Yesterday, word spread that hackers calling themselves the "Turkish Crime Family" were threatening Apple, demanding money and claiming they had access to over 300 iCloud and Apple email accounts. According to Motherboard, the hackers said they would wipe Apple devices and reset iCloud accounts if they weren't supplied with a $75,000 Bitcoin payment or $100,000 in iTunes credit. (Because they really need to update their music library?)
Any news of a hack is concerning, especially when you consider that high-profile Gmail and Netflix scams have been rampant of late. An iCloud hack, if real, would be especially alarming, since that's what iOS users rely on for storing files, contacts, and photos as well as connecting one Apple device to another.
But for now, it seems that you can step away from the brink of panic mode. In a statement offered via email, Apple said the following:
"There have not been any breaches in any of Apple’s systems including iCloud and Apple ID. The alleged list of email addresses and passwords appears to have been obtained from previously compromised third-party services.
"We're actively monitoring to prevent unauthorized access to user accounts and are working with law enforcement to identify the criminals involved. To protect against these type of attacks, we always recommend that users always use strong passwords, not use those same passwords across sites, and turn on two-factor authentication."
These rumors are a reminder of what past hacks have taught us time and time again: There's no such thing as being too cautious when it comes to protecting the data on your phone, computer, and social media accounts. Follow these steps to create a robust password and think twice before sharing any personal information online, even if you're just tagging your location on Instagram.