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iPhone worm did users a favour, says online poll

Warwick Ashford

Most people believe the author of the first worm targeting Apple's iPhone did users a favour by raising awareness of the device's security flaws, a survey has revealed.

In a survey conducted by security firm Sophos, 76% of respondents said the Ikee worm was an acceptable way to raise awareness of poor security.

The Ikee worm can infect only iPhones that have been modified or "jailbroken" to run unauthorised software. It does nothing more malicious than replace the wallpaper with an image of 1980s popster, Rick Astley. It then seeks out other vulnerable iPhones to infect.

Only 15% said worm author Ashley Towns has broken the law and should be investigated by the police and fewer still (10%) felt he acted recklessly.

The poll result is "shocking" according to Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos.

"It's a depressing notion that most people think doing harm and breaking computer crime laws is a good thing," he said in a blog posting.

Every victim of the iPhone worm will have to take steps to return the phone to normal, said Graham Cluley.

In an earlier blog, he warned that there is a danger the Ikee code could be modified to steal personal information.

"A more malicious hacker could take the code written by Ikee and adapt it to have a more sinister payload," he said.


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