After working on the web for almost 15 years, 12 of those working in Information Technology, and doing a considerable amount of work in computer forensics and security, you’d think I picked up a thing or two about how to protect yourself online. Nonetheless, I got hacked. Specifically, my Apple iTunes account was hacked.
Synopsis on how it went down…
- Was trying to update an app on my iPad. After submitting my iTunes password, I kept getting incorrect password errors.
- I went online to my iTunes account and reset the password. I was then able to log into iTunes, but my apps appeared to be associated with a different account. I figured something got corrupted with my account.
- Contacted Apple support, and was eventually transferred to their iTunes support staff. It was explained that my username was changed (it was a derivative of my previous username) and they’d help me clear it up.
- While on the phone, I was able to connect…but then…apps that I never purchased started downloading. RED FLAG. I explained this to the support staffer, and we looked at my purchase history.
- Sure enough, on 2 occasions in the past week, iPhone apps were purchased on my account without my knowledge. Since my credit card info was contained in my account, anyone with access to my account could make purchases. Total charged was around $40.
- Apple support confirmed that they were originally downloaded to an iPhone serial number NOT belonging to me. Bing…fraud.
- Support staff suggested I change my username and password (which I did) and to contact my Credit Card bank.
- I reported fraudulent activity on the card to my bank and had it canceled. The good news was we determined that no other fraudulent purchases took place. Thankfully, the bank has agreed to reimburse me the $40.
The last thing I did was (and which I HIGHLY recommend you do) remove my credit card info from my iTunes account. After doing some Googling on ‘itunes account hacked‘, it seems that this problem might be widespread and under-reported.
My account password was pretty strong and I do not engage in risky online behavior. Without having access to more information, it’s impossible for me to determine how the hack took place. If I had to guess, some rogue outfit has figured out a way to brute-force password crack iTunes accounts.
Using strong passwords and practicing good computer security habits isn’t enough to avoid getting hacked. Stay on top of bank and credit card activities as well and call your bank immediately if you suspect any fraudulent transactions.