Feeds

iPhone worm hacker gets death threats, job offers

Mixed bug bag for chastened VXer

High performance access to file storage

The creator of the rickrolling iPhone worm has spoken of possible job offers and death threats since the release of the Jesus Phone malware last weekend.

Ashley Towns, 21, from Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia, told local media he received both threats and offers of possible work a day after he was identified as the creator of what's been described as the first strain of iPhone malware. The malicious code created by Towns changed the wallpaper of jailbroken iPhone devices it infected to a picture of cheesy '80s pop star Rick Astley.

Jailbroken phones have been modified so that they are capable of running non-Apple approved applications. Only users on the Optus network in Australia with jailbroken iPhones and SSH installed were hit by the so-called ikee worm created by Towns. Even so, scores or perhaps hundreds were affected.

Towns describes this as an "experiment" that got out of hand: "I didn't really think about legal consequences at the time. I honestly never expected it to go this far."

For the recently graduated network administration student explaining his actions to his friends and parents has been the least of his problems over the last week. "A lot of random people have been making threats and someone even figured out my mobile number and published it online," Towns told a local NSW newspaper, adding the on the plus side an iPhone application developer has offered him a job interview.

Graham Cluley, the senior security consultant at Sophos, was the first to point towards Towns as the likely creator of the worm, based on comment lines in the viral code and an internet search, and he described the mobile worm written by Towns as riddled with bugs. Even leaving aside the ethical problems of creating and distributing malware, Towns was a poor mobile application developer.

"The worm was a buggy piece of code that leaked data by copying across the wallpaper from other peoples' phones during its infection routine," Cluley explained. "It also tried to scan a far wider range of addresses for other devices to infect than intended, judging by comments in the code."

"Judging by other comments, Towns even shafted his own iPhone during the development process," Cluley added.

Although Cluley condemned Towns actions, he said that Towns didn't deserve jail for his efforts. "Towns is not in the same league as financially motivated hackers who are responsible for the majority of the malware we see today," he said. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Parent gabfest Mumsnet hit by SSL bug: My heart bleeds, grins hacker
Natter-board tells middle-class Britain to purée its passwords
Obama allows NSA to exploit 0-days: report
If the spooks say they need it, they get it
Web data BLEEDOUT: Users to feel the pain as Heartbleed bug revealed
Vendors and ISPs have work to do updating firmware - if it's possible to fix this
Samsung Galaxy S5 fingerprint scanner hacked in just 4 DAYS
Sammy's newbie cooked slower than iPhone, also costs more to build
Snowden-inspired crypto-email service Lavaboom launches
German service pays tribute to Lavabit
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Call of Duty 'fragged using OpenSSL's Heartbleed exploit'
So it begins ... or maybe not, says one analyst
NSA denies it knew about and USED Heartbleed encryption flaw for TWO YEARS
Agency forgets it exists to protect communications, not just spy on them
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
HP ArcSight ESM solution helps Finansbank
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.