Apple is hoping its “two-step” password security will ensure the safety of credit card details for around 500 million accounts. 7:25am UK, Saturday 23 March 2013 Apple has boosted security on iCloud and iTunes accounts with a new password system designed to stop hackers. The technology giant has followed Google’s example with a system that sends a code to a user’s mobile phone whenever they sign in from a new computer or make a purchase. The “two-step” authentication should stop hackers accessing private information even if they have the password. The move comes amid the high-profile hacking of government agencies and major companies. The popularity of Apple’s iTunes and Amazon, as well as storage services like iCloud, Dropbox and Google Drive are an incentive for companies to provide more advanced protection for personal and financial data. Apple, along with Facebook, Twitter and Microsoft, was hit by a security breach in January after hackers exploited a weakness in Oracle’s Java web-browsing software. The iPad maker holds credit card details for some 500 million iTunes and App Store customers, making it a rich target for hackers who are becoming ever more proficient at using information from social networks to phish for passwords. Apple users can update their profile to the new two-step system on thePassword and Security section of Apple’s website. The company said: “Apple takes customer privacy very seriously. Two-step verification is an even more robust process to ensure our users’ data remain protected.” Services that already use the two-step system include Facebook, Google, PayPal and Microsoft’s Xbox Live. Apple’s move may put pressure on Amazon to introduce similar technology. Some 24 million customers with Zappos, an Amazon-owned shoe company, had their details compromised by a hack in 2012.