The Apple's online support forums to raise the alarm, pointing to an error message that popped up on affected devices saying they had been "hacked by Oleg Pliss".as iPhone, iPad and Mac users took
The error demanded that US$100 be paid to a PayPal account (linked to a Hotmail address) in order to regain access to the affected device, warning that failure to do so would see the device remotely wiped.
However, according to a PayPal Australia spokesperson, the Hotmail account listed in the Oleg Pliss hack was not actually linked to a PayPal account -- making the hack itself even more curious.
Despite this, even if it was linked to a real PayPal account, the company had systems in place to protect hacked customers.
"If money was sent, our customers would be covered thanks to PayPal's Buyer Protection," the spokesperson said.
The spokesperson added that PayPal customers are also protected in Australia by the ePayments Code (regulated by the Australian Security and Investments Commission) which offers "guidelines" for online payments so "if you put the wrong email address or wrong details in, you're covered".
PayPal also reassured those Apple users concerned about a hacker remotely accessing or wiping their device, saying that the company's cloud-based structure ensured "no financial information is stored on your phone" so customer bank details are secure.