Q. I have seen several articles where you mention that hackers have millions of usernames and passwords. I read an article claiming this is false. Do you know if it is true? Thanks!
-Ted from Rochester, Minnesota listens to my national radio show on Supertalk 1570 am.
A. I completely understand why you're confused, Ted. Many people are. On one hand, you're listening to my radio show and reading Komando.com. One of my goals is to make sure your identity and personal information are safe.
It's true, Ted. Hackers steal usernames, passwords, IDs, money and more all the time. I'll explain more about that in a minute.
But, on the other hand, you read conflicting news, like the article that you mentioned. Let me backtrack for a minute.
You may have heard about the Turkish Crime Family. It's a hacking group that was trying to extort Apple out of $75,000 to $700,000. The group claimed to have access to 559 million Apple email accounts and iCloud accounts. They said they'd delete their access to these accounts only when Apple paid them in a digital currency like Bitcoin. The group also said they would accept $100,000 in Apple iTunes gift cards.
Ted, this is the most important thing to know about this hacker group. It turned out they were all talk and no action. Yet, they likely do have access to millions of accounts.
However, an Apple spokesperson told Fortune magazine the following: "There have not been any breaches in any of Apple's systems, including iCloud and Apple email. The alleged list of email addresses and passwords appears to have been obtained from previously compromised third-party services."
In other words, if the hackers do have access to millions of Apple usernames and passwords, they were not stolen from Apple. They were more likely obtained from one of the worst data breaches in recent memory.