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U.K.-based researcher claims responsibility for Apple Developer Center problems

Steve Ragan | July 24, 2013
Ibrahim Baliç says he was just searching for bugs and now Apple's Developer Center portal is down.

Claiming that he was only attempting to hunt for bugs - security researcher Ibrahim Baliç has said that he was likely the source of a security breach, which forced Apple to take down their Developer Center portal last week.

Last Thursday, Apple's Developer Center, a dedicated resource for third-party software developers working with iOS and OS X, went down. The outage was noticed immediately, and for three days speculation ruled the blogs and various online haunts used by Apple developers. In many cases, the assumption was that the outage and the silence from Apple themselves on the cause and recovery, could only mean that bad things were yet to come.

On Sunday, Apple addressed the outage in a statement posted to the Developer's website, confirming some of the speculation that the outage was in fact due to a security incident. According to the statement, the day the outage started, an "intruder attempted to secure personal information of our registered developers."

"Sensitive personal information was encrypted and cannot be accessed, however, we have not been able to rule out the possibility that some developers names, mailing addresses, and/or email addresses may have been accessed. In the spirit of transparency, we want to inform you of the issue. We took the site down immediately on Thursday and have been working around the clock since then," the statement from Apple said.

The outage is still ongoing as of Monday afternoon, as access to the Developer Center remains blocked. The reason, Apple noted in their statement, is due to the recovery process that includes "completely overhauling our developer systems, updating our server software, and rebuilding our entire database."

Hours after the statement was posted online, and delivered via email to registered users - some of whom reported that they were seeing password reset requests and notifications - a Turkish security researcher, based in the U.K., claimed on Twitter and within comments left on Tech Crunch, that he likely caused the outage while performing vulnerability testing on Apple's portal.

The researcher, Baliç, said that he recently started focusing his pen testing efforts on Apple. Previously, he alleges, his work included searching for and reporting bugs to Facebook. In all, he claims to have discovered 13 bugs on various Apple domains, and has reported each of them using their bug reporting system.

"One of those bugs have provided me access to users details etc. I immediately reported this to Apple. I have taken 73 users details (all apple inc workers only) and prove them as an example. 4 hours later from my final report Apple developer portal gas closed down and you know it still is... [sic]," his comment says.


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