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Meet the world's first iPhone worm, aka "ikee." The pesky worm is annoying, embarrassing and disruptive. It also has a wicked sense of humor.
Reports started spreading this weekend that iPhone users in Australia had been falling victim to "ikee," a worm that replaces default wallpaper with a picture of Rick Astley, the 80's British pop singer whose song "Never Gonna Give You Up" has earned its place in Internet history, thanks to the viralizing of the "Rickrolling" prank craze. The photo is accompanied by the message "ikee is never gonna give you up," which may be the case, as the worm is apparently not easy to remove. According to security firm Sophos, this is the first worm detected that targets the iPhone.
According to Darknet, the vulnerability is pretty specific: the phones must be jailbroken in order to be affected, and it appears to spread by searching an infected phone's contacts to find other jailbroken-phone users who have installed the Unix software SSH (secure shell) but haven't yet changed their passwords from Apple's default root password, "alpine." So far there have been no reports of ikee's spreading beyond Australia.
The phenomenon known as Rickrolling has been rocking its way through the Internet for years. The prank and meme a prank is a bait and switch: a person provides a Web link they claim is relevant to the topic at hand, but the link actually takes the user to the Astley video. By late spring of this year, YouTube’s top Rickrolling videos had been viewed some 30 million times, while a national survey reported that at least 18 million American adults confessed to being Rickrolled. A quick search will reveal that such random entities as the New York Mets, Scientologists, Michelle Obama, the Pittsburgh Pirates and a Fox television anchor have been punked as well. Rick Astley’s old record label is reportedly considering producing a new ‘Greatest Hits’ CD.