The hacktivists, who call themselves Swagg Security--tagline: "hacking today for an entertaining tomorrow"--published the log-in credentials via Pastebin and BitTorrent. "Foxconn did have an appropriate firewall, but fortunately to our intent, we were able to bypass it almost flawlessly," according to a statement released by the group in its Pastebin post.
The 9to5 Mac blog said it verified that "these logins worked on more than one Foxconn server," but said that the affected servers now appear to be inaccessible. "We are certain that Foxconn admins are shutting down outside access; however, it is currently uncertain if any sensitive data leaked. The servers we see are mostly client intranets," it reported.
After the attack, a page on the Foxconn website advertising a selection of the services it provides for various customers, including Apple, HP, and Sony, was also offline.
[ Despite calls from Washington to keep jobs onshore, U.S. companies seem to be sending more tech work oversees. See India's Outsourcing Economy Booms. ]
Numerous technology giants outsource parts of their manufacturing operations to Foxconn. Also known as Hon Hai Precision Industry, the company is a key supplier for Acer, Apple, Cisco, Dell, Google, HP, Microsoft, Nintendo, Nokia, and Sony.
The manufacturer, however, has also been criticized for the quality of its work conditions. Notably, an explosion at an iPad factory in May 2011 killed two employees, while a raft of suicide attempts in 2010 led the company to increase employees' pay by 30%.
But Swagg Security said it hadn't hacked Foxconn to protest the working conditions. "Although we are considerably disappointed of the conditions of Foxconn, we are not hacking a corporation for such a reason and although we are slightly interested in the existence of an Iphone 5, we are not hacking for this reason," according to its Pastebin post. "We enjoy exposing governments and corporations, but the more prominent reason, is the hilarity that ensues when compromising and destroying an infrastructure. How unethical right?"
On a related note, Apple has recently been the focus of a number online petitions that are protesting what a New York Times investigation described as the "harsh conditions" at many Foxconn facilities, including "onerous work environments and serious--sometimes deadly--safety problems."
A petition drive hosted by Change.org is now calling on Apple to "protect workers making iPhones in Chinese factories" and has garnered more than 200,000 signatures. Corporate liability group SumOfUs, meanwhile, launched an online petition at the end of last month calling on Apple CEO Tim Cook to "overhaul the way [Apple's] suppliers treat their workers" when building the iPhone 5. It said the petition received 35,000 signatures within 24 hours of being announced.
In response to the criticism, Apple said in a statement, "We care about every worker in our worldwide supply chain," reported CNN. "We insist that our suppliers provide safe working conditions, treat workers with dignity and respect, and use environmentally responsible manufacturing processes wherever Apple products are made."
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