The FBI has launched an investigation into the AT&T security breach first reported in Valleywag earlier this week. According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the United States has begun to look into the circumstances surrounding the breach that left hundreds of thousands of iPad 3G owners exposed to potential attack. While web site hacks and data breaches have gone unnoticed and not investigated in the past, the inclusion of high profile governmental authorities and celebrities has almost insured an investigation in this instance. Those caught in the net of the security breach have included ABC News personality Diane Sawyer, several high ranking American military officials, and even White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel. Such a star-studded cast should insure a lengthy and thorough look at the matter.
While the loss of e-mail addresses doesn’t present much in the way of exposure to the effected individuals, the more troublesome leak is that of the ICC ID, or SIM address, of the iPads in question. The SIM address is, in a lot of ways, similar to the ESN used on cell phones. Individuals with malicious intent and the ESN of a cell phone can clone an existing unit and intercept calls and information intended for the legal recipient. Although no one has confirmed or denied a similar situation could exist with the SIM address, it has to be a worry in the minds of both the iPad owners and the FBI unit investigating the matter. If sensitive material is being carried on exposed iPads it is open to attack if the SIM address could be used in this manner.
At the end of the day though, this story is ultimately about the increasingly strained relationship between AT&T and Apple. Is Steve Jobs so loyal to the company that gave Apple’s iPhone its first break that he’s willing to ignore these problems indefinitely? It’s mind boggling to believe someone like Jobs, who’s main focus seems to be on bringing order and control to things, could abide forever while AT&T continues with its poor service, increased pricing on data plans, and now security breach of confidential information. Will this be the issue Apple points to as finally driving them into the arms of Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile in the United States? The end of carrier exclusivity in other parts of the world has been a boon for iPhone sales. When will that boon finally come to America? May be it’s only an FBI investigation away.
Does the AT&T security breach further shake your faith in the carrier? Are you a current AT&T customer that’s thought about leaving the company? Have you left? Where you one of the 114,000 affected by the security breach? Leave us your thoughts in the comments.[Valleywag, Wall Street Journal]