A reported iCloud hack comes days before Apple Inc’s scheduled product announcement on Tuesday next week, but experts said the issue is an isolated incident and should not affect sales of the highly anticipated new iPhone.
California-based Apple is likely to introduce bigger-display iPhones and a wearable device at the event, industry insiders have said.
Anticipation for the event boosted the US firm’s shares to a record close on Friday last week of US$102.50, a 28 percent gain this year.
The iCloud service — a key part of Apple’s strategy to unite its iPhones, tablets and desktop computers — lets users store contacts, e-mails, photographs and other personal information on external systems that they can access virtually.
Apple is still investigating whether the stolen data was all taken from iCloud and, if so, to what extent users’ accounts were compromised.
Vice-president of security research at Trend Micro Inc (趨勢科技) Rik Ferguson said the hacker may have used the “forgot password” link on iCloud after gathering celebrities’ e-mail addresses — perhaps from another hacked device.
The firm listed a few possibilities for how access was gained to the revealing photographs of Oscar-winner Jennifer Lawrence and other female celebrities, including weak passwords or the same password across multiple sites, or failure to turn on two-factor authentication, a verification system that requires a password and a randomly generated code sent to a user’s cellphone.
It is possible hackers used phishing methods, like bogus Web sites asking for real passwords, to acquire information, Trend Micro said.
Either way, the apparent iCloud breach is likely an isolated incident targeting the stars and has not compromised the data of other iCloud users, Trend Micro said.
“Such an incident giving a blow to [upcoming] iPhone 6 shipments would only be wishful thinking on the part of Android smartphone makers,” market observer and former analyst with TrendForce Corp (集邦科技) Wilson Miao (繆君鼎) said.
All smartphones on any operating system are susceptible to security loopholes that can compromise personal information, Miao said, adding that this incident might make users think twice before synchronizing everything to the cloud.
He said the only factors that would affect iPhone 6 shipments would be the quality and pricing of the device itself.
Chunghwa Telecom Co (中華電信), the nation’s largest telecom carrier, yesterday reassured users of its Internet security, saying that it is the first telecom operator in the world to obtain the Cloud Security Alliance Security, Trust and Assurance Registry certification for its cloud service.
However, the hacking issue has prompted investors to speculate that Apple shares could face downward pressure in the US market, which is likely to affect the performance of “Apple concept stocks” on the local bourse.
Among the falling Apple concept stocks, smartphone lens supplier Largan Precision Co (大立光) shed 4.18 percent to close at NT$2,405 in Taipei trading yesterday, while metal casing maker Catcher Technology Co (可成) dropped 2.92 percent to end at NT$299.
Hon Hai Precision Industry Co (鴻海), which assembles iPhones and iPads, closed down 0.99 percent at NT$100.50.