It started off innocently enough, with a Rickroll—when the first iPhone worm turned up in Australia two weeks ago, it changed its victim’s wallpaper to a portrait of “Never Gonna Give You Up” signer/Internet sensation Rick Astley. But now iPhone worms have turned malicious.
But by this week, some iPhones were victimized by the “Duh” worm, which steals personal banking info. Like the rickrolling original, the new malicious code targets only jailbroken iPhones—those on which that the owner has circumvented the Apple operating system to hack the phone. It is specifically targeting people in the Netherlands who are using their iPhones for internet banking with Dutch online bank ING. It redirects the bank’s customers to a lookalike site with a log-in screen [BBC News]. An iPhone could spread the worm to others that use the same wi-fi hotspot.
As for Apple’s response to the growing iPhone threats? Don’t hack your phone, genius. Apple spokesperson Natalie Harrison says, “As we’ve said before, the vast majority of customers do not jailbreak their iPhones, and for good reason. These hacks not only violate the warranty, they will also cause the iPhone to become unstable and not work reliably” [The Loop].
Only a small percentage of iPhone users hack the device, so relatively few people are susceptible to this latest attack. Yet some researchers say the worm confirms that attacks against mobile users are evolving, and that cybercriminals are targeting the personal and financial information kept on portable devices. The ability to communicate with a central command-and-control server–a characteristic more commonly associated with hijacked PCs–also makes such software more dangerous [Technology Review].
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Image: flickr / William Hook