) and Amazon (NASDAQ:
) are in the process of making significant changes to security
policies this week in an effort to prevent another hacker attack.
On Friday, Wired reporter Mat Honan
told the full story about his "epic hacking"
that involved his Amazon and AppleID accounts. In short, the clever
hackers were able to gain control of Honan's AppleID and erase all
of his data by first breaking into his Amazon account. The hackers
pulled this off even though the two accounts do not share the same
This was accomplished when the hackers called Amazon to pretend
that they were Honan and added a fake credit card. Afterwards, they
called Amazon again and claimed that they lost the account
password. To reset it, Amazon wanted the last four digits of one of
the credit cards on the account. The hackers then gave them the
last four digits of the fake credit card. This enabled them to
retrieve the last four digits of Honan's real credit card, which
they then used (in conjunction with Honan's birth date, which they
found after performing a Google (NASDAQ:
) search) to get a temporary password to Honan's AppleID
As a result of the attack, Amazon no longer allows users to
change any account settings over the phone,
Apple, meanwhile, has frozen all AppleID password requests made
over the phone.
It is not yet known how many additional changes may be made to
ensure that another hacking does not occur.
Part of the problem surrounds the data-wiping feature that
accompanies every AppleID account. Apple created the feature to
allow users to remotely wipe their iPhones, iPads and MacBooks in
the event that the device is lost or stolen. Unfortunately, hackers
who successfully breach a user's account are able to use the
feature as well, creating a world of problems for users who solely
rely on Apple to protect their data.
This is not the first major hacking to influence the tech
industry, but is the most prominent hacking that impacted the life
of only one man.
Last year, Sony's (NYSE:
) online gaming service, PlayStation Network, went down for roughly
four weeks after hackers successfully attacked the service and
gained access to personally identifiable information (including
credit card numbers) from
more than 70 million users
In July, Yahoo! (NASDAQ: ) announced that more than 450,000
e-mail passwords had after hackers successfully attacked the Yahoo!
This week Reuters announced that one of its Twitter pages had
taken over by hackers
While most involve a breach of data (in which the hackers are
looking to retrieve something specific, such as a credit card
number) or account turmoil (ex: hackers often take over users'
Twitter pages to publish spam), Honan's attack involved the
destruction of data.
Earlier this week, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak
shared his thoughts
on the cloud in a story that, perhaps surprisingly, had nothing to
do with the hacking of Honan's AppleID account.
"I really worry about everything going to the cloud," said
Wozniak. "I think it's going to be horrendous. I think there are
going to be a lot of horrible problems in the next five years."
It seems those problems have already begun to materialize.
(c) 2012 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment advice.
All rights reserved.