Rick Astley Worm Appears for Jailbroken iPhones

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Date: Monday, November 9th, 2009, 05:53
Category: iPhone, News

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When your iPhone’s been rickrolled, that’s saying something.

Per CNET, reports started spreading this weekend that iPhone users in Australia had been falling victim to “ikee,” a worm that replaces default wallpaper with a picture of Rick Astley, the British pop singer whose song “Never Gonna Give You Up” has gained eternal infamy thanks to the mainstreaming of the “Rickrolling” prank craze. The photo is accompanied by the message “ikee is never gonna give you up,” and it’s apparently quite difficult to remove. According to security firm Sophos, this is the first worm detected that targets the iPhone.

The vulnerability itself is pretty specific, as the handset must be jailbroken in order to be affected. The worm appears to spread by searching an infected phone’s contacts to find other jailbroken-phone users who have installed the Unix software SSH (secure shell) but haven’t yet changed their passwords from Apple’s default root password, “alpine.”

Sophos says that it has not heard of any occurrences of the worm outside Australia, and that while it doesn’t appear to do anything worse than irritate and embarrass affected users, that it highlights the vulnerabilities that jailbroken iPhone users face.

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