iPhone virus hands your phone to Rick Astley

The first iPhone worm is in the wild. So if you have a jailbroken iPhone running SSH, hold on to your hats: you're about to get Rickrolled

Flora Graham
2 min read

You might think jailbreaking your iPhone will set you free, but you may find you're Rick Astley's plaything. Sophos, the security and anti-virus company, reports that the first iPhone worm is now wiggling its way into jailbroken iPhones in Australia.

Sophos says that the virus, called 'Ikee', changes the phone's background picture to a dreamy shot of the swoopy-haired '80s crooner, and then goes looking for other iPhones on the network to infect. Red text at the top of the image says 'Ikee is never going to give you up'.

But you needn't worry just because you've jailbroken your iPhone -- the worm spreads using SSH, so you'd have to have it installed too to be vulnerable.

You can protect yourself by changing the default root password. Sophos called Apple's default password 'effectively useless' because it's the same word -- 'alpine' -- on all iPhones.

The company's blog about the Ikee worm revealed some amusing comments in the code and a trail that seems to lead to a 21-year-old from Wollongong in New South Wales, Australia, who recently tweeted that he's "kinda... worried about legal implications".

But happily, besides wooing you with Rick's bedroom eyes, the worm doesn't seem to do any damage to your touchscreen baby. Instead, it turns your phone's SSH off, protecting it from more attacks of this type.

The same method was used by a Dutch dude who broke into jailbroken iPhones and changed the wallpaper to display a message warning users that their phone had been violated -- and a link to a post that offered his fix for a €5 fee. But Ikee is the first time the exploit has been turned into a self-perpetuating worm.

Image credit: Sophos