A hacker or group of hackers calling themselves ‘Turkish Crime Family’ are claiming to be able to hold technology giant Apple to ransom – threatening to wipe millions of iPhones and iPads of all their data unless Apple pays them a ransom. They claim to have a cache of more than 500 million stolen email accounts and passwords.

Apple is insisting that its systems have not been breached and have publicly told the hackers that they will not pay the ransom: ‘we do not reward cyber-criminals for breaking the law’. However, we do know that there has been extensive phishing of Apple identities over the last two or more years; if all this data has been collected in one place the threat could be genuine.

Whatever the truth of the matter, if you are an Apple user, our advice is – better safe than sorry: change your password now, using something that is long, unguessable (containing a random mix of upper and lower case letters, numbers and special characters), and unique. We also recommend turning on iCloud’s two-factor authentication system if you have not already.

For more help on cybersecurity and advice on choosing and managing strong passwords, see our guide: Passwords and how to protect them