App Store app publishing company comes forward as source of leaked Apple device UDIDs

Following the leak of millions of UDIDs for Apple’s iOS devices, a publishing company called BlueToad has come forward to NBC News as the source of the leaks. Anonymous, the group who obtained approximately 12 million Apple UDIDs of iOS device customers, initially pinpointed that the data came from an FBI laptop. The FBI quickly refuted the claim, and Apple commented as well.

BlueToad, a publishing company for apps on Apple’s App Store, says that UDIDs were stolen from its servers two weeks ago. The company says that the leaked UDID data matches its stolen data at a level of 98%.

Paul DeHart, CEO of the Blue Toad publishing company, told NBC News that technicians at his firm downloaded the data released by Anonymous and compared it to the company’s own database. The analysis found a 98 percent correlation between the two datasets. “That’s 100 percent confidence level, it’s our data,” DeHart said. “As soon as we found out we were involved and victimized, we approached the appropriate law enforcement officials, and we began to take steps to come forward, clear the record and take responsibility for this.”

Apple commented to NBC on the matter involving BlueToad:

“As an app developer, BlueToad would have access to a user’s device information such as UDID, device name and type,” Apple spokeswoman Trudy Mullter told NBC News on Monday. “Developers do not have access to users’ account information, passwords or credit card information, unless a user specifically elects to provide that information to the developer.”

BlueToad mainly builds applications for App Store developers. The company said that it would leave it up to those developers to contact affected customers.

The company has posted a message on its website:

Written by Paul DeHart, CEO and President

A little more than a week ago, BlueToad was the victim of a criminal cyber attack, which resulted in the theft of Apple UDIDs from our systems.  Shortly thereafter, an unknown group posted these UDIDs on the Internet.

At BlueToad, we understand the importance of protecting the safety and security of information contained on our systems.

Although we successfully defend against thousands of cyber attacks each day, this determined criminal attack ultimately resulted in a breach to a portion of our systems.

When we discovered that we were the likely source of the information in question, we immediately reached out to law enforcement to inform them and to cooperate with their ongoing criminal investigation of the parties responsible for the criminal attack and the posting of the stolen information.

We have fixed the vulnerability and are working around the clock to ensure that a security breach doesn’t happen again.  In doing so, we have engaged an independent and nationally-recognized security assurance company to assist in our ongoing efforts.

We sincerely apologize to our partners, clients, publishers, employees and users of our apps.  We take information security very seriously and have great respect and appreciation for the public’s concern surrounding app and information privacy.

BlueToad does not collect, nor have we ever collected, highly sensitive personal information like credit cards, social security numbers or medical information.  The illegally obtained information primarily consisted of Apple device names and UDIDs – information that was reported and stored pursuant to commercial industry development practices.

Upon Apple’s recommendation several months ago, we modified our code base to discontinue the practice of reporting UDIDs.  We have now also discontinued storing any UDID information sent to our servers by apps that have not yet been updated to the new code base.

 We understand and respect the privacy concerns surrounding the data that was stolen from our system.  BlueToad believes the risk that the stolen data can be used to harm app users is very low.  But that certainly doesn’t lessen our resolve to ensure that all data is protected and kept from those who seek to illegally obtain it.

We will continue to monitor this situation and cooperate with law enforcement in the investigation of the parties responsible for this crime

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