Alternate Reality

AT&T’s iLeak: Hey, We Told You the iPad Would Be Life Changing

The email addresses for more than 100,000 Apple iPad owners were exposed this week. But this is no bug — it’s a magical, revolutionary feature. An eSarcasm exclusive.

By (@tynanwrites)

June 10, 2010

The story you're about to read is not (entirely) true. It is, however, more accurate than most things on network television.

The email addresses of more than 114,000 iPad owners have been exposed due to a security flaw in AT&T’s Web site. However, officials from AT&T and Apple defended the "leak" as yet another of the iPad’s magical, revolutionary features.

"The old way of computing is dead," declared AT&T security consultant Marissa Zuckerberg. "People don’t want to be the only ones who can access their account information. Sharing is the new social norm. At AT&T we get that."

As first reported by Gawker, hackers with clearly too much time on their hands obtained email addresses for the iPad owners via a "brute force" attack: flooding AT&T’s site with random 20-digit numbers until they hit upon the unique ID given to the iPad’s SIM card. When they got a match, the site happily coughed up that iPad owner’s email address. Among the victims: members of the federal government, US military, NASA, major corporations, and Julia Allison, who asked to be included in this list because we haven’t made fun of her in months and she misses the attention.

Now security experts fear the worst, say security experts.

"These people may now be in danger of receiving spam," notes one security expert who was happy to get a call from someone who wasn’t trying to sell him a time share. "Or, worse, they might end up being contacted by long lost relatives trying to hit them up for money."

The flaw was uncovered by Goatse Security, whose members include people named weev, sloth, Rucas, Jmax, GaSSy Stinkiez, and JacksonBrown. Attempts to contact Goatse were unsuccessful, as they were all too busy playing Xbox Live and eating microwaved burritos.

AT&T says it plans to close the security hole by covering it with a dome, and if that doesn’t work, blasting it with a "top kill" shot consisting of data scraped from old AOL chat rooms.

Redacted email list graphic courtesy of Gawker.

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