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Putin tried to steal Apple users' data

by on29 July 2022

All your Coldplay collections are belong to glorious Russian republic

The Tame Apple Press is furious after Russia’s biggest internet services provider appears to have conducted a special operation to re-routed traffic made by Apple users through its own servers.

Rostelecom announced routes for part of Apple's network, to pose as the route to reach Apple’s servers.  This is a practice known as Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) hijacking and is not considered "very nice."

To be fair it could be an internet configuration error - or, it could also be a deliberate attempt at traffic hijacking. After all, if you have one walled garden it is a single tempting target for spooks and hackers.  Of course, no one in TAPs is mentioning this as being an Apple security problem.  Unfortunately for Tsar Putin all he is going to get is Apple user traffic which are going to be consumer machines run by those with more money than sense. Still, he will get an up-to-date Coldplay and U2 collection if he wants it, but nothing that will help him win the war in Ukraine.

The news broke out on Mutually Agreed Norms for Routing Security (MANRS), a public interest group monitoring internet routing. One of the group’s senior managers, Aftab Siddiqui, said Russian telecom made these moves between July 26, and July 27.

Apple fought back by announcing more specific routes to its services, why it did not do that in the first place is known only to the spirit of Steve Jobs.

"When the routes a network is announcing are not covered by valid Route Origin Authorisation (ROA)," it was said in the MANRS blog post, "the only option during a route hijack is to announce more specific routes. This is exactly what Apple Engineering did today."

After roughly 12 hours, the announcements ceased.

Apple’s services were not disrupted during this time, and users were able to access them normally. There were no complaints of crashes or other disturbances but then again it is unlikely that Apple users would have noticed.


Last modified on 29 July 2022
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