How far will a computer junkie go to impress friends online? An article released in yesterday’s edition of the Star Tribune reported that two men were arrested on Tuesday on “charges they stole the e-mail addresses of more than 100,000 Apple iPad users, including politicians and media personalities” by hacking into AT&T’s website. The hackers reportedly stole the information simply to impress fellow hackers and said they did not intend to use the information for criminal purposes. However, authorities warned that the information could have “theoretically” wound up in the hands of the wrong people, such as scam artists.
It’s easy to think that the stolen e-mail addresses aren’t necessarily valuable on their own. After all, many of them could have been guessed by knowing the name of a person and how his or her company/organization constructs its e-mail addresses. However, once it was known that the person was an iPad owner and an AT&T customer, “cybercriminals” and spammers could have sent e-mails that appeared to be sent from Apple or AT&T, trying to trick the recipient into opening the email. The article points out that those e-mails could be very dangerous if used to plant malicious software or viruses on the recipient’s computer or trick the person into sharing vital, private information, such as Social Security or credit card numbers.
Thankfully the hackers were caught before any harm was done, but it definitely teaches a valuable lesson to be cautious of suspicious emails that ask you for personal or sensitive information. When in doubt, make sure to do some research to check it out!