Report: iPad owners revealed through AT&T security hole

Reports are surfacing that a security breach exposed the e-mail addresses of 114,000 iPad owners, including some big names in Washington. And while any breach would be newsworthy, it's hard to get riled up over this thinly-sourced report.

A buzz of sorts is brewing over a Gawker Media report that says an AT&T security hole reportedly revealed the e-mail addresses of 114,000 iPad owners. The sourcing on the Gawker report is thin but the New York Times posted on its Bits blog that AT&T - which is reportedly the weak link that compromised the information - is aware of the issue and will respond soon.

Credit: Gawker Media

Credit: Gawker Media

The Gawker report offers some details about the breach, which allowed a not-so-mainstream security group called Goatse Security, to obtain the information. Through the data search, it identified 114,000 owners of the iPad 3G , including military officials, Senate and House staffers, as well as people at NASA, the Justice Department and Department of Homeland Security. It also reportedly exposed the email addresses of execs of the New York Times, Dow Jones, Viacom, Time Warner, News Corp. and Hearst, as well as bankers and venture capitalists.

The report also found that the group obtained an ID number - called the ICC-ID - that the iPads use when they communicate over the AT&T network, though it was unclear what that information could be used for.

Again, the sourcing is very thin on this report - so take that into consideration as you read more about it. And I also tend to raise an eyebrow because the headline uses the sensationalistic "Apple's Worst Security Breach" when, if you really think about it, the breach - if, in fact, that's what it is - would be AT&T's, not Apple's.

I don't mean to dilute the significance of any breach, whether AT&T's or Apple's. But I have to admit that I'm having trouble getting riled up over someone finding 114,000 e-mail addresses. Social security numbers and bank account numbers would be different but e-mail addresses are not hard to track down or just plain figure out.

What I would really want to know - given the volume of government officials whose official work e-mail addresses were found, instead of their personal Yahoo or Gmail addresses - is exactly who paid for all of these iPads that are reportedly in the hands of so many people in Washington.

Last time I checked, the iPad was a pretty expensive device, especially for government agencies that probably have better uses for government dollars other than to buy iPads.

As we come across more details - that is, official statements from any of the involved parties - we'll update this post.