ShmooCon: Your iPhone's Dirty Little Security Secret

07.02.2010

For those who hate Apple's heavy hand and welcome any method to thumb a nose at the company's decrees, jailbreaking is very attractive. But there's a problem, Hawthorn said. A big one.

"Jailbreaking wipes away 80 percent of the iPhone's security controls," he said. "Since nearly 7 percent of all iPhones are jailbroken," the bad guys have plenty of targets to choose from.

And target they have.

Exhibit A is the iKee worm. According to an , Apple iPhone owners in Australia were infected by a worm that changed their wallpaper to an image of 1980s pop crooner Rick Astley. "The worm, which could have spread to other countries although we have no confirmed reports outside Australia, is capable of breaking into jailbroken iPhones if their owners have not changed the default password after installing SSH," Sophos Senior security Consultant Graham Cluley wrote. "Once in place, the worm appears to attempt to find other iPhones on the mobile phone network that are similarly vulnerable, and installs itself again On each installation, the worm - written by a hacker calling themselves "ikex" - changes the lock background wallpaper to an image of Rick Astley with the message: 'iKee is never going to give you up.'"

This may seem harmless, but Hawthorn noted that such malware is easily adapted to do more insidious damage, like stealing sensitive data.