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Published: Friday, 6/11/2010

iPad vulnerability fixed, AT&T says


NEW YORK - New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg was among the 100,000 iPad users whose e-mail addresses were exposed because of a security vulnerability, but he is shrugging it off and says he doesn't think it's a big deal.

The billionaire mayor has spent the last several weeks touting his iPad as a helpful tool for managing a city of 8.4 million people.

The FBI said late yesterday that it is investigating a data breach, looking into "the potential cyber threat" from the breach.

AT&T Inc. acknowledged a security weakness Wednesday. It said it was notifying all users of Apple Inc.'s iPad 3G whose e-mail addresses may have been exposed. The second-largest U.S. mobile phone provider said it corrected the flaw.

The company said the e-mail addresses were the only information that would have been revealed.

A group called Goatse Security said it found a breach that let it uncover information based on a unique code on iPad SIM cards. It then released addresses of iPad owners, including New York Times Co. Chief Executive Officer Janet Robinson and Mr. Bloomberg.

"This issue was escalated to the highest levels of the company and was corrected by Tuesday, and we have essentially turned off the feature that provided the e-mail addresses," Dallas-based AT&T said in the statement.

The vulnerability adds to Apple's chagrin two months after an unreleased prototype of the iPhone, lost by an Apple engineer, was disassembled and photographed by Gawker's technology blog Gizmodo.com.

"This breach is obviously embarrassing for AT&T and for Apple, but knowing the names of the people who bought the first iPads is more intriguing than dangerous," said Joris Evers, a spokesman for security-software maker McAfee Inc.

Apple has sold more than 2 million iPads since releasing the device in April. Some models of the iPad tablet work with AT&T's third-generation wireless network, and other versions only work on Wi-Fi networks.

Apple representatives didn't respond to requests for comment.

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