Ikee iPhone worm hacker lands lucrative job

Malware + no remorse = easy street

The hacker who created the Ikee iPhone worm because 'he was bored', may be smarter than he first appeared. Ashley Towns may have expressed no regrets over writing the bug, but he has subsequently landed a job with an Australian company that develops legitimate iPhone apps: mogeneration.

Towns' worm, known as Ikee, threatens iPhone users who have jaibroken their phones to let them run unauthorised software. The iPhone malware hit the headlines early this month.

Ikee doesn't do anything particularly bad - it changes the victim's wallpaper to a photograph of 80s singer Rick Astley and then seeks out other phones to infect.

The worm does not affect most iPhone users; only those with jailbroken iPhones that are running a Unix utility called SSH (Secure Shell) with the iPhone's default password, "alpine", still in use, but its arrival heralded a minor boom in iPhone malware, being closely followed by two other infestations.

The second piece of malware harvested personal data from iPhones, including user email, contacts, SMS messages, calendars and multimedia files. More recently, a much more serious worm has been targeting jailbroken iPhones and adding them to a mobile botnet. (See: Apple iPhones snared by mobile botnet.)

Towns is far from the first hacker to demonstrate his skill via nuisance malware and then turn legitimate, landing a lucrative job. But the move is sure to generate publicity and controversy (which may be the point).

Indeed, Sophos' Graham Cluley was typically quick to tell BBC News: "It leaves a nasty taste that he has been rewarded like this, yet has not even expressed regret for his actions."

Join the CSO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Ikeesecurityhackeriphone worm

More about AppleBBC Worldwide AustralasiaSophosSSH

Show Comments

Featured Whitepapers

Editor's Recommendations

Solution Centres

Stories by Megan Burger

Latest Videos

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Will your data protection strategy be enough when disaster strikes?

    Speakers: - Paul O’Connor, Engagement leader - Performance Audit Group, Victorian Auditor-General’s Office (VAGO) - Nigel Phair, Managing Director, Centre for Internet Safety - Joshua Stenhouse, Technical Evangelist, Zerto - Anthony Caruana, CSO MC & Moderator

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: The Human Factor - Your people are your biggest security weakness

    ​Speakers: David Lacey, Researcher and former CISO Royal Mail David Turner - Global Risk Management Expert Mark Guntrip - Group Manager, Email Protection, Proofpoint

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Current ransomware defences are failing – but machine learning can drive a more proactive solution

    Speakers • Ty Miller, Director, Threat Intelligence • Mark Gregory, Leader, Network Engineering Research Group, RMIT • Jeff Lanza, Retired FBI Agent (USA) • Andy Solterbeck, VP Asia Pacific, Cylance • David Braue, CSO MC/Moderator What to expect: ​Hear from industry experts on the local and global ransomware threat landscape. Explore a new approach to dealing with ransomware using machine-learning techniques and by thinking about the problem in a fundamentally different way. Apply techniques for gathering insight into ransomware behaviour and find out what elements must go into a truly effective ransomware defence. Get a first-hand look at how ransomware actually works in practice, and how machine-learning techniques can pick up on its activities long before your employees do.

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Get real about metadata to avoid a false sense of security

    Speakers: • Anthony Caruana – CSO MC and moderator • Ian Farquhar, Worldwide Virtual Security Team Lead, Gigamon • John Lindsay, Former CTO, iiNet • Skeeve Stevens, Futurist, Future Sumo • David Vaile - Vice chair of APF, Co-Convenor of the Cyberspace Law And Policy Community, UNSW Law Faculty This webinar covers: - A 101 on metadata - what it is and how to use it - Insight into a typical attack, what happens and what we would find when looking into the metadata - How to collect metadata, use this to detect attacks and get greater insight into how you can use this to protect your organisation - Learn how much raw data and metadata to retain and how long for - Get a reality check on how you're using your metadata and if this is enough to secure your organisation

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them Featuring: • John Baird, Director of Global Technology Production, Deutsche Bank • Samantha Macleod, GM Cyber Security, ME Bank • Sherrod DeGrippo, Director of Emerging Threats, Proofpoint (USA)

    Play Video

More videos

Blog Posts

Market Place