Chinese government is allegedly executing (MITM) man in the middle attacks against the citizens who are attempting to visit Apple’s iCloud website and Microsoft’s Live services, and gathering the log in data associated with the accounts.
According to a report from Greatfire.org anti-censorship organization that monitors Chinese government’s censorship rules, claimed that the Chinese authorities have executed a nationwide Man in the Middle attack against users of Apple’s iCloud & Microsoft Live Services to steal users’ login credentials and access the private data.
As previously reported by Greatfire that the similar attacks were waged against Google, Yahoo, and other tech companies operating in China. Recently launched ( MitM ) Man in the Middle attacks on Yahoo and Google were done to block the company’s respective search engines from showing results for certain keywords.
What is Man In The Middle Attack ( MITM ) ?
The ( MITM ) man in the middle attack is a form of active eavesdropping in which the hacker makes independent connections with the victims and relays messages between them, making them believe that they are talking directly to each other over a private connection, when in fact the entire conversation is controlled by the attacker.
The MITM attacks coincided with the launch of new iPhone 6 in China, which features enhanced encryption protection. Greatfire.org speculated the increased security measures played a role in the attack.
This is clearly a malicious attack on Apple in an effort to intercept the usernames and passwords and consequently all data stored on Apple iCloud such as iMessages, photos and contacts, etc.
Apple’s iCloud uses SSL security standard to encrypt the connections between its users and Apple’s iCloud server, but the website SSL certificate is replaced by the intruders for a self-signed certificate that deceived Web browsers with false information, allowing the attackers to decrypt the connections.
To protect yourself from such break users in China are advised to access the Apple iCloud website with via trusted web browser like FireFox and Chrome, as these trusted web browser will prevent access to websites experiencing a ( MITM ) Man In The Middle attack. Qihoo’s a popular Chinese 360 secure webbrowser is anything but it will load the MITMed page directly.
The site also urged Apple iCloud users to enable two-factor authentication which Apple recently included following the high-profile hack of more then 100 female celebs iCloud accounts, incident was dubbed “The Fappening” .
If users ignored the security warning and clicked through to the Apple site and entered their username and password, this information has now been compromised by the Chinese authorities. Many Apple customers use iCloud to store their personal information, including iMessages, photos, and contacts,” GreatFire said in a blog post. “This may also somehow be related again to images and videos of the Hong Kong protests being shared on the mainland.
It is still not clear that the Chinese government is behind the MITM attacks against Tech Gaints, but it may be actually connected to the ongoing protests going on in Hong Kong. Apple has still not responded on the report.