A View from Robert Lemos
Going All In on MobileMe
An attack on the service shows how convoluted some hacks can become.
A group of researchers from security firm SensePost just revealed a hack of Apple’s MobileMe service. Rather than demonstrating a weakness in the service, the feat is a model of the sheer doggedness on the part of some hackers.
The three researchers–Haroon Meer, Nick Arvanitis and Marco Slaviero–wanted to find a way to break into the service and attack other users. Here are the steps that they took:
1. Find a person with a MobileMe account who is not careful with their data
The researchers identified a person with a MobileMe account that gave a secondary e-mail for their password reset. By guessing or knowing the person’s me.com e-mail address and finding the person’s data of birth, they could have a password reset e-mail sent to another e-mail address.
2. Intercept the e-mail
The researchers figured out that the e-mail was going to be sent to a Hotmail account. When they checked that account, they found that it has been suspended because of lack of use. They re-registered the account and gained access to the MobileMe password reset message.
3. Reconfigure MobileMe
4. Full access
The researchers then had access to the other person’s account.