Apple Inc.'s (AAPL) developers site was taken down by another in a long series of hacks of corporate and government websites. If any company ought to have the ability to protect its online assets, it is Apple, which has both the talent and money to endlessly invest in cyber protection. When Apple can be hacked, how far away is the really big hack that could take down a company like Facebook Inc. (FB) or a government organization used by nearly every American like the Internal Revenue Service?
Apple announced on its developers site that:
Last Thursday, an intruder attempted to secure personal information of our registered developers from our developer website. 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.
In the world of hacking, which is full of corporate-employed and other expert anti-hackers, the nearly five days Apple's site has been down is very long time.
Apple's trouble clearly creates a series of problems for one of its most important businesses. The problem should deeply worry other large organizations that may need to battle similar problems. No one needs to point out that, whether hackers are in China and act against the U.S. government or hidden somewhere else and attack Apple, these enemies of security have skills that usually keep them ahead of those who would defend against them.
A really massive hack is somewhere in the future. It is one that for days will take down a massive company that the public uses in large numbers. At the head of that list sit the largest social networks, which include Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn Corp. (LNKD). And the list also should include those of the largest news operations, such as CNN and Fox.
At the government end of possible high-profile hacks are agencies that do not interact with the public, which would include the Department of Defense and the Federal Reserve. And there are the government sites that the public visits every day. Among the most visible are IRS.gov and WhiteHouse.gov.
Imagine if the Office of the President's site goes offline as long as Apple's has been.