So there you are, typing away at iMessenger, and suddenly you receive a message in – Chinese? Then you receive another message, and another. You're probably not fluent in hanzi characters, so you just stare at the text and suppress your fear.
Soon after, you receive an unnerving message: Your Apple ID has been logged into another computer.
For the past few weeks, many iMessenger users have been reporting on social media about these surreal spam alerts. Since most of these users can't read Chinese, the purpose of these texts is hard to discern. But most of them seem like spam messages sent from a panoply of unfamiliar phone numbers.
Even experts are struggling to understand the attackers' exact strategy. It seems that foreign hackers are praying on weak Apple ID passwords. Once they have cracked the code, they try to log into an Apple account in another country. This alerts the iPhone owner, who declines permission. But even doing so may result in a cyclone of incomprehensible spam.
Apple has struggled with many security issues in the past couple years, particularly with regard to "jailbroken" iPhones. Apple products have a long-held reputation for being safer against viruses and malware, but hackers are becoming increasingly adept at infiltrating iPhones and their ilk.
Whatever the hackers' motivation or origins, their messages may have left some clues as to their whereabouts: Along with the Chinese characters, some of the messages have been bookended with the flag of the People's Republic of China, as well as the flag of Macau.