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Friday, September 2, 2011

Apple techs give away HDD with company secrets


Apple Inc.'s skills at keeping its sensitive data secret just got another black eye.

Just a day after news broke out that Apple lost its prototype next-generation iPhone at a bar in San Francisco, an enthusiast site has reported that a Genius Bar technician at an Apple Store in Connecticut handed over to a customer a hard drive containing the Apple Store's internal files.

Cult of Mac said the hard drive contained a complete "Time Machine" backup of the Apple Store’s internal file server, "filed with top secret and confidential Apple Store documents."

"These files look legit to us, which makes this one of the weirder stories that has come through our hands recently," it said of the volumes “/Volumes/apple store/Backups.backupdb/teamserver/2009-11-23-095346/HD1/Server Users" and “/Volumes/apple store/Backups.backupdb/teamserver/2011-05-18-141707/HD1/Users/admin".

Cult of Mac posted photos of the hard drive in question —and some screenshots of its contents — on its site.

"What’s on this disk? According to our tipster, 'confidential docs, internal manuals, Apple’s sales technics, an Apple store work checklist, products layout, time schedules, pictures and videos of Apple corporate activities that only Apple employees can see, videos of store meetings, business structure and much much much more,'" it said.

Lucky customer

It said the customer who got the hard drive had brought his problematic Mac to an Apple Store in Stamford, Connecticut to have the problems fixed.

After a couple of days, he was called to pick up his Mac, which needed to have its hard drive replaced.

"When our tipster picked up his Mac, the Genius also handed him a hard drive, which he assumed was his old dead HDD," Cult of Mac said.

It was when the customer plugged the HDD into a USB enclosure to see if any of his old files could be salvaged, that he "found something very different."

The hard drive contained the Apple Retail Store server Time Machine backup disk "containing secret internal docs dating from late 2009 to May 2011!" it said.

“I always wondered what went on behind that big doors on the back of Apple Store," Cult of Mac quoted its tipster as saying.

Intent to sell

Cult of Mac said its tipster originally approached it to sell the hard drive containing the Time Machine backups, and provided the screenshots as proof.

But it said it does not pay for stories, "and especially not things like confidential information or iPhone prototypes."

"As such, we strongly advised him to return the hard drive to Apple, and even offered to help facilitate the safe return of the disk if he was nervous about the exchange. We have not heard from him since," it said.

iPhone woes

Earlier this week, tech site CNET reported Apple lost another unreleased model of what could be its upcoming iPhone 5.

CNET cited sources familiar with the investigation who said the iPhone went missing in a restaurant-bar in San Francisco's Mission district in late July.

The report said the incident was similar to the loss of an unreleased iPhone 4 last year, which triggered a scramble by Apple security to recover the device over the next few days. — TJD, GMA News


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