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Saturday, 12 August 2017 | MYT 11:00 AM

Protect yourself from blackmail attacks on Apple devices

Lock an Apple device remotely, threaten to erase the data on it and then extort payment from the user to free the device  this is a current scam by criminal hackers. 

The attack makes use of Apple's iCloud-based Find My iPhone feature for lost or stolen iPhones, Macs and the Apple Watch. The attackers need to have the correct Apple ID data for the user (username and password), according to the Mac&i website. This information can come from hacked databases or phishing attacks.

In addition, the search, blocking and erasing function must be enabled on the device that's attacked. This function is a security feature in case a device is lost or stolen.

If you are targeted by such an attack, you should quickly disable the blocking function on the device and also change your Apple ID.

However, this will only work on mobile iOS devices – owners of blocked Macs will have to go to an Apple store or authorised repair shop to get their computer unblocked. — dpa