First Virus Hits the (Jailbroken) iPhone

Ryan Whitwam

Apple told us jailbreaking wasn’t a good idea. Sure, we mocked them at the time, but it is looking a little less safe these days. The first iPhone worm has been discovered affecting iPhones in Australia. The virus takes advantage of a massive security hole in the SSH client for jailbroken phones. The “ikee” worm is fairly benign, simply changing the user’s wallpaper to a picture of Rick Astley of “Rickroll” fame.

As it turns out, the default password for the SSH client is ‘alpine’. The worm accesses the phone via this route, and then attempts to infect other phones on the network. The worm’s creator, a 21 year-old student, said in an interview, “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.”

Un-jailbroken phones, and jailbroken phones that don’t have SSH installed are not vulnerable. Jailbreakers should head to the Cydia store, and use the Mobile Terminal app to change their default password. With a zillion iPhones out there, it was only a matter of time.

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