Hackers Threaten to Wipe iPhones Unless Apple Pays Ransom

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A hacker group is trying to extort up to $100,000 from Apple by threatening to remotely wipe hundreds of millions of iPhones and iCloud accounts it claims it has accessed.

The Vice website blog Motherboard reports that the hackers — who call themselves the “Turkish Crime Family” — are demanding that Apple either fork over $75,000 in cryptocurrencies Bitcoin or Ethereum or give them $100,000 worth of iTunes gift cards.

In exchange, the hackers say they’ll delete the large cache of iCloud and Apple email account data they claim to have. Motherboard says the cybercriminals allegedly have access to anywhere between 300 million and 559 million accounts. The Turkish Crime Family has given Apple a deadline of April 7 to meet its demands.

However, before you panic at the thought of losing all your iPhone’s data — including pictures, videos and other files — an Apple spokesperson tells Fortune that its systems are secure and have not been breached.

In an emailed statement to Fortune, an Apple spokesperson writes:

“There have not been any breaches in any of Apple’s systems including iCloud and Apple ID. The alleged list of email addresses and passwords appears to have been obtained from previously compromised third-party services.”

According to Fortune, it’s possible the hackers’ alleged data cache is from a previous data breach at LinkedIn.

Even if Apple’s response leaves you reassured that your iPhone and iCloud data are safe, this is a good reminder to take extra measures to safeguard your personal information and electronic data.

For example, activate two-factor authentication and make sure you’re not using the same password on multiple sites. According to Fortune:

Apple customers who secure their iCloud accounts with the same passwords they use on other online accounts—especially ones at LinkedIn, Yahoo, Dropbox, and other sites recently revealed to have suffered big breaches over the past few years—should adopt new passwords that are long, strong, and unique.

For more on staying secure, check out:

Have you had your data stolen before? Share your experiences below or on Facebook.

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