Apple and Amazon Tighten Down Security Following Journalist Account Hack

Posted in Apple, Apple News on 08/08/2012 by J. Glenn Künzler


Following this weekend’s rather horrifying account of how hackers were able to exploit Amazon and Apple customer support, gain access to Wired writer Mat Honan’s iCloud account, wipe all his Apple devices, and destroy his digital life, both Apple and Amazon have responded by taking measures to tighten their security.

In two separate reports, Wired explains how each company will be tightening their security. First, Apple’s response: Apple issued a statement shortly following the events, stating that they were looking into the issue, and has now confirmed that they have temporarily suspended the ability to reset passwords over the phone:

We’ve temporarily suspended the ability to reset AppleID passwords over the phone. We’re asking customers who need to reset their password to continue to use our online iForgot system.

An anonymous Apple employee also commended to Wired that the temporary freeze was put in place to give Apple some time to revamp their security policies to avoid similar issues in the future.

Amazon has also taken strong measures to tighten up their security, and no longer allows any account settings to be changed over the phone. It’s worth noting that the Amazon vulnerability was key to the hacker being able to gain control of Honan’s iCloud account.

On Tuesday, Amazon handed down to its customer service department a policy change that no longer allows people to call in and change account settings, such as credit cards or email addresses associated with its user accounts.

Amazon officials weren’t available for comment on the security changes, but during phone calls to Amazon customer service on Tuesday, representatives told us that the changes were sent out this morning and put in place for “your security.”

Honan’s experience was a terrible one – but fortunately, the fact that he was so vocal about his plight has led to (hopefully permanent) changes that will help protect us all. His loss is our gain, although I doubt that will be much consolation to him now that a large amount of his data is gone forever…


J. Glenn Künzler

Glenn is Managing Editor at MacTrast, and has been using a Mac since he bought his first MacBook Pro in 2006. Now he's up to his neck in Apple, and owns an old iBook, a 2012 iMac with an extra Thunderbolt display for good measure, a 4th-generation iPad, an iPad mini, 2 iPhones, and a Mac Mini that lives at the neighbor's house. He lives in a small town in Utah, enjoys bacon more than you can possibly imagine, and is severely addicted to pie.