June 10, 2010 / 10:00 PM / 9 years ago

FBI probing AT&T iPad security breach

A customer hold the new iPad tablet computer at its UK launch at an Apple store in central London May 28, 2010. EUTERS/Luke MacGregor

WASHINGTON/NEW YORK (Reuters) - The Federal Bureau of Investigation has opened a probe into a security breach of Apple Inc’s iPad that exposed personal information of AT&T Inc customers.

“The FBI is aware of these possible computer intrusions and has opened an investigation to address the potential cyber threat,” FBI spokesman Jason Pack said on Thursday.

AT&T, which has exclusive U.S. rights to carry the iPad and the popular iPhone, has acknowledged the security breach but said it had corrected the flaw and that only email addresses were exposed to hackers who identified a security weakness.

It declined to comment on the FBI investigation.

The breach, first reported by the website Gawker on Wednesday, occurred when a group calling itself Goatse Security hacked into AT&T’s iPad subscriber data, obtaining a list of email addresses that included celebrities, chief executives and politicians, including New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. In all, more than 100,000 email addresses are believed to have been exposed.

Goatse could not immediately be reached for comment.

One source in the telecommunications industry said it was not surprising that the FBI was looking at the breach.

“If there’s a high profile data compromise it’s not unusual to get a phone call from government officials,” said the executive, who asked not to be named.

The iPad, launched in April, has already sold more than 2 million units worldwide.

Reporting by Jeremy Pelofsky in Washington D.C. and Sinead Carew in New York; Editing by Bernard Orr and Tim Dobbyn

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