Apple, Facebook Twitter Attacks: 6 Key Facts

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In the past five days, first Facebook and then Apple disclosed that attackers exploited zero-day vulnerabilities in Java browser plug-ins used by their employees, although apparently failed to steal any customer or user data from either company. Twitter, which earlier this month warned that about 250,000 users’ accounts were compromised by attackers, didn’t say at the time how the company’s systems had been hacked, but did strongly urge users to disable Java.

The attacks were apparently first discovered last month, and while the companies either waited to detail them publicly, or only released partial information, some security experts had seen signs that something was amiss with Java. “Apple was blocking Java a couple of weeks ago, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security was advising against [using] Java in the browser,” Sean Sullivan, security advisor at F-Secure, told Dark Reading. “I had a very strong feeling that something was going on.”

Here’s what’s now known about the attacks:

1. Compromised iPhone Developer Site Served Malware

All three companies were apparently compromised after their mobile developers visited a popular website devoted to iOS development called iPhoneDevSDK.

The site’s administrator confirmed late Tuesday that the site had apparently been hacked, and while no data appeared to have been stolen, all users’ passwords have been reset as a precautionary measure. “Today, we were alerted that our site was part of an elaborate and sophisticated attack whose victims included large Internet companies,” according to a forum postmade by the site’s administrator, Ian Sefferman.

“As the most widely read dedicated iOS developer forum, we’re targeted for attacks frequently,” he said. “Security is a top priority for us, which is one reason why we switched to Vanilla Forums to host our site last year. Vanilla manages security like pros, and I should be clear that — as best we can tell right now

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