Ikee author develops iPhone apps; Apple sees no need for security

2009-12-01

Helen Martin

Virus Bulletin, UK
Editor: Helen Martin

Abstract

Job offer for iPhone worm author; Apple doesn't see need for security apps.


The author of the first worm for Apple’s iPhone has been offered a job with Australain iPhone application developer Mogeneration. 21-year-old Ashley Towns claims to have written the Ikee worm – which infects jailbroken iPhones – for purely altruistic reasons, in order to raise awareness of the dangers of using jailbroken iPhones.

When Towns announced his job offer via Twitter, one could almost hear the IT security community collectively sighing and shaking its head in disbelief as the irresponsible actions of this misguided and unrepentant young man were rewarded. Indeed, proof of the irresponsibility of Towns’ actions came when, just two weeks after the release of Ikee, the malicious ‘Duh’ worm appeared – based on Towns’ creation.

Despite Towns’ creation having started the ball rolling with iPhone malware, no anti-virus protection has yet been made available for the device. Apple tightly controls the applications that run on its iPhone devices and the company’s approval and collaboration would be required in order for security applications to be developed for the device. However, since both Ikee and Duh target jailbroken iPhones – and no malware has yet appeared for unmodified devices – Apple has not felt the need to enter into discussion with any anti-malware developers.

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