First iPhone Worm Rickrolling Into An iPhone Near You

Posted by Grey Thursday, November 12, 2009

Remember the internet meme phenomenon, "Rickrolling" back in 2007? It's back. With a vengeance on the jail-broken iPhones.

With the first real-world iPhone cyber-attack rearing its ugly face to only those iPhones which had been "jailbroken", you can imagine the despair on all fellow iPhone jailbreakers out there. Relax, mate, all this worm does is indeed, literally rearing its ugly face. And that face belongs to 1980s pop sensation, Rick Astley.

For those unfamiliar with aforementioned internet meme, there's always wikipedia to turn to.

For those too lazy to dwell in this, a short summary:

Rickrolling is an Internet meme typically involving the music video for the 1987 Rick Astley song "Never Gonna Give You Up". The meme is a bait and switch: a person provides a web link that they claim is relevant to the topic at hand, but the link actually takes the user to the Astley video. The URL can be masked or obfuscated in some manner so that the user cannot determine the true destination of the link without clicking. When a person clicks on the link and is led to the web page, he or she is said to have been "Rickrolled".

Rickrolling has extended beyond Web links to playing the video or song disruptively in other situations, including public places; this culminated when Astley and the song made a surprise appearance in the 2008 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, a televised event with tens of millions of viewers.


So it would seems, that over the weekend, a worm had apparently emerged, infecting Apple iPhone owners in Australia whom had gotten their iPhone "jailbroken". How did they get to know that? By having their iPhone's wallpaper changed to an image of Rick Astley, along with a message: "ikee is never gonna give you up." (one key theme of the "Rickrolling" Web phenom). Accordingly, researchers at cybersecurity firms Sophos and F-Secure have noticed that only "jailbroken" iPhones--altered to run applications not authorized by Apple--are vulnerable, and among those, only those who failed to change their default password for a secure shell (SSH) application that allows file transfers between smart phones.

For more on the worm, check out this article for more details.

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