Apple said Wednesday that it never provided identification numbers of iPhones and iPads to the FBI, after hackers claimed to have scored millions of them by breaking into an agent's laptop.
"The FBI has not requested this information from Apple, nor have we provided it to the FBI or any organization," an Apple representative said.
Hackers with AntiSec, one of the multitude of groups associated with Web activist movement Anonymous, posted online what they claimed are the IDs of more than 1 million iPhones and iPads. And they say that's just part of the more than 12 million IDs -- and other information such as users' names, cell phone numbers and billing addresses -- they got from the laptop of an FBI agent.
The Apple representative, who asked not to be identified, added that in its latest mobile operating system, iOS 6, Apple has replaced the types of identifiers the hackers appear to have gotten and will be discontinuing their use.
Security experts have said that the IDs, posted on document-sharing site Pastebin, appear to be legitimate.
A day earlier, the FBI denied the hackers' claim that they accessed the laptop of Christopher K. Stangl, a cybersecurity expert, by exploiting a vulnerability in programming language Java.
"At this time there is no evidence indicating that an FBI laptop was compromised or that the FBI either sought or obtained this data," the FBI said in a statement.
The bureau's press office went further on its Twitter feed. "Bottom line: TOTALLY FALSE," it wrote.
Via the Twitter account that first posted a link to the documents, the hackers responded quickly Wednesday as word of Apple's statement began spreading.
"Apple: We Didn't Give FBI Any Device IDs. But who did? That's the 10000001$ question," read a post on the feed. The group says it released exactly 1,000,001 IDs of the more than 12 million it collected.
In one of the story's more bizarre twists, the website Gawker posted a photo Wednesday of one of its reporters, Adrian Chen, wearing a ballet tutu with a tennis shoe on his head.
In their Pastebin post, the hackers, in typically irreverent style, said they wouldn't be talking to the media about the hack unless Gawker posted such a photo of Chen, who sometimes writes critically of Anonymous.
As of Wednesday afternoon, Chen said he had yet to hear from Anonymous.