Man with Apple iPad
Man with Apple iPad Reuters

A hacker gang has targeted Apple Inc. and major social networking websites like Facebook and Twitter in a massive malware attack, law enforcement officials warn.

At least 40 companies were hit by the eastern European hacker gang according to sources who spoke with Bloomberg News.  In the past such attacks have been associated with hacker groups in China.

The attack is apparently aimed at stealing company secrets, research and other intellectual property that can be sold underground. The FBI and Secret Service are investigating, as are other security agencies.

The hackers, who apparently used an iPhone-developer website, managed to infiltrate some of Apple’s internal Mac systems with the malware. “We identified a small number of systems within Apple that were infected and isolated them from our network,” the California-based company said in a statement.

“There is no evidence that any data left Apple. We are working closely with law enforcement to find the source of the malware.”

Facebook was hacked last week in a zero-day Java attack that struck the laptops of engineers working in the company. 

The attack came shortly after the Twitter micro social networking site was hit in a similar attack.

Twitter revealed earlier this month that “extremely sophisticated” hackers may have gained access to information on some 250,000 of its more than 200 million active users, including usernames, e-mail addresses and encrypted passwords. The company reset the affected passwords and contacted the users, warning them to create new ones.

It is advisable to change one’s password every six months, a professional systems analyst who requested anonymity told Arutz Sheva in an email exchange on Thursday.