The hacker collective Anonymous hasn’t been making headlines like they used to since a few dud operations and the high-profile bust (and flip) of a local leader, but the splinter group Antisec grabbed sufficient attention today by combining the FBI, Apple, and potentially your iPhone, all in one leak. The group claims to have released the Apple unique device identifiers, or UDIDs, for 1,000,001 devices out of a total of more than 12 million they say they snagged from the computer of FBI special agent Christopher Stangl in March. But why now, and what does it mean? Anonymous won’t really say until they settle a petty score.
While AntiSec implies that the FBI is tracking the public’s Apple devices surreptitiously, security researcher Marcus Carey is unconvinced, telling the Times, “There are a million ways this could have happened,” and adding, “Apple could have been breached. AT&T could have been breached. A video game maker could have been breached. The F.B.I. could have obtained the file while doing forensics on another data breach.”
“This is smoke, not fire,” Carey insisted. “This poses very little risk. None of this information could be used to hack someone or launch an attack.” The FBI, meanwhile, has declined to comment so far. (In a more interesting twist, one of the IDs compromised belongs to “hobamain,” which may or may not be our Apple-fan president.)
Update: The FBI says it wasn’t them in a statement to Gizmodo: “The FBI is aware of published reports alleging that an FBI laptop was compromised and private data regarding Apple UDIDs was exposed. At this time, there is no evidence indicating that an FBI laptop was compromised or that the FBI either sought or obtained this data.”
But Anonymous is remaining mum on the context of the leak until they can publicly humiliate Gawker writer Adrian Chen, who has been critical of the group in the past. From the hackers’ release:
to journalists: no more interviews to anyone till Adrian Chen get featured in the front page of Gawker, a whole day, with a huge picture of him dressing a ballet tutu and shoe on the head, no photoshop.
Chen is “currently in negotiations,” he told Daily Intel: “I’m not doing it unless I can get at least some kind of guarantee from someone that this isn’t just for the lulz.” So, this could take a while.