On Wednesday, police in China’s Zhejiang province released a statement reporting the arrest of 22 third-party Apple distributors for allegedly selling customer data on the black market. Officials claim that the suspects searched an internal Apple database to obtain sensitive information, such as names, Apple IDs and phone numbers.

Each sale was for between 10 yuan to 180 yuan (A$1.95 to A$35.17). The entire scam was reportedly worth more than 50 million yuan (about A$9.8 million).

It is presently unclear whether there were victims outside of China, or how many people were affected by the breach.

No doubt these events will raise concerns worldwide about distributors’ access to customer data when it flows through the supply chain. Companies will need to have strong guarantees in place with their distributors, in relation to the handling and security of data, in order to reduce their risk of breaches when data leaves their control.

Users wishing to add an extra layer of security to their Apple ID can try utilising two-factor authentication, as set out by Apple here.