It turns out that the alleged hack of an FBI agent’s laptop that supposedly contained 12 million unique device identifier numbers (UDIDs) for Apple devices was all a hoax.
A report from NBC News reveals that the 1 million UDIDs the hackers leaked actually came from “a small Florida publishing company” whose server was hacked two weeks ago.
Paul DeHart, CEO of the Blue Toad publishing company, told NBC News that technicians at his firm downloaded the data released by Anonymous and compared it to the company’s own database. The analysis found a 98 percent correlation between the two datasets.
The hacker group Anonymous claimed in a posting to Pastebin that it had stolen those UDIDs and 11 million others from the laptop of none other than FBI special agent Christopher Stangl, who had appeared in a Facebook video three years ago calling on hackers to join the FBI.
Anonymous claimed the supposed stash of device IDs was evidence of large-scale electronic spying by the FBI, an allegation the Feds denied and which, with this revelation, has now been roundly discredited.
Apple had swiftly denied that it had shared UDIDs with the FBI, but confirmed to NBC News that an app developer like Blue Toad would have access to that information for its customers. “Developers do not have access to users’ account information, passwords or credit card information, unless a user specifically elects to provide that information to the developer,” Apple spokeswoman Trudy Mullter told NBC News.