The FBI opened an investigation into the security flaw on AT&T Mobility's (NYSE:T) website that allowed hackers to gain access to the email addresses of around 114,000 Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPad users.
"The FBI is aware of these possible computer intrusions and has opened an investigation to address the potential cyber threat," FBI spokesman Jason Pack told Reuters.
AT&T has apologized, and said it will inform impacted customers of the breach. AT&T said it has patched the hole, which came to light after a group of computer security experts called Goatse Security discovered the flaw. The group was able to access the information by creating a program that guessed iPad ID numbers connected to users' email addresses, including those of prominent business leaders, politicians, journalists and those in the military.
AT&T "has been in close contact with Apple" about the breach, according to the Wall Street Journal. The carrier is still in the process of identifying all of the customers who had their email address hacked. "We are making sure the list is in order," an AT&T spokesman told the Journal.
The incident is a public relations black eye for AT&T, which is still trying to correct lingering concerns that its network has not been able to handle iPhone data traffic in certain areas in New York City and San Francisco. However, George Kurtz, the CTO at security software company McAfee, sought to downplay the severity of the breach.
"I would guess that this application vulnerability gained so much attention because, after all, it is Apple we are talking about," Kurtz wrote in a blog post. "The hype around Apple products--like the new iPhone and iPad--is amazing. However, the reality is this type of vulnerability isn't really news and happens all day long."
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