Hackers tricked Apple and Meta, the parent company of Facebook, into giving them user data by posing as law enforcement officers with forged legal requests.
In mid-2021, Apple and Meta handed over basic subscriber details including customer addresses, phone numbers and IP addresses in response to fake “emergency data requests.” Typically, search warrants or subpoenas must be signed by a judge, but this is not the case with emergency requests — they do not require a court order, Bloomberg reported.
The user data handed over by Apple and Meta may have been used to conduct financial fraud, sources said.
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“We block known compromised accounts from making requests and work with law enforcement to respond to incidents involving suspected fraudulent requests, as we have done in this case.”
An Apple spokesperson told The Hill that Apple was following the guidelines that outline which law enforcement agencies can seek customer data.
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“The government or law enforcement agent who submits the Emergency Government & Law Enforcement Information Request should provide the supervisor’s contact information in the request,” the guidelines read.
It’s been reported that the hackers may be a group of teenagers who are behind other cyberattacks. They may also be involved with cybercrime groups Recursion Team or Lapsus$, sources involved in the investigation told Bloomberg.
The South American hacking group Lapsus$ was responsible for hacking Microsoft, Okta, NVIDIA, and Vodafone in early 2022.
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