Two arrested in Moscow for Apple ransomware attacks

Security

by Jimmy Nicholls| 11 June 2014

Speculation brews over whether the pair were behind attacks in Australia.

An adult and a teenager from Moscow have been arrested on suspicion of attacking iPhones, iPads and Macs with ransomware.

Though Russian police have yet to confirm the connection, the case bears close resemblance to an attack last month in Australia in which owners of Apple devices were told they had to pay to have their devices unlocked.

According to Russian police the suspects operated a phishing scheme intended to bind Apple devices to an account controlled by the criminals, making it difficult for the proper owners to reclaim their items when the devices were blocked.

Since spring of this year the police force has received reports of hackers encrypting Apple devices through the "Find my iPhone" feature, normally used to find or block missing or stolen phones and tablets.

After the two suspects aged 16 and 23 were detained their apartments were searched, with computer equipment, SIM cards, phones and hacking literature seized. They have been charged with unauthorised access to computer information.

Ransomware attacks have become very popular of late, with the malware recently hitting the headlines as international police brought down a botnet used to spread CryptoLocker, a virus estimated to have made Russian and Ukrainian cybercriminals $27m in the first two months.

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