As AT&T redirects blame for the massive iPad attack that revealed 114,000 of its users’ email addresses, the hackers responsible proclaim they acted for the greater good.
The hackers took advantage of a function that makes the iPad log-in process faster by automatically inputting an e-mail address in an AT&T authentication page with the e-mail used to register the device.
The nine-person hacking group Goatse Security admitted to harvesting the e-mails, which included high profile users such as New York mayor Michael Bloomberg, White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, journalist Diane Sawyer, movie producer Harvey Weinstein, and New York Times CEO Janet Robinson.
The FBI is hounding AT&T for more information about the hack, wanting any relevant documents relating to the security breach, especially after the company admitted that there was indeed a security hole in it’s website that subjected its users to the theft of their private information.
The hackers of Goatse security insist that they did the users a favor by revealing the AT&T security flaw through their efforts, and maintain that their work was done “”in service to the American public.” They believe that the users needed to know that their e-mail addresses could potentially be public knowledge.
“…We did not sell your data to spammers (on the contrary, we destroyed it after Ryan used it; it had served its purpose to us) and we did not try to hack your iPads,” Goatse said. “Your iPads are safer now because of us.”
Their statement raised a few eyebrows, especially since they divulged the information to the press instead of working with AT&T directly to solve the problem.
“I’m not surprised the FBI is looking into it. When you look at the list of names of leaked e-mail addresses, there are people in the White House administration and military leaders on there,” said Michael Gartenberg, a partner at Altimeter Group. “This really was not just an incidental or accidental leak of information. This was a full-bore attack on this web site to get this private information.”
Though it affected an Apple product, many analysts agree that the blame belongs to AT&T because of it’s poorly designed software.