More jailbreak wonkiness: First iPhone worm spreads likeness of Rick Astley

| November 9, 2009

That’s right — Rick Astley, the gingered crooner who was responsible for such hits as “Never Gone Give You Up” and “Together Forever,” has gone viral. Well okay, he was viral before (if you’ve never heard of Rickrolling, click here — Yes, that’s right. There’s a Wikipedia page dedicated to this). This time though, it has taken the form of the iPhone’s first worm.

This bit of code, named “Ikee,” got into a bunch of jailbroken iPhones in Australia and left its mark by leaving behind a picture of Astley. Seriously. That’s what this does. The worm sets the wallpaper image to the 80s singer as a prank. According to Ikee’s writer, Ashley Towns, his phone alone was responsible for leaving behind some 100 pictures of the celeb on that many phones in his native country.

There have no reports of this spreading outside Australia for now, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it wound up here.

Ikee infects jailbroken iPhones only by using a similar tactic as the Dutch hacker who broadcasted messages directly into other people’s handsets. (In the jailbreaking process, some people neglect to change the default password, which permits unauthorized access via SSH.) Ikee is slightly different, though, in that it moves on to look for other vulnerable handsets to infect over the Internet.

It seems harmless and kind of funny at first. That is, until you realize the real security breach this represents.

Here’s the part that’s not so funny: Although he later removed it, Towns had first published the code online in an effort to warn people about the security risk. While he may not have had any malicious intent, the next hacker might — and now the code has been out in the open.

Again, if you have a clean iPhone (i.e., not jailbroken), this won’t affect you. If you don’t, then make sure to change that password.

Via: PC World

(Thanks, JAE!)

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