Physical Theft Meets Cybercrime: The Illicit Business of Selling Stolen Apple Devices

Online scams and physical crimes are known to intersect. In an incident last May, we uncovered a modus operandi and the tools they can use to break open iCloud accounts to unlock stolen iPhones. Further research into their crossover revealed how deep it runs. There’s actually a sizeable global market for stolen mobile phones—and by extension, iCloud fraud. From Irelandand the U.K. to IndiaArgentina, and the U.S., the demand for unlocking services for stolen phones is staggering: last year, stolen iPhones were sold in Eastern European countries for as much as US$2,100.  In the U.S. 23,000 iPhones from the Miami International Airport, valued at $6.7 million, were stolen last year.

The fraudsters’ attack chain is relatively straightforward. They spoof an email or SMS from Apple notifying victims that their device has been found. The eager victim, wanting their phone back, clicks on the link that will compromise their iCloud credentials, which is then reused to unlock the stolen device. The thieves will then subcontract third-party iCloud phishing services to unlock the devices. These Apple iCloud phishers run their business using a set of cybercriminal tools that include MagicApp, Applekit, and Find My iPhone (FMI.php) framework to automate iCloud unlocks in order to resell the device in underground and gray markets.

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Source: Trend Micro