Australian iOS and Mac Users Locked Out from Devices for Ransom

A growing number of Australian Apple customers are reportedly having their devices remotely locked by hackers, who are then demanding a payment of up to $100 to unlock them, reports The Age. The issue was also posted to the Apple Support Communities yesterday and since then the thread has grown to over 18 pages.

Australian hack

From the thread:

“I was using my ipad a short while ago when suddenly it locked itself, and was askiwhich I’d never previously set up. I went to check my phone and there was a message on the screen (it’s still there) saying that my device(s) had been hacked by ‘Oleg Pliss’ and he/she/they demanded $100 USD/EUR (sent by paypal to lock404(at) to return them to me.”

According to a PayPal spokesman, there is no PayPal account linked to the email address used by the hacker to message the troubled users, and emphasized that the money sent by the victims would be refunded.

IT security expert Troy Hunt points out that the hackers may have gained access to login credentials from recent data breaches and used Apple’s Find My iPhone service to lock out the users.

This hack apparently works with users who forgot to enable the two-step verification for their Apple ID, so we highly recommend they enable it now by following the steps described here.