Operation Anti Security, better known as AntiSec, has claimed to have stolen a list of over 12 million Apple iOS devices from an FBI computer. The data includes the devices’ Apple Unique Device Identifiers (UDIDs) and personal information. They have posted a list of 1,000,001 of these devices (minus most personal information) online.
While AntiSec is for obvious reasons somewhat shrouded in mystery, most reports contend that the operation was started by the hacker group Anonymous and another hacker group known as LulzSec, along with others. Reported goals of the operation include protesting government censorship, internet monitoring and even the war on drugs. Government agencies, banks and large corporations are listed as prime targets.
In the posting linked to above, AntiSec provided details about how they obtained the data along with the name and position of the FBI agent whose computer was breached. They stated two main reasons for releasing the data:
a) Reports of FBI mass surveillance or tracking usually result in a few shrugged shoulders followed by a quick case of amnesia. Perhaps releasing so much data will wake people up.
b) They think the use of unique device IDs (UDIDs) is a really bad idea and that the release of this data will encourage Apple to discontinue their use in future products.
The use of UDIDs is not a small thing. They are attached to all iOS devices which includes every iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. Previously Apple made UDIDs available to any app developer that asked. With these UDIDs, app developers and mobile advertising networks can track users – often linking the UDIDs to personal information and sending all that data to other parties without the knowledge of users. Apple has started rejecting apps that collect the UDIDs, but for millions of Apple device owners it’s too late.