guess they have hacked the easiest of passwords and tested them out. According to Leffler, the best thing you can do is set up two-factor authentication (2FA) for your Apple ID. Other options would be to change your password and/or back up your apple devices constantly until April 7 arrives and the “threat” has passed.
To turn on two-factor authentication on your Apple device follow these steps.
iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch
- Go to settings > iCloud > click your Apple ID
- Click Passwords & Security
- Click “Turn on Two-Factor Authentication
- Go to Apple () menu > System Preferences > iCloud > Account Details.
- Click Security.
- Click Turn on Two-Factor Authentication.
For more information on two-factor authentication read this.
Good luck out there. Because April 7th could be like this for Apple users.