Ashley Towns Rickrolls iPhones, Claims First iPhone Virus

Posted Nov 15, 2009

Ashley Towns is the first person to have created an iPhone virus, or so he claims. He does not regret writing it and he made sure to remind people that Rick Astley is here to stay. The iPhone virus is called “ikee” and it changes the wallpaper of iPhones to a picture of 80’s pop singer Rick Astley. A message on top of the wallpaper states “ikee is never going to give you up,” a pun on Astley’s popular song “Never Going To Give You Up.”

Towns, 21, said he created the virus out of boredom and curiosity. ?I had just formatted my iPhone and it told me to set the password in bold, big letters and I wondered how many people have actually done that,” stated Towns in an e-mail to ComputerWorld. ?So I ran a scan on my [Optus] 3G network and there was 26 phones running the service that?s vulnerable, and out of that 26, 25 hadn?t changed their passwords.?

Then he scanned the Optus 3G network and found 26 phones that were vulnerable. Of those 26 phones, 25 of them did not have changed passwords. Many jailbroken iPhones have a Unix utility running called SSH (Secure Shell). SSH runs using the iPhone default password, “alpine.”

Towns stands by his virus because it does not do anything malicious, even though it is a form of vandalism. He initially started by spreading the virus on the Optus network in Australia, but then he started targeting networks on Vodafone and Telstra. Towns even claimed he heard a report about his virus hitting a phone in China too.