May 27--Apple users around Australia are reporting that their mobile devices are being held for ransom by a hacker who has remotely taken control of their gadgets.
Multiple users on Twitter and Apple's online forum said a hacker going by the name of Oleg Pliss is using Apple's Find My iPhone feature to remotely lock iPhones and iPads and then send messages to users saying their iPhones and iPads will be unlocked -- after they send $100 to a PayPal account.
This ransomware attack, as it is called, so far seems confined mainly to Australia. The attack was first reported by The Age.
The hacker may have gained access to users' accounts with information from databases stolen from other tech companies. This year, hackers have broken into databases at Yahoo, AOL and, as reported just last week, EBay.
To regain access, affected users can try the method named "Use recovery mode" on this Apple help page.
If that doesn't work, users should contact Apple at one of the company's retail stores or by phone.
Users can protect themselves by changing their Apple ID password, using a new password that's different from their passwords used on other websites and tech services.
Apple has not commented on the matter.
Copyright 2014 - Los Angeles Times