iPhone worm author lands job as application developer

Just recently, an Australian by the name of Ashley Towns released an iPhone worm into the wild, which essentially Rick-rolled the user if their phone met certainly vulnerability criteria. Now, however, Towns has managed to get a job with a development firm, escaping any legal punishment he should receive.

The worm, named the Ikee worm, wasn't malicious in intent, but that's not to say it didn't come without any dangerous repercussions. As posted by Graham Cluley on a Sophos blog, the worm contained a few bugs, and also built the path for a more dangerous worm, dubbed the 'Duh' worm. The Duh worm didn't Rick-roll people, but rather attempted to turn affected iPhones into a botnet, and steal personal data. This is why many people are shaking their heads over the decision to hire Towns as a developer, at least without giving him some sort of punishment.

The firm that hired him is mogeneration, which currently has a number of commercially available iPhone apps. Interestingly, the company made a post on the worm recently also, somewhat defending Towns and reassuring users that they would be fine.

Cluley on the Sophos blog makes a good point, stating, "There are plenty of young coders out there who would not have acted so stupidly, are just as worthy of an opportunity inside a software development company, and are actually quite likely to be better coders than Towns who made a series of blunders with his code." At the very least, it hopefully means Towns will be keeping on the straight and narrow from here on in.

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27 Comments

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Maybe they are not really offering him a job. Perhaps it is part of an elaborate set up.
When he turns up for work, on his first day, he finds Rick Astley sitting in his chair.

well if he didnt cause any damage/harm then i would give him a warning and keep an eye on him for awhile to make sure he does not abuse this oppertunity that he got, he should count himself lucky as i thought the name was of a female not a male. also if it werent for these companies/individuals who find these vulnerabilities in software then we would all be exploited and hacked fast and some do it for free so chill out as if i knew how to find them i would probably do it for free.

As a owner of websites and a server having to deal with hackers and hacking attempts, people who pass this illegal behaviour of as nothing don't really have any idea of the stress, damage and hurt such actions can produce, hacking someones website, building a worm for either a phone or a computer should carry the same penalty as breaking/trashing someones house or car, and multiple instances should match aswell, 200 computer same as if you'd broken into 200 house.

Only by being strict can these criminals be tackled.

I'm sorry, but what the hell did this kid do wrong?? What he created did NOT have malicious intent. He created it to show that it was possible to do this to an iPhone... essentially a "white-hat" hacker. Many people/companies do this as a way of getting people/companies to realize their software/devices are vulnerable and hopefully doing so gets the issue fixed.

You jailbroke your iPhone and now you are whining because a vulnerability has been discovered and it caused you an inconvenience? Pfft. That's your problem. If you were smart, you'd have bought a real phone.

Why don't you go after all those security researchers that deliberately hack things to show vulnerabilities as well...

xSuRgEx said,
so the author of the Blaster worm did nothing wrong then? .

Yes, they did. The Blaster worm was malicious. I don't see how getting rickrolled is malicious. It wasn't the smartest thing to do, but it was not done with the intention of causing harm.

Jailbroken iPhones in Australia will be 1st generation.
I don't believe you need to jailbreak a 3G or 3Gs in Australia because every network has them.

Who care's....Id rather my tax dollars be spent chasing real crim's. Or booking more idiots on the roads.
Googd luck to him, It's not his fault apple make un-secure products

Maybe all the people who "jailbreaked" their iphones don't want to highlight the fact, and who they are, to the authorities.

"mogeneration estimate the number of jailbroken Australian iPhones to be 2-3%"

YAY \o/

I estimate the figure to be 99% .. or 66% .. or 7% ..or .....

I hate unqualified comments like that, it's utter rubbish. As for employing the dickwad - no, it doesn't mean he's absolved from wrong doing by law and shame on you, mogeneration, for encouraging anti social behaviour.


Z.

It is not as if he caused any real damage so might as well be better that he be useful from now on instead of going to jail and whatnot.

Yea well we don't go round suing everyone just for tiny mishaps and blunders then go and blame others. We are forgiving and recognise others talents and use them. Would I be correct in assuming your from the States?

DonC said,
This beggars belief. Are the Australians really going to just let him walk away without repercussions?

He wrote a harmless worm which effected illegally cracked iPhones which happened to have a few bugs and you want him to be prosecuted? Give me a break... if you are going to be an idiot and jailbreak your phone have the common sense to make sure you understand the security risks. If I understand correctly it took advantage of the default jailbroke password...

-10 points for stupidity if you were infected by the worm.

ClickFu said,
He wrote a harmless worm which effected illegally cracked iPhones


it's called jailbreaking, and it's not illegal.

-10 points for stupidity not knowing what you are talking about

green_link said,
it's called jailbreaking, and it's not illegal.

-10 points for stupidity not knowing what you are talking about

which side of the planet were you born on? it is illegal!..