Apple Blueprints Stolen In Supplier $50m Ransomware Attack

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REvil hackers are reportedly seeking to extort Apple, after hitting one of its suppliers with a ransomware attack and stealing product blueprints

Apple is reportedly at the centre of a ransomware incident after one of its suppliers, Taiwan-based Quanta Computer was hacked.

According to the Bloomberg report, the REvil hacker group stole and published product blueprints from Apple supplier Quanta and is holding other blueprints under a $50 million ransom

The hackers reportedly published design details for a new MacBook on Tuesday, when Apple was holding a product event for new devices including the iMac, iPad Pro and an updated Apple TV.

Pay Or We Publish

Apple has not publicly responded to the incident, but if the REvil hackers have managed to obtain the blueprints of other products, it could mean that Apple notoriously secretive roadmap of new products could be leaked, giving competitors valuable data.

It should be remembered that Apple tends to be constantly updating its existing product portfolio including iPhones, iPads and Macbooks.

Apple is also reportedly developing new products such as the recently released AirTag and other (as yet to be seen) devices such as augmented reality glasses.

Quanta Computer for its part, builds some of Apple’s Mac products.

Quanta confirmed an attack to Bloomberg and said it is working with law enforcement. The company also said that there’s no material impact on the company’s business operation.

REvil meanwhile reportedly claims that it has other product blueprints and that it will continue to publish photos and documents of future Apple devices daily unless Apple pays the $50 million ransom.

Supply chain vulnerability

One security expert said this attack showed how hackers can exploit the supply chain of major organisations for their own criminal purposes.

“Following today’s news of the attack on Quanta, we can be in little doubt that complex digital supply chains are a hacker’s paradise,” noted Mike Beck, Global CISO at Darktrace. “Today, a company’s critical data is fluid, often being handled outside the organisation itself. This complexity offers those with criminal intent with many points of vulnerability that may be exploited.”

“Across our global customer base, AI is stopping more and more attacks that target intellectual property or commercially-sensitive information for the purposes of extortion or corporate espionage,” said Beck. “In this case, attackers accessed Apple’s design blueprints via a trusted third party – and the full extent of the data taken is not yet known.”

“Suppliers need to be held to higher standards, and recent calls from the Biden administration and DHS for more stringent requirements for cyber security transparency and vetting are welcome,” added Beck.

“Organisations also need to embrace technology that can respond at computer speed in the face of fast moving attacks like ransomware,” Darktrace’s Beck concluded. “Those that are being successful against fast-moving threats are protecting their systems with artificial intelligence, capable of detecting the subtle, unusual activity that precedes a full-blown attack, and crucially, which responds at computer speed – before data is held to ransom.”

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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