Apple CEO Tim Cook has met with a high-ranking Chinese official to discuss cybersecurity in the wake of Apple issuing a cyberattack warning to iCloud users, and news of one group blaming the Chinese government for the possible hacks.
Apple has not yet laid any blame on who the attackers may be, but it has issued a statement on how users can avoid "man-in-the-middle" hacking attempts in many common browsers. Man-in-the-middle attacks involve attackers leading users to believe that they are communicating directly with the company in question, when in reality they are simply trying to steal information like logins and passwords.
"Apple is deeply committed to protecting our customers' privacy and security. We're aware of intermittent organized network attacks using insecure certificates to obtain user information, and we take this very seriously," said Apple in a statement. "These attacks don't compromise iCloud servers, and they don't impact iCloud sign in on iOS devices or Macs running OS X Yosemite using the Safari browser."
Chinese news officials also issued a brief on the meeting between the Apple CEO and the Chinese government officials, saying the meeting was also aimed at discussing cooperation in communications and information fields.
Apple and China have had a long, rocky history. Apple has come under fire from Chinese news outlets a number of times, with reports that Apple and other Silicon Valley tech companies are helping the U.S. government spy on Chinese citizens and government officials. Apple has often replied to these accusations by issuing statements against them.
After the Apple notice regarding recent iCloud hacks, GreatFire.org, which monitors Chinese Internet censorship, made the accusation it was the Chinese government staging the man-in-the-middle attacks.
"This is clearly a malicious attack on Apple in an effort to gain access to usernames and passwords and consequently all data stored on iCloud such as iMessages, photos, contacts, etc. Unlike the recent attack on Google, this attack is nationwide and coincides with the launch...in China of the newest iPhone," said the GreatFire statement. "While the attacks on Google and Yahoo enabled the authorities to snoop on what information Chinese were accessing on those two platforms, the Apple attack is different. If users ignored the security warning and clicked through to the Apple site and entered their username and password, this information has now been compromised by the Chinese authorities."
It is unclear if the meeting between Cook and the Chinese authorities was directly related to the attack or not, or if the relationship between Apple and China will continue to be rocky. The recent accusations coincide with the release of the iPhone 6 in China.