Jimmy Neutron, Is That You?
Apple is attempting to quiet worries and outcries from a number of customers concerned about the security of their files after a teenage boy reportedly hacked his way through their systems and stole 90GB of encrypted data, according to a report by The Age.
This Melbourne Private Schoolboy, who cannot be named due to legal restrictions, hacked into the tech giant’s mainframe from the comfort of his home for no real reason, other than, according to his lawyer, he was “a fan of the company”.
In addition to the 90GB download, his hearing in The Children’s Court on Thursday, August 16th, 2018 revealed that he had also accessed personal info from several customer accounts.
However, in Apple’s attempt to calm customers, they claimed that although accounts were accessed, the data from those accounts were not compromised.
But the rhetoric Apple is trying to use to quell customer concerns is actually pretty close to the truth: It’s not that Apple’s security systems were by any means weak or easy to beat, it’s that the kid in question is a child hacking prodigy. In fact, according to his defense lawyer, his identity has been withheld because his name has become so famous in the international hacking community that merely mentioning it publicly could put him at serious risk.
When the FBI finally gathered enough informational against him to perform a raid on his house, their investigation of the boy’s computer discovered that all the hacking files and instructions were saved in a folder titled “hacky hack hack”.
During their investigation of the systems used during the hack, the FBI passed the case onto AFP.
On the computer and phone confiscated from the boy’s home, the AFP found systems that would allow him to break through Apple’s high-security measures.
And according to The Age, “Further analysis found that the schoolboy successfully accessed “authorized keys” as part of his offending.”
The teen’s break-in’s and hackings of Apple’s systems reportedly worked “flawlessly” until Apple eventually detected his presence and blocked him, according to his hearing in The Child Court. He had broken through their defenses multiple times over the course of a full year.
After the hearing, the boy told a policeman that he dreams of working for Apple someday.
Legal matters will be postponed until a later date, due to the complexities of this court case and the threats that could result from publicly exposing the boy’s identity. But with the reduced sentences granted by the boy’s young age, there is a possibility that he may in fact end up working for Apple, or at least some kind of major security company, in the future.
After all, according to Apple’s press covering up the event, the FBI’s exposure of the nature of the teen’s attacks helped the company patch up a major hole in their security systems. And although his original access route is now closed, there’s no guarantee that he wouldn’t have found another one if given time and space.
Security companies have used similar promotions in the past, launching campaigns and competitions that encourage and reward hackers who manage to bust through their security. When the hacker is successful, they’re awarded a sum of money – and the company gets to close up that hole, making their product even better. It’s a win-win.
If this boy’s hacking skill and prowess is as good as it appears to be, he could very quickly become a highly sought-after name in the security business. And Apple may soon be very happy to hear that he’s willing to consider their offers over those of anyone else.