Posted by: paragon | December 4, 2009

iPhone worm – JailBroken iPhones

Due to the iPhone being a hit in the smartphone market, network security researchers warned that the iPhone’s popularity will lead to cyber-criminals to taking an interest in mobile phones. With the increase in horsepower and functionality in smartphones phones, they are essentially mini computers. We all know the types of threats and vulnerabilities computers face and our phones are no exception.

Recently, some iPhone users were attacked by a worm – the first of its kind found on the iPhone. The virus automatically replaces the iPhone wallpaper with a photo of 80’s pop singer Rick Astley and displays a message “Never give up your” (ikee is never going to give you up), but stops there and does not perform further attacks on the iPhone. The worm was written by a 21-year-old Australian hacker Ashley Towns to prepare, Towns said the production of the worm is to have iPhone users realize the risks of not changing the default root password.

However, only jailbroken iPhones are vulnerable to the worm virus. Jailbreaking is a process that allows iPhone and iPod Touch users to run homebrew apps on their devices by bypassing Apple’s App Store. Once jailbroken, iPhone users are able to download homebew applications as well as cracked applications through unofficial installers such as Cydia, Rock App, Icy, and Installer. Jailbroken versions of Apple’s iPhone is eligible for technical support and Apple has many times through software upgrades prevented users from cracking their iPhones. Apple also noted that Jailbreaking an iPhone is illegal. Users who jailbreak their iPhone, installed SSH, and did not change their default root password “alpine” were found with the worm. Once infected, the worm will attempt to search and spread to other jailbroken iPhones in the same network. This threat can be mitigated by changing the default password of their iPhone.

Prior to this incident, iPhone users have already been the target in attacks. A week ago, Dutch users received messages from an the attacker that warned of a security vulnerability in their cell phone and requested that these users donate 5 Euros each to a PayPal account. The attackers have since apologized and provided a fix. This is an example of an attacker who exploited the same flaw but not in the form of a virus or worm.

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