iPhone fans may remember some of Apple’s doom-and-gloom warnings about using jailbroken iPhones in order to install unapproved applications or use the devices on operators who were not Apple-approved iPhone partners. Something about security? Maybe personal details and data being at risk? Well, now it’s happened: the first worm for the iPhone has apparently emerged in Australia, and it does something potentially much more damaging than stealing banking information, nabbing your passwords, sniffing your email, or sending annying messages to your friends a hundred times a second. It sets your wallpaper to an image of 80s pop music star turned Internet meme Rick Astley.
According to security firm Sophos, the worm can only impact users of jailbroken iPhones who have installed SSH on their devices. (The worm does not impact iPhones running Apple’s unaltered iPhone operating system). The worm gets in by exploiting a default password in the SSH installation; if SSH users never got around to changing the password, their iPhones are vulnerable. Once on board, the worm tried to find other iPhones on the user’s mobile carrier and also have the SSH vulnerability. And it sets the users’ desktop wallpaper to an image of Rick Astley and the message “ikee is never going to give you up” across the top of the display.
According to Sophos, the worm has not yet been spotted outside Australia, but variants of the worm are already turning up, including ones that make efforts to hide their presence.
Although the “ikee” worm is comparatively harmless—though its actions are criminal in many countries—the exploit could easily have been used to perform more malicious actions or attacks.
[Images from “Batman” on the Whirlpool iPhone forum.]