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First iPhone Virus Rick Rolls Your Phone

By - Source: Tom's Guide US | B 33 comments

The first known iPhone virus Rick rolls handsets.

It was bound to happen sooner or later. It would be foolish to think that with so many computer hackers and attackers in the world, the iPhone crowd would be spared. Fortunately for iPhoners, the first worm in Apple's golden apple isn't exactly malicious. Well, that probably depends on your definition of the word 'malicious,' but it's definitely not as bad as it could be, or as bad as smartphone viruses could be in the future.

Sure, designing a worm that will change the iPhone's wallpaper to a picture of Rick Astley is irritating for the user. However it seems it wasn't the developer's intent to do something malicious. The worm does nothing but change your screensaver and it only affects jailbroken iPhones -- and only if the user failed to change his or her default password for a secure shell (SSH) application that allows file transfers between smart phones.

A 21-year-old Australian hacker named Ashley Towns has since admitted to developing the worm. In the source code for the virus he writes, "People are stupid, and this is to prove it so" adding that iPhone users should read their manuals. "It's not that hard, guys," Towns writes. "But hey who cares its only your bank details at stake."

Towns spoke to ABC News Online and said that his aim was to wake people up and raise awareness, not to cause trouble.

"When people jailbreak their phone, it allows them to install a service on their phone called SSH," he told ABC. "Generally you should always change your password after setting up on the iPhone as all iPhones use the same password. This virus pretty much exploits people's laziness to change their password," the student continued, adding, "I think to raise awareness for one, somebody with more malicious intent could have done anything - read your SMSs, go through your emails, view your contacts, photos - anything. The virus itself is not malicious and is not out to hurt people. It's just poking fun and hoping waking people up a little."

Towns said the virus is relatively easy to remove. All users have to do is change the phone's password and delete a few files from the phone. You can check out the source code here.

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Top Comments
  • 14 Hide
    stryk55 , November 9, 2009 3:03 PM
    The next iPhone virus?

    Your default ringtone becomes "Chocolate Rain"...
Other Comments
  • 5 Hide
    core i7 ownage , November 9, 2009 3:03 PM
    Rickrolled by tomshardware :'(  I hate you guys, I hasn't seen a video of RR for years till now.
  • 14 Hide
    stryk55 , November 9, 2009 3:03 PM
    The next iPhone virus?

    Your default ringtone becomes "Chocolate Rain"...
  • 3 Hide
    The_King , November 9, 2009 3:06 PM
    source code lol I've been rick rolled by TH, OMG
  • 0 Hide
    flurrball , November 9, 2009 3:10 PM
    It's not a virus! It's an Apple update!!! Ahhhhh
  • 1 Hide
    lubitz_420 , November 9, 2009 3:11 PM
    should've made it so when it sync'd back up with a mac it would've infected that too, just to show all those mac-zombies that believe their impervious to the real world what happens when all your tech equipment is made by the same company with the same code architecture runnin the show, a hole in one is a hole in all!
  • 7 Hide
    JMcEntegart , November 9, 2009 3:11 PM
    core i7 ownageRickrolled by tomshardware I hate you guys, I hasn't seen a video of RR for years till now.

    The_Kingsource code lol I've been rick rolled by TH, OMG


    The things I do to keep myself entertained on a Monday morning.
  • -4 Hide
    the_one111 , November 9, 2009 3:11 PM
    Jane, Jane, Jane...

    Jaaane... Jaane JAAAAAANE!

    YOU NAUGHTY LITTLE RICKROLLIN' GIRL YOU!
  • 0 Hide
    JofaMang , November 9, 2009 3:11 PM
    Anarchaic Altruism? Awesome.
  • 0 Hide
    Ishaan , November 9, 2009 3:24 PM
    Oh well, totally ethical :p . People need to more aware about security concerns..
  • 2 Hide
    d_kuhn , November 9, 2009 3:38 PM
    The horror!!!
  • 0 Hide
    tortnotes , November 9, 2009 3:47 PM
    Quote:
    This video is not available in your country due to copyright restrictions.


    At least link to the original!
  • -9 Hide
    mbmcavoy , November 9, 2009 3:52 PM
    lubitz_420should've made it so when it sync'd back up with a mac it would've infected that too, just to show all those mac-zombies that believe their impervious to the real world what happens when all your tech equipment is made by the same company with the same code architecture runnin the show, a hole in one is a hole in all!


    I don't know if that is a possible attack vector, but I'd be surprised...

    Anyway, this isn't an "Apple" vulnerability. It only affects those who have
    1) Jailbroken their iPhone to remove Apple's security provisions
    2) Installed SSH to allow remote access
    3) Failed to change the default passwords, against the advice of the jailbreaking community.

    In other words, the people that want their iPhone to be more like Windows are installing their own security holes...
  • 1 Hide
    STravis , November 9, 2009 3:59 PM
    lubitz_420should've made it so when it sync'd back up with a mac it would've infected that too, just to show all those mac-zombies that believe their impervious to the real world what happens when all your tech equipment is made by the same company with the same code architecture runnin the show, a hole in one is a hole in all!


    This would be all well and good, however it infects only jail-broken phones and therefore is only an issue for people who have subverted all the securities put in place by Apple. Claiming that this is an OS X or Apple problem is ridiculous at best.
  • 0 Hide
    sqhacker , November 9, 2009 4:04 PM
    ha ha the power of reading comments before clicking links, no rickroll for me!! good try though
  • 0 Hide
    johnny_5 , November 9, 2009 4:15 PM
    So is Ashley Towns going to get arrested for this?
  • 1 Hide
    doc70 , November 9, 2009 4:16 PM
    as soon as one app enables the crippled iPhone to do something else than just make phone calls or run stupid AppStore apps it gets the blame... instead of the stupid user who neglected to change an elementary thing as a password... it's like leaving your wireless wide open and then complaining about your computer being hacked...
    And give me a break about the Apple systems being so secure; the only way to make the iPhone more secure was to cripple it all around. Hell, if I unplug my broadband modem I am un-hackable, too!

    "In other words, the people that want their iPhone to be more like Windows are installing their own security holes... "

    see above; I will always prefer a fully functional system that I can secure and customize the way I want versus one that has been "proofed" for me by crippling manufacturer... All my phones have been unlocked and modded so far and never had an issue with them, I just enjoyed their full functionality.
  • 3 Hide
    Anonymous , November 9, 2009 4:16 PM
    I thought apple was immune to all viruses? Up yours apple! More users = more viruses so quit your BSing.
  • 0 Hide
    megamanx00 , November 9, 2009 4:52 PM
    Ha ha, awesome

    They really did get Rick Rolled, lol
  • 1 Hide
    mdillenbeck , November 9, 2009 5:09 PM
    This guy deserves a hero tag on Fark for this one... but they'll probably press charges against the guy. At least he found a nice and innocent way to let people know "hey, if you are smart enough to jailbreak your phone, why aren't you smart enough to change your password?"

    Like he said - its only your bank data that might be at stake...
  • -2 Hide
    ravewulf , November 9, 2009 5:09 PM
    anonymous3592896I thought apple was immune to all viruses? Up yours apple! More users = more viruses so quit your BSing.

    This.

    Also, remember to check where links go before you click on them. (I avoided the Rick Roll :D  )
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