The loose hacker collective that goes by the name of Anonymous is fighting with the Federal Bureau of Investigation again.
On Tuesday, it published 12 million Apple user ID numbers (the unique numbers associated with Apple devices like iPods and iPads) and claimed that they had come from an FBI laptop.
Experts have verified that the numbers are real, though the source may not be: The FBI immediately responded that “there is no evidence indicating that an FBI laptop was compromised or that the FBI either sought or obtained this data.” Apple released a statement saying that the FBI didn’t request the information from the company and that the company didn’t provide it to the FBI.
So while the source of the information may still be vague – Anonymous has promised more information later, pending a spat they have with another organization, the media website Gawker – the real story behind this is how the data were compiled, and for what purpose? Anonymous had an original list of data that included user names, device names and types, ZIP codes, cell phone numbers, addresses and Apple Push Notification Service tokens – pretty much everything needed to identify and hack the owners of those devices.