Rickrolling iPhone worm is never gonna give you up

iPhones that have been "jailbroken" are potentially vulnerable to a worm that replaces the device's default wallpaper with, yes, a photo of pop singer Rick Astley.

Well, this hacker has quite the sense of humor.

Reports started spreading this weekend that iPhone users in Australia had been falling victim to "ikee," a worm that replaces default wallpaper with a picture of Rick Astley, the British pop singer whose song "Never Gonna Give You Up" has gained eternal infamy thanks to the mainstreaming of the "Rickrolling" prank craze. The photo is accompanied by the message "ikee is never gonna give you up," and it's apparently quite difficult to remove. According to security firm Sophos, this is the first worm detected that targets the iPhone.

The vulnerability is pretty specific: the phones must be jailbroken in order to be affected, and it appears to spread by searching an infected phone's contacts to find other jailbroken-phone users who have installed the Unix software SSH (secure shell) but haven't yet changed their passwords from Apple's default root password, "alpine."

Sophos says that it has not heard of any occurrences of the worm outside Australia, and that while it doesn't appear to do anything worse than irritate and embarrass affected users, that it highlights the vulnerabilities that jailbroken phones face.

About the author

Caroline McCarthy, a CNET News staff writer, is a downtown Manhattanite happily addicted to social-media tools and restaurant blogs. Her pre-CNET resume includes interning at an IT security firm and brewing cappuccinos.

 

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