Mat Honan, former Gizmodo writer now working for Wired, explains how hackers got into his iPhone, iBook, iPad, Twitter, Amazon and Gmail accounts using nothing more than social engineering mixed with security flaws on how Apple's customer service identifies a user.
[...] what happened to me exposes vital security flaws in several customer service systems, most notably Apple's and Amazon's. Apple tech support gave the hackers access to my iCloud account. Amazon tech support gave them the ability to see a piece of information -- a partial credit card number -- that Apple used to release information. In short, the very four digits that Amazon considers unimportant enough to display in the clear on the web are precisely the same ones that Apple considers secure enough to perform identity verification. The disconnect exposes flaws in data management policies endemic to the entire technology industry, and points to a looming nightmare as we enter the era of cloud computing and connected devices.
This isn't just my problem. Since Friday, Aug. 3, when hackers broke into my accounts, I've heard from other users who were compromised in the same way, at least one of whom was targeted by the same group.
Moreover, if your computers aren't already cloud-connected devices, they will be soon. Apple is working hard to get all of its customers to use iCloud. Google's entire operating system is cloud-based. And Windows 8, the most cloud-centric operating system yet, will hit desktops by the tens of millions in the coming year. My experience leads me to believe that cloud-based systems need fundamentally different security measures. Password-based security mechanisms -- which can be cracked, reset, and socially engineered -- no longer suffice in the era of cloud computing.
|Shit That Siri Says|
|Cryptography That Could End Software Piracy|
|IBM Makes a Stop Motion Movie Using Atoms|
|Do you really think that ICQ is better than IRC?|
|“Seen from the inside, its Chrome browser looks a lot like surveillance software.”|
|The (Very Scary) People of Public Transit|
|“Working less is good for the environment.”|
|“I don't know if this is going to be the smartest or the stupidest thing I'm ever gonna do.”|
|“Airbus says his company already has the technology to fly passenger planes without pilots at all.”|
|How to Avoid Jury Duty|
|CaptchaTweet: Write Tweets in Captcha Form|
|“My son died here.”|
|Recycled Vacuum Lamps|
|“Canada is warming at twice the global average.”|
|Fake Name Generator|
|If Sir David Attenborough Restored Vintage Toys|