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Posted at 6:35 PM ET, 06/10/2010

FBI investigating iPad security breach

By Cecilia Kang

The FBI said on Thursday that it is investigating a security breach of AT&T’s wireless network that exposed the e-mail addresses and network identification numbers of iPad users.

Many high-level government officials, including White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski, are iPad 3G users and appear to be among the affected customers, according to the Gawker Web Site. Gawker reported the incident on Wednesday and obtained a list of 114,000 users whose e-mail addresses were exposed by a hacker group known as Goatse Security.

FBI spokesman Paul Bresson said in a e-mail: “The FBI is aware of these possible computer intrusions and is looking into it.” He did not immediately respond to e-mails seeking further comment.

AT&T is the exclusive partner for Apple’s iPhone and iPad, providing high-speed Internet access for the tablet computer that launched just two months ago. Apple says it has already sold 2 million of the devices.

AT&T did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The company said on Wednesday that it had closed the security hole and would notify users that were affected.

The incident underscores the need for better privacy and security protections for Internet users, regulators said. Because the security breach occurred on a communications network, the FCC is one watchdog agency that could pursue further investigation.

“I am concerned about the report of a security breach to AT&T's network that exposed the personal data of more than a hundred thousand iPad users,” said Jamie Barnett, chief of the FCC’s public safety bureau. “The FCC’s cyber security mission is to ensure that broadband networks are safe and secure for the consumers and businesses that depend on them. The FCC will continue to work with all stakeholders to prevent future security breaches that violate consumer privacy and undermine trust in America’s communications infrastructure.”

By Cecilia Kang  | June 10, 2010; 6:35 PM ET
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Why are our tax dollars buying IPads for federal employees???

Our country is a joke.

There are no controls on how our tax dollars are spent.

Posted by: Frishoo | June 10, 2010 8:50 PM | Report abuse

I'm with Frishoo.
Why are we buying iPads for govt workers? I seriously doubt it was vetted by the white house IT support team. It's not the standard, security hasn't been verified. Support can only be best effort. Why on earth would they let those into the white house IT infrastructure?

Just say no. Who is running IT over there? Get a spine.

Posted by: Eyjafjallajokullone | June 10, 2010 9:05 PM | Report abuse

iPads aren't toys; they're computers. Federal employees do use computers.

Posted by: clarkjerome | June 10, 2010 9:22 PM | Report abuse

Why doesn't the US have hunter/killer teams out eradicating cybercriminals?

Posted by: Joseph_L_Cooke | June 10, 2010 9:39 PM | Report abuse

You can spot an iPad user a lot easier than that.

If someone looks like they have AIDS, then they probably own one.

Posted by: BO__Stinks | June 10, 2010 10:09 PM | Report abuse

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Posted by: aqshiwoma | June 10, 2010 10:12 PM | Report abuse

"Goatse Security" Ahahahahaa Ahahhahahah That's friggin hilarious.

This is what you get for using Apple products suckers.

Posted by: Nymous | June 10, 2010 10:51 PM | Report abuse

No, that is what you get for using AT&T. Spent the week in Caesars Palace in LV. Couldn't get service in my room with AT&T. When will Apple wake up and move it to other service providers?

Posted by: easymistake | June 10, 2010 11:03 PM | Report abuse

I do not understand why people are jumping to the conclusion that government leaders in the military and the federal agencies did not purchase their own iPads. People at that rank can easily afford to. Furthermore, they get a 15% monthly discount from AT&T.

There is an article in today's WaPo describing the popularity of the iPad at the White House:

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Posted by: itkonlyyou112 | June 10, 2010 11:42 PM | Report abuse

"Why are we buying iPads for govt workers?"

Who said the IPads were bought? Maybe Steve from Cupertino made some donations???

Posted by: BEEPEE | June 11, 2010 12:24 AM | Report abuse

Why do you call it an iPad security breach? It's an AT&T security breach.

Posted by: dcc1968 | June 11, 2010 1:40 AM | Report abuse

Obviously the nimrods at the White House and other government agencies that have iPads and other non standard government communication devices should realize that they are not on an encrypted/secure network when using AT&T's wireless data network. I would guess when their device is on a WiFi, that network may be secure but that is the problem facing any wireless device. This is yet another black eye for AT&T that Apple will have to absorb. Apple's contract with AT&T must be pretty lucrative for them to not consider switching allegiance to another GSM Wireless Carrier like T-Mobile. Unfortunately, T-Mobile uses different 3G frequencies than AT&T so 3G comparability is out of the question.

Posted by: neil64 | June 11, 2010 7:18 AM | Report abuse

lots inappropriate comments and spam here.

Posted by: jjgrah | June 11, 2010 8:34 AM | Report abuse

Ipad is a still a toy rather than a computing platform or a tool for government workers or corporate users to do their job! Everbody likes toys, including leaders right? But putting your work email address (in this case, government e-mail address) to register for toys is just iresponsible. Somebody ought to investigate whether these guys are vioating the ethic rules of using government equipment and government email address.

Posted by: oldguy6 | June 11, 2010 8:37 PM | Report abuse

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