Has iCloud Been Hacked?
January 2, 2013

Spam Issues Hitting iCloud Email Service

Michael Harper for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online

I´m sure he´s a nice guy, but there have lately been many silently cursing Dr. Oz as they check their email.

Many .iCloud and .Me address owners have seen a significant uptick in the amount of spam they receive each day.

Nearly all of those who have reported this issue have seen email from “Dr. Oz” or “Christine Meyer.”

What´s particularly troubling is how many of these .me owners have never used the address for any reason. Some have even said they only signed up for the email address to keep one part of iCloud (Calendars, Contacts, Notes, etc) in sync. Many of these users have also noted that they´ll receive as many as 10 messages in 10 minutes, all from the same account, each pitching something different. Some of these emails claim to host surveys from well-known companies, such as Instagram, Nike or Starbucks. Some of these emails offer new diet pills or LASIK surgery. In other words, these are typical spam messages. Now, as many turn to Apple Support and other forums, many are wondering if Apple has encountered a security breach or if these spammers have simply found a way around the filters.

According to support forums at Apple.com and MacRumors.com, it seems many .iCloud and .me users see the same messages, and often receive them at the same time. For instance, on Friday, many users noted receiving spam from “Affordable Housekeepers,” “Spacebag,” Riddex,” and “The LASIK Vision Institute,” and more, all within a span of 10 minutes. Each of these messages are sent with an embedded image rather than any actual content.

These images have an “unsubscribe” button at the bottom, like most spam or newsletters. However, since these messages are clearly composed of one large image from an unknown and unwanted source, it´s not a good idea to click “unsubscribe,” or any other part of the image, for that matter.

These messages even offer the recipient the option to place a call or send a written request via snail mail to stop receiving these kinds of messages.

This Colorado address is associated with the whois data for several companies, such as “JustLeatherCrimping.com,” “iFruitFooting.com,” and “SevenSlimming.com.”

The Registrant Contact for each company is listed as “Game Content Distribution Networks, LLC.”

Other users, such as MacRumors Forum poster “KiKiVon” have been able to find a Wyoming address associated with these emails and Game Content Distribution Network, LLC.

Some of these users have been receiving this mail directly to their iCloud and even .mac accounts. Others have been lumped in with multiple users as these spam messages have been sent to an “Undisclosed” address. These users will see these messages sent to “Undisclosed(numbers)@iCloud.com.”

Many users have also noted that these emails – particularly the Dr. Oz emails – have been able to circumvent any spam filters they´ve had set up on their computers. This new spam attack has also brought to light the lack of spam filters on iOS devices. While using Mail.app on a Mac, users can set up rules to have any and all spam sent directly to the trash or to [email protected], Apple´s own spam reporting system.

Yet, those who use email on their iOS devices are stuck receiving these messages and listening to these devices sound off upwards of ten times in ten minutes when the latest barrage of unwanted email hits their inbox.

For those using mail.app, setting up some basic spam rules in preferences will help to instantly dump these messages into the trash.

Those who use their Apple-associated email address on iOS devices would do well to either forward them to [email protected] or simply delete them sight unseen. Clicking anywhere in these messages could land you in a world of trouble.

As this story is developing, we´ll be sure to update whenever new information is available.