AT&T Security Breach Hits iPad Owners

The hole in the AT&T Web site exposed e-mail addresses that correlated with iPad serial numbers. Gawker

In the latest security sideshow for Apple, a breach in an AT&T website exposed iPad owners, including "dozens of CEOs, military officials, and top politicians," according to the gossip site Gawker.

The hole in the AT&T Web site exposed e-mail addresses that correlated with iPad serial numbers.
Gawker

The breach reportedly exposed subscribers' e-mail addresses and ID information used to authenticate subscribers on AT&T's network, the report said. AT&T has since closed the security hole. Gawker, which says that victims remain unaware of the breach, is reporting that the roster of owners affected included New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel.

Earlier this spring, an Apple employee left a prototype of a developmental iPhone in a Silicon Valley bar which was then sold to the website Gizmodo (which is owned by Gawker). That set off a chain of events culminating in Apple CEO Steve Jobs personally interceding to demand the return of the lost unit.

This time around, Apple's latest PR headache is related to a security lapse that was in AT&T's website. The hacking group Goatse Security turned over the list of addresses it was able to obtain to Gawker. In a statement, AT&T said it was tipped off to the "potential exposure" of user information by a customer.

"The only information that can be derived from the ICC IDS is the e-mail address attached to that device," the company said. AT&T added that it has since essentially turned off the feature that provided the e-mail addresses as it continues to investigate what happened. For AT&T, the breach likely will invite more criticism. As the exclusive wireless carrier for the iPad and the iPhone in the United States, AT&T has faced ongoing criticism from iPhone users - especially on the coasts - about the performance of its network.

Gawker claims that 114,000 user accounts have been compromised. It said that a call to Rahm Emanuel's office at the White House was not returned.

Since its April debut, the iPad has sold more than 2 million units worldwide.

Also See:

CNET: AT&T Web site Exposes Data of 114,000 iPad Users
Taylor Buley: AT&T's iPad Hackers 'Ignored' By Reuters, Other Mainstream Press
Goatse analyst explains AT&T data breach

  • Charles Cooper On Twitter»

    Charles Cooper is an executive editor at CNET News. He has covered technology and business for more than 25 years, working at CBSNews.com, the Associated Press, Computer & Software News, Computer Shopper, PC Week, and ZDNet. E-mail Charlie.

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