Thursday, 12 Nov, 2009 Technology

First Worm Attack on Apple iPhone


Australia registered the world's first worm that infects the Apple iPhone. The worm changes the wallpaper of the iPhone to an image of Rick Astley, a pop singer of the 1980s. In addition, it generates a message that reads: "ikee is never going to give you up." The worm has been dubbed ikee and it can only influence "jail-broken" devices, meaning iPhones that had their protection mechanisms removed by the user to be able to run various programs that have not been approved by Apple.

Although the current iPhone worm is not harmful, experts believe that it could bring a new wave of malware that might have a more serious impact on the device. Mikko Hypponen, a representative of F-secure, a security firm, wrote that the developer of the iPhone worm managed to liberate a full source code of the 4 existing types of the worm. "This means that there will quickly be more variants, and they might have nastier payload than just changing your wallpaper," he wrote.

Up till now only Australia registered the circulation of the iPhone worm. This can be easily explained - the developer of the worm, known as Ashley Towns, lives in Australia. According to the 21-year-old Towns, he developed the worm to make people aware of the security issues.

The worm only affects devices that have SSH installed, which is a program that allows other phones to connect to the device and alter the system and files. The iPhone is infected in case the user did not consider changing the default password after installing SSH, reports BBC News.

As soon as the device is infected with the worm, the SSH service is disabled, which prevents re-infection. There are several comments included in the code. These messages were written by Mr. Towns to explain his motivation. One of the messages reads: "People are stupid and this is to prove it. It's not that hard guys. But hey who cares its only your bank details at stake."

To get rid of the worm the user has to change the device's password and delete a number of files. According to some estimates, today up to 10 percent of all iPhones and iPod Touches are jail-broken.

Posted by greendan80

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