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16-year-old hacker breaks into Apple’s secure network

A schoolboy who “dreamt” of working for Apple hacked the firm’s computer systems, Australian media has reported, although the tech giant said no customer data has been compromised.

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The Children’s Court of Victoria was told the teenager broke into Apple’s mainframe – a large, powerful data processing system – from his home in the suburbs of Melbourne and downloaded 90GB of secure files, The Age reported late Thursday.

The boy, then aged 16, accessed the system multiple times over a year as he was a fan of Apple and had “dreamt of” working for the US firm, the newspaper said, citing his lawyer.

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The Age said police raided the boy’s home in 2017 and found hacking files and instructions saved in a folder called Hack hack hack.

“Two Apple laptops were seized and the serial numbers matched the serial numbers of the devices which accessed the internal systems,” a prosecutor said.

A mobile phone and hard drive were also seized which IP address matched those detected in the breaches, he added.

Apple, in a statement on Friday, said its teams “discovered the unauthorised access, contained it and reported the incident to law enforcement.”

The firm, which earlier this month became the first private sector company to surpass $1tn in market value, said it wanted “to assure our customers that at no point during this incident was their personal data compromised.”

An international investigation was launched after the discovery involving the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Australian Federal Police (AFP). Apple contacted the FBI when it became aware of the intrusion. The FBI then referred the matter to the AFP.

The police said they could not comment on the case as it was before the court.

The teen has pleaded guilty and the case is due to return to court for his sentencing next month. The boy’s name could not be made public because he was a juvenile offender.

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