Hackers reveal FBI is tracking 12 million Apple users

“Does the release of one million Apple UDIDs (Unique Device Identifiers)–including device types and associated usernames–reveal a massive device-tracking operation involving the FBI, an attempt by the hacktivist group AntiSec to make the bureau look bad, or something in between?” Mathew J. Schwartz asks for InformationWeek.

“For now, the related debate continues to rage online,” Schwartz reports. “The FBI, for its part, took to Twitter Tuesday to say that any suggestion that one of its agents was collecting or storing millions of UDIDs was “totally false” and that the agency ‘never had the info in question.’ In an official statement emailed to journalists, meanwhile, the FBI said that ‘at this time there is no evidence indicating that an FBI laptop was compromised or that the FBI either sought or obtained this data.'”

Schwartz reports, “In response to the FBI’s official statement, AntiSec noted via the AnonymousIRC channel that ‘this is far from denial,’ and continued to taunt the FBI. ‘Before you deny too much: Remember we’re sitting on 3TB additional data. We have not even started,’ it said.”

Read more in the full article here.

John Paczkowski reports for AllThingsD, “Apple has finally weighed in on hacker group AntiSec’s claims that it has obtained millions of unique device identifiers for Apple devices (UDIDs) from an FBI laptop… ‘The FBI has not requested this information from Apple, nor have we provided it to the FBI or any organization. Additionally, with iOS 6 we introduced a new set of APIs meant to replace the use of the UDID and will soon be banning the use of UDID,’ Apple spokesperson Natalie Kerris told AllThingsD.”

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Carl H.” for the heads up.]

30 Comments

    1. Government has access to the OS, if the NSA wants access it will have it. Governments are always breaching personal privacy and for individual users is different. They have to find ways around and this hack. They are not given an invitation by a back door. People are really surprised by this? Look up NSA Yottabyte and try this link to start:

      http://m.techcrunch.com/2009/11/01/nsa-to-store-yottabytes-of-surveillance-data-in-utah-megarepository/

      1. “that [surveillance] capability at any time could be turned around on the American people and no American would have any privacy left, such [is] the capability to monitor everything: telephone conversations, telegrams, it doesn’t matter. There would be no place to hide. If this government ever became a tyranny, if a dictator ever took charge in this country, the technological capacity that the intelligence community has given the government could enable it to impose total tyranny, and there would be no way to fight back, because the most careful effort to combine together in resistance to the government, no matter how privately it was done, is within the reach of the government to know. Such is the capability of this technology …
”I don’t want to see this country ever go across the bridge. I know the capacity that is there to make tyranny total in America, and we must see to it that this agency [NSA] and all agencies that possess this technology operate within the law and under proper supervision, so that we never cross over that abyss. That is the abyss from which there is no return.”
        — Senator Frank Church (D-Idaho), 1975, quoted in James Bamford, “The Puzzle Palace”

        “If this were a dictatorship, it would be a heck of a lot easier, just so long as I’m the dictator.” 

        — George W. Bush, December 18, 2000

        (The Obama administration has continued Bush’s surveillance policies, there’s no real difference between the two on this point.)

        1. Mark, Bush was not the originator of this. The NSA has been around a long time and these polices have progressed under every President. The larger the government and the more it is involved in ones life, the more power the government can exact. Polices have continued and expanded under Obama. It will continue to do so under every party until the real government, we the people, put a stop to it. The answer- it is us, the people. Who created the US Government? The Consitution list the citizens that established this. We the people built all this. They should be subject to us and we should be able to surveillance our politicians. Just a thought.

        1. What FBI agent carries around 3TB on an external drive with his laptop? I can’t even imagine that would be allowed by the FBI as it would be a HUGE security risk.

          But stranger things have happened.

    1. Take a standard laptop, replace the hard drive with a 2TB drive, then replace the optical disk drive with a second 2TB drive. It’s not that hard especially if government is footing the bill.

  1. If you ask me this AntiSec group has some Humungous Kryptonite Cajones to taunt the FBI about info on a stolen Computer owned by the FBI. It obviously wasn’t a Mac or they’d have found it by now. AntiSec must not be in this country.

  2. According to the FBI yesterday, they do not track UDID data, and the real source of this data did not come from compromised FBI computing resources. Made a good story though.

    1. Kind of yesterday’s news on several other sites Tuesday, along with, earlier this morning, disclaimers from both FBI and Apple re. UDID and its being abandoned iOS 6, being replaced by a new set of API’s. Of course, the tinfoil hat folks are having a field day with it.

    1. Beyond whether the FBI/NSA/CIA/DoD/Michelle Obama/whomever had this information, and whether it is legit, and whether it is really a slick phishing plot to get you to log in to check if your UDID was “hacked”, does it really matter?

      Are you really going to change your mobile device/internet usage habits if the FBI had this info?

  3. Mabe this has been the reason apple has been working with developers to eliminate udid numbers. In ios6 they take a major leap with better Facebook integration. I for one do not think its because the want to make socializing easier but to identify the user on the device. Which essentially is the same thing as a unique device identifier but I’m not a major tetchy so I couldn’t tell you of any major pros vs cons. But we shall see what the future holds

  4. As the saying goes, extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof. AntiSec needs to back up their claims better:
    – Provide some better evidence that this came from an FBI laptop, with documents that could only come from FBI laptop. Internal memos, emails, candid shots of Agent Whatsisname from Bermuda….
    – Explain the 3TB bit. Was that from one laptop, or from several?

    One thing to keep in mind: AntiSec has a vested interest in making the FBI’s “white hat” hacker expert look bad, or even criminal. They have plenty of motive to set him up the bomb.

  5. If it catches some serious criminals, or keeps NY or any other large city from getting blown up again, I don’t care if they track them all. I have nothing to hide. The only ones who should have fear are the ones who have something to hide.

    1. 9/11 was a tragedy. The FBI had the information, yet could not prevent it.

      Further invasion of our privacy is not the answer.

      And before you attack me as unpatriotic or whatever: I lost 343 brothers that day, and more since to illness caused at Ground Zero. How about you?

      1. Um…I had no intention of attacking you. Just saying whatever info they can intercept is fine with me. I don’t feel threatened by the FBI or any agency tracking or listening for possible patterns that become tip offs. Some are preventable, sadly not all will be.

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