Just days after Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) launched its iPhone 6 and 6 Plus in China, the company’s iCloud service has come under cyberattacks. Anti-censorship watchdog GreatFire.org alleged that Chinese government authorities are behind the “man-in-the-middle” (MITM) style attacks. China seems to have expanded its Internet eavesdropping campaign to iCloud, in an apparent attempt to steal usernames, passwords, emails, contacts and photos.
Attacks target everyone accessing the iCould from within China
The attacks come at a time when pro-democracy protests have intensified in the past few weeks. Apple’s new iPhones have received an overwhelming response in China. GreatFire said the attack was still ongoing on Monday morning. Beginning Saturday, the watchdog noticed that certain connections made to iCloud site in the country were not responding with a trusted digital certificate. It makes the iCloud vulnerable to decryption.
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In an MITM attack, the attacker sits between the two parties, iCloud and users in this case. To each party, the attacker pretends that it is the one at the other end. In the process, they eavesdrop on the communications between two parties and collect data. The attack is targeting everyone accessing Apple’s iCloud from within China.
GreatFire advised iCloud users in the country not to use the 360 Browser made by Qihoo, which is wildly popular in China. The watchdog said it’s not secure. Instead, it recommended users to browse through Firefox and Chrome. A two-step verification can also help users prevent their accounts from being compromised.
Apple not the only one to be attacked in China
In the past few months, similar MITM-style attacks have hit Microsoft, Google and Github. Yahoo also suffered a similar attack last month. Swedish security firm Netresec said that Chinese authorities are making such attacks to monitor and censor content Chinese users are trying to access. Even before the launch of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus 6 in China, government authorities asked Apple to make some security changes to its iOS software.
Apple shares inched up 0.78% to $98.43 in pre-market trading Monday.