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Rickroll virus targets iPhones

An Australian has released a virus for the Apple iPhone, ikee, which replaces the infected device's background picture with an image of Rick Astley.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer on

An Australian has released a virus for the Apple iPhone, ikee, which replaces the infected device's background picture with an image of Rick Astley.

Astley%20copy.jpg

Never gonna give you up
(Credit: Whirlpool ID, Batman)

Security companies Sophos and F-Secure have issued warnings to owners of jailbroken iPhones to change root log-in passwords immediately. All iPhones are issued with the same root log-in password.

The worm, labelled "ikee", spreads using SSH (secure shell) protocol, which iPhones use to exchange data on a network.

iPhones are not shipped with SSH enabled. Users who do not have the messaging feature turned on should not be vulnerable; however, Sophos head of technology Paul Ducklin said if the feature has been enabled and the root password has not been changed, "you are woefully insecure".

According to fellow Sophos security consultant, Graham Cluley, the author of the virus is believed to be Ashley Towns, who operates on Twitter under the @ikee account.

F-Secure chief research officer Mikko Hyponnen has commented on the company's blog that the virus searches for nearby targets by scanning a handful of Australian IP ranges. He has included instructions for changing the root password on jailbroken iPhones.

While Sophos' Ducklin has pointed to the virus' action, which turns off SSH once it has infected a device and therefore leaving it protected from further attacks, Hyponnen warns that the author's decision to release the full source code means there will likely be variants on the horizon.

Users of broadband forum Whirlpool began posting comments about the virus last Friday afternoon.

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