Suspected 'Oleg Pliss' Hackers in Custody of Russian Police

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By Athena Yenko | June 11, 2014 12:59 PM EST

Russian authorities arrested suspected hackers who held Apple devices on ransom for release. The suspects, one teenager and one in his early 20's, are facing 2 years of imprisonment if convicted of the alleged crime.

According to police information, the suspects hacked Apple devices and demanded ransom for users to have their devices function again—a similar strategy conducted by hackers as widely reported by Australian Apple users in the last week of the month of May.

The suspects were arrested by Russia's Interior Ministry's cyber crime department, Directorate K, re/code reports.

The hackers gained access to Apple devices through Apple's Find My iPhone app. They held the devices on ransom through gaining access to the owner's Apple ID by creating phishing pages, acquiring unauthorised access to emails or using methods of social engineering. Another scheme done by the suspects was attaching other people's devices to a pre-arranged account, making Apple IDs with media content available for lease on the Internet, Directorate K said in a statement.

The Russian ministry had yet to investigate if the hackers were able to victimise Apple users from other countries. Further investigation is needed to establish if these Russian hackers were the same hackers who victimised Apple users across Australia.

On May 26, Apple users from NSW, Western Australia, South Australia and Victoria had reported their devices were held on ransom.

"i was using my ipad a short while ago when suddenly it locked itself, and was askiwhich I'd never previously set up. I went to check my phone and there was a message on the screen (it's still there) saying that my device(s) had been hacked by 'Oleg Pliss' and he/she/they demanded $100 USD/EUR (sent by paypal to lock404(at)hotmail.com) to return them to me," veritylikestea from Melbourne, Australia, posted on Apple Support Communities.

Aussies posted about the same experience following veritylikestea's post and so did victims from the U.S., Spain and other countries.

Oleg Pliss is a software engineer at tech company Oracle said one poster. However, other individuals named "Oleg Pliss" could be found in a search on LinkedIn.

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