While social engineering is becoming an increasingly popular way for hackers to trick people into revealing their login credentials (as was the case with the government data breach reported earlier today), another method that cybercriminals use to gain access to companies' systems is to simply offer employees money in exchange for their details.
Business Insider UK reports that this was the situation faced by several workers at Apple's European Headquarters in Cork, Ireland. "You'd be surprised how many people get on to us, just random Apple employees," the anonymous employee said. "You get emails offering you thousands [of euros] to get a password to get access to Apple.
"I could sell my Apple ID login information online for €20,000 ($23,000) tomorrow. That’s how much people are trying."
A different Apple employee said that hackers targeted those workers who weren’t considered ‘lifers.’
"They look for someone who has jumped diagonally into a junior managerial position, so not a lifer working their way up, and not a lifer who has been there a long time.” The employee added that the company had introduced the ‘Grow your own’ scheme, where it creates its own managers, to combat the problem.
It’s unclear what these groups or individuals offering the money are specifically trying to access, but the information held on Apple’s internal systems would doubtlessly prove to be very valuable in the wrong hands.
For its part, Apple has said it is “very, very careful” when it comes to security, and there have been no reports of any its employees illicitly accepting money for their login credentials.