AT&T Security Hole May Have Exposed IPad E-Mail Addresses

A security breach in AT&T Inc.’s wireless network exposed the e-mail addresses of some owners of Apple Inc.’s iPad 3G.

AT&T, the second-largest U.S. mobile-phone provider, corrected the flaw, the company said yesterday in an e-mailed statement. The New York Times Co. told its staff to shut off iPad wireless access after learning of a breach involving AT&T, according to a memo confirmed by the Times yesterday.

A group called Goatse Security said it found a breach that let it uncover information based on a unique code on iPad SIM cards. It then released addresses of iPad owners, including New York Times Co. Chief Executive Officer Janet Robinson and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, to Gawker Media’s Valleywag.

“This issue was escalated to the highest levels of the company and was corrected by Tuesday, and we have essentially turned off the feature that provided the e-mail addresses,” Dallas-based AT&T said in the statement. AT&T declined to comment further, spokesman Fletcher Cook said in an e-mail.

The vulnerability adds to Apple’s chagrin two months after an unreleased prototype of the iPhone, lost by an Apple engineer, was disassembled and photographed by Gawker’s technology blog Gizmodo.com.

Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg

New York Times President and CEO Janet Robinson speaks during an interview in New York. Close

New York Times President and CEO Janet Robinson speaks during an interview in New York.

Close
Open
Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg

New York Times President and CEO Janet Robinson speaks during an interview in New York.

“This breach is obviously embarrassing for AT&T and for Apple, but knowing the names of the people who bought the first iPads is more intriguing than dangerous,” Joris Evers, a spokesman for security-software maker McAfee Inc., said in an interview from Santa Clara, California.

2 Million IPads

Apple has sold more than 2 million iPads since releasing the device in April. Some models of the iPad tablet work with AT&T’s third-generation wireless network, and other versions only work on Wi-Fi networks. Apple doesn’t say how many of each model it has sold.

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission, in a statement today, said the breach demonstrates the need for security improvements and that it’s working to prevent further threats to consumer privacy.

AT&T said it continues to investigate and found no evidence that any other customer data was revealed.

AT&T rose 54 cents, or 2.2 percent, to $25.44 at 4 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. The shares have declined 9.2 percent this year.

Apple representatives Steve Dowling and Natalie Kerris didn’t respond to requests for comment.

New York’s mayor is founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, parent of Bloomberg News. Mark LaVorgna, a spokesman for the mayor’s office, had no immediate comment.

To contact the reporters on this story: Greg Bensinger in New York at gbensinger1@bloomberg.net; Peter Burrows in San Francisco at pburrows@bloomberg.net

Bloomberg reserves the right to edit or remove comments but is under no obligation to do so, or to explain individual moderation decisions.

Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus.