By B.N. Frank
Since 2019, Apple has known that its AirDrop feature has been leaking user information. Thanks to a lawsuit, millions of iPhone users are now learning their devices have also been compromised.
From Ars Technica
Apple brass discussed disclosing 128-million iPhone hack, then decided not to
Emails entered into Epic Games lawsuit show execs contradicting Apple talking points.
In September 2015, Apple managers had a dilemma on their hands: should, or should they not, notify 128 million iPhone users of what remains the worst mass iOS compromise on record? Ultimately, all evidence shows, they chose to keep quiet.
The mass hack first came to light when researchers uncovered 40 malicious App Store apps, a number that mushroomed to 4,000 as more researchers poked around. The apps contained code that made iPhones and iPads part of a botnet that stole potentially sensitive user information.
128 million infected.
An email entered into court this week in Epic Games’ lawsuit against Apple shows that, on the afternoon of September 21, 2015, Apple managers had uncovered 2,500 malicious apps that had been downloaded a total of 203 million times by 128 million users, 18 million of whom were in the US.
“Joz, Tom and Christine—due to the large number of customers potentially affected, do we want to send an email to all of them?” App Store VP Matthew Fischer wrote, referring to Apple Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing Greg Joswiak and Apple PR people Tom Neumayr and Christine Monaghan. The email continued:
If yes, Dale Bagwell from our Customer Experience team will be on point to manage this on our side. Note that this will pose some challenges in terms of language localizations of the email, since the downloads of these apps took place in a wide variety of App Store storefronts around the world (e.g. we wouldn’t want to send an English-language email to a customer who downloaded one or more of these apps from the Brazil App Store, where Brazilian Portuguese would be the more appropriate language).
The dog ate our disclosure
About 10 hours later, Bagwell discusses the logistics of notifying all 128 million affected users, localizing notifications to each users’ language, and “accurately includ[ing] the names of the apps for each customer.”
Alas, all appearances are that Apple never followed through on its plans. An Apple representative could point to no evidence that such an email was ever sent. Statements the representative sent on background—meaning I’m not permitted to quote them—noted that Apple instead published only this now-deleted post.
Other bad Apple news includes:
- Apple has warned that people with pacemakers and other medical implants should not hold iPhone 12 models near their bodies.
- Apple has been criticized for its “colossal e-waste timebomb”.
- An Apple supplier plant in China may be playing a role in creating a leukemia cluster in the neighborhood where it is located.
Activist Post reports regularly about unsafe technology. For more information, visit our archives.
Provide, Protect and Profit from what’s coming! Get a free issue of Counter Markets today.