Can they actually do it? Should you be worried? It’s unclear at this point.
The hackers apparently engaged in conversations with the media to force Apple’s hand. The Turkish Crime Family hacker group, which spoke to Motherboard, want either US$ 75,000 in Bitcoin or Ethereum, or US$ 100,000 worth of iTunes gift cards.
"I just want my money and thought this would be an interesting report that a lot of Apple customers would be interested in reading and hearing," one of the hackers said.
Apparently, the hackers have been in contact with Apple's security team for quite a while now. They even posted a video on YouTube to prove they have actual access to iCloud accounts, access which can be used to remotely wipe iPhones.
Apple, understandably, doesn’t appear to be willing to pay up the ransom. "We firstly kindly request you to remove the video that you have uploaded on your YouTube channel as it’s seeking unwanted attention, second of all we would like you to know that we do not reward cyber criminals for breaking the law," a screenshot of a message purportedly coming from an Apple security team member reads.
The hackers say they have access to more than 300 million Apple email accounts, including @icloud and @me domains. The number is the source of some confusion though, because a different hacker from the group claimed they had 559 million accounts in all. They have not explained how they gained access to Apple ID credentials.
The hackers are threatening to move forward with remotely wiping Apple devices on April 7th, unless Apple pays up. Apple has not publicly commented on the matter at this point.
On the off-chance that the hackers are indeed holding access to millions of iCloud accounts, you might consider changing your password to protect your Apple ID.