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Owners of Apple devices across Australia have reported that their devices have been hacked and are being digitally held for ransom by hackers demanding payment before they will relinquish control, the Sydney Times reported.

iPad, iPhone and Mac owners in Queensland, NSW, Western Australia, South Australia and Victoria have reported having their devices held hostage, the paper said.

One iPhone user, a Fairfax Media employee in Sydney, said she was awoken at 4am on Tuesday to a loud “lost phone” message that said “Oleg Pliss” had hacked her phone and was instructed to send $50 to a PayPal account to have it unlocked, the paper reported.

Hackers appeared to have gained access to the user’s Apple ID credentials and then exploited the “Find My iPhone” feature, which allows users to remotely lock their iPhones and iPads via iCloud in case the devices are lost or stolen.

Screen Shot 2014-05-27 at 10.21.24 AM

According to an Apple online support thread, users who were hacked can regain control of their devices by connecting to iTunes on a computer and using their password.  However, users without passwords set up on their phones were not able to regain control.

If you don’t have a password, you may want to set one now and consider using Apple’s two-step verification process.


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