AT&T confirmed a group of hackers exploited a vulnerability that reportedly compromised the e-mail addresses of 114,000 3G iPad owners. Some of the stolen e-mail addresses belonged to officials in the military, NASA and high-profile companies.
AT&T confirmed a security breach exposed the e-mail addresses of 3G iPad
The breach was first
reported by Gawker.com
after a group called Goatse Security exploited a
security hole on AT&T's Website. As a result, the group was able to get its
hands on the e-mail addresses of 114,000
owners of 3G iPads
"AT&T was informed by a business customer on Monday of the potential
exposure of their iPad ICC IDs [integrated circuit card identifiers]," an
AT&T spokesperson said. "The only information that can be derived from the
ICC IDs is the e-mail address attached to that device. This issue was
escalated to the highest levels of the company and was corrected by Tuesday;
and we have essentially turned off the feature that provided the e-mail
According to Gawker, Goatse Security
the data through a script on AT&T's Website. When provided
with an ICC-ID as part of an HTTP request, the script would return the
associated e-mail addresses.
"The security researchers were able to guess a large swath of ICC IDs by
looking at known iPad 3G ICC IDs ... which can also be obtained through friendly
associates who own iPads and are willing to share their information, available
within the iPad 'Settings' application," according to Gawker. "To make
AT&T's servers respond, the security group merely had to send an iPad-style
'User agent' header in their Web request. Such headers identify users' browser
types to Websites."
The stolen e-mail addresses included some military officials as well as
top executives at companies such as Dow Jones and the New York Times Company.
Though Goatse Security told Gawker it notified AT&T of the breach,
AT&T's spokesperson said, "The person or group who discovered this gap did
not contact AT&T." According to Gawker, a member of the group said the
script was shared with third parties prior to AT&T closing the security
hole and it's not known whose hands the exploit may have fallen into and what
they did with any stolen data.
"We are continuing to investigate and will inform all customers whose e-mail
addresses and ICC IDs may have been obtained," the AT&T spokesperson said.
"We take customer privacy very seriously and while we have fixed this problem,
we apologize to our customers who were impacted."