FBI probes hackers' AT&T iPad breach

By David Goldman, staff writer

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- The FBI is investigating a security breach of AT&T's website that allowed hackers to access the e-mail addresses of iPad owners.

"The FBI is aware of these possible computer intrusions," an FBI spokesman said in an e-mailed statement. "We have opened an investigation to address the potential cyber threat." The Bureau did not comment on the scope of its investigation.

A hacker group called Goatse Security exploited a vulnerability on AT&T's website to harvest the e-mail addresses that iPad 3G buyers provided to activate their devices. The group sent the information to tech and gossip blog Gawker, which reported that 114,000 e-mail addresses were exposed.

Without commenting on the vast scope of the alleged hack, AT&T (T, Fortune 500) acknowledged taking action to fix a security hole.

The exposure connected subscribers' e-mail addresses with their iPad ICC IDs, a unique identification number used to link devices with their owners. AT&T linked them so that users of Apple's (AAPL, Fortune 500) 3G version of the iPad would not have to type in their e-mail addresses every time they wanted to access or change their AT&T account and billing settings.

AT&T said e-mail addresses were the only information that could have been exposed as a result of the glitch, and that it will inform all customers who may have been affected. The company would not comment on the FBI investigation. To top of page

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