A Weibo user named 美国往事1999 is claiming that one of Apple’s official tech support people illegally stole their personal information. The news is spreading across China’s internet where many are expressing concerns over data security. The user said that the case happened on February 28th, the first day that iCloud services in mainland China being transferred to cloud company in Guizhou, GBCD (Guizhou-Cloud Big Data Industry Development Co., Ltd) under Apple’s partnership with the company.
“On the first day Apple switched from iCloud to cloud company in Guizhou, Apple’s official tech support illegally stole my personal information and data and blackmailed me,” 美国往事1999 wrote and even added a phone recording (Baidu Cloud) of Apple’s Apple technical support consultant threatening the user.
Many are pointing out that 美国往事1999’s account the user’s account wasn’t secure: He didn’t turn on two-step authentication and he didn’t use Hotmail e-mail for many years while his iCloud e-mail was never used.
Here’s what we understand of the incident:
On February 28th at 15:55 pm, 美国往事1999 called the Apple customer service hotline to consult iCloud related issues, but was then transferred to the Apple technical adviser. 美国往事1999 says (our translation):
“At 21:56 that night, the technical support consultant called me from a Xi’an cell phone number. He said that he was the same person I talked to that afternoon. He said that he used his access to invade my iCloud, copy my personal information and data. He said he sent an email to my 163, Hotmail, and iCloud accounts that included his QQ. He said he will give me an hour and I did not add him on QQ, he said he will remove my personal information and data. And said that he will make it impossible for me to use my Apple devices again.”
美国往事1999 added the support consultant on QQ, but they refused to respond. 美国往事1999 then called back, but the person no longer took the initiative to mention anything and hung up the phone.
“Later, I checked the Internet access mail and found that Hotmail e-mail password has been modified … To be sure my Hotmail mailbox has also been invaded. After checking the mail, I saw the threatening letter he sent to me in Hotmail and iCloud’s mailbox,” 美国往事1999 wrote.
The blackmail from Apple’s technical adviser reads (our translation):
“You can guess who I am. You should be afraid. I’m going to share your account and data with the world. If you’d like to chat, add this QQ. I do not want you to login in China again haha.”
Five days later, the user called the Apple customer service many times, but they refused to give a response.
“Here, I hope that all Apple users can see this post and pay attention to and protect their own personal information security even though for this case, it didn’t matter how much attention I put into it. I also hope that China’s relevant state departments investigate Apple’s bad behavior and deal with it,” 美国往事1999wrote, and he called the police and filed the case. On March 6th, the user posted on his Weibo that Apple had fired the employee.
“Apple contacted me this morning saying the employee was fired but declined to give any details. They refused to disclose how much my personal information and data that employee stole, what he had done with it,” he said.
We have reached out to Apple to confirm the veracity of this account, but they have not yet responded. We will update as soon as we get a response.