China hacks its own citizens’ iCloud accounts, report says

By James O’Toole

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) – Chinese Apple users are facing a wave of cyberattacks… not from cybercriminals, but from their own government.

This is what GreatFire.org, a nonprofit organization that monitors Beijing’s efforts to censor the Internet, claims. The site says that Chinese authorities are launching a so-called ‘man-in-the-middle’ attack on iCloud, in which they intercept the login details of Chinese netizens when they try to enter the site through certain browsers.

“This is obviously a malicious attack against Apple in an attempt to gain access to usernames and passwords and, consequently, all data stored in iCloud such as iMessages, photos, contacts, etc,” GreatFire said.

The alleged attack coincides with the launch in China of the new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus.

The Chinese government had already staged similar attacks against Google and Yahoo users, GreatFire said. But in those cases, the site added, authorities were only able to see what content users were accessing, not their passwords.

Apple did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Chinese netizens can counter the problem by using secure web browsers like Chrome and Firefox, and by enabling two-factor authentication on their iCloud accounts.