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AT&T fixes major iPad 3G security hole

By Ben Rooney, staff reporter

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- AT&T said late Wednesday that it has fixed a security hole that may have allowed hackers to access the e-mail addresses of more than 100,000 iPad 3G owners.

The announcement came shortly after tech and gossip blog Gawker posted an expose of the breach. A hacker group used a vulnerability on AT&T's website to harvest the e-mail addresses iPad buyers provided to activate their devices, which went on sale barely more than a month ago.

The result was a glitzy who's who list of iPad early adopters, which includes major political figures, military officials and top politicians. Rahm Emanuel, the chief of staff for President Obama, was among the iPad users whose e-mail address was exposed, according to Gawker. Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg were also on the hit list.

Without commenting on the vast scope of the alleged hack, AT&T acknowledged taking action to fix a security hole.

The company was informed Monday by a business customer about the "possible exposure" of their iPad ICC IDs, a unique identification number used to link devices with their owners.

"This issue was escalated to the highest levels of the company and was corrected by Tuesday," AT&T (T, Fortune 500) spokesman Mark Siegel said in a prepared statement. "We have essentially turned off the feature that provided the e-mail addresses."

Siegel said e-mail addresses were the only information that could have been exposed as a result of the glitch. He said AT&T is continuing to investigate the problem and will inform all customers who may have been affected.

"At this point, there is no evidence that any other customer information was shared," Siegel said.

An engineer for "Goatse Security," the hacker outfit that discovered the AT&T hole and alerted Gawker about its data harvest, told CNNMoney.com that Gawker's account of the breach is accurate. He declined to comment further.

Apple (AAPL, Fortune 500), which sold more than two million iPads since the device debuted on April 3, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

CNNMoney.com staff writer David Goldman contributed to this report.  To top of page

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