Swagg Security publishes staff passwords online on the day campaigners around world demand ethically-made iPhone 5
Change.org delivers 250,000 signatures in protest at factory conditions in China to the Apple store in Grand Central Station, New York. Photograph: Andrew Gombert/EPA
The Guardian, Thu 9 Feb 2012 19.23 GMT
Apple’s controversial Chinese supplier Foxconn was battling on Thursday to contain a security breach after hackers joined the mounting protest over iPhone factory conditions by leaking the login details of its entire staff.
A group calling itself Swagg Security taunted Terry Gou, the chief executive of Foxconn’s parent company Hon Hai Industries, by posting his username and password along with a mass of other sensitive information on The Pirate Bay and Pastebin websites.
The hack, publicised in a series of Twitter alerts, came as campaigners delivered petitions demanding an ethically-made iPhone 5 – the new model is expected later this year – at Apple stores in London, New York, San Francisco, Sydney and Bangalore. The controversy could also marr the release of Apple’s iPad 3, now expected in March.
More than 250,000 people have signed two petitions, organised by campaign platforms SumOfUs and Change.org.
“Everyone here is an avid Apple user, we just want to ensure those products are made in working conditions that are ethical and fair and safe,” said the UK campaigns director of Change.org, Brie Rogers Lowery, who delivered four boxes of signatures to Apple’s Regent Street store.
“Finding out about the conditions under which iPhones and iPads are produced makes me disturbed to own one. We are hoping to push Apple to set a precedent for other technology companies.”
Media exposure of suicides, deaths from explosions, maimings and 16-hour shifts at the factories assembling Apple’s electronics goods mean pressure is mounting for the world’s most valuable listed company to improve conditions for workers at Foxconn and other suppliers.
Swagg Security took aim at Foxconn in an anonymous letter: “They say you got your employees all worked up, committing suicide ‘n stuff … Your not gonna’ know what hit you by the time you finish this release. Your company gonna’ crumble, and you deserve it.”
The website 9to5Mac verified the leak, and said the passwords provided access to several Foxconn servers, most of them hosting intranet sites for company clients. “The passwords inside these files could allow individuals to make fraudulent orders under big companies like Microsoft, Apple, IBM, Intel, and Dell,” Swagg Security claimed on its Pastebin page.
Foxconn responded by shutting down the compromised server and taking down a website detailing the services it provides to Apple and other clients including HP, Cisco, Acer and Sony.
Apple’s chief executive, Tim Cook, who masterminded the company’s supply chain before succeeding Steve Jobs at the head of the company, said last month he had never turned a blind eye to working conditions. Apple produced annual audits of its factories but last month appointed an independent group, the Fair Labour Association, to take over inspections.