New Malware Affects Jailbroken iPhones

Security firm Intego reports of malware affecting jailbroken iPhones that can obtain personal data

Late last week, an Australian hacker dubbed ikee deployed the Rickrolling worm - a harmless and humorous worm that installs a picture of 80s one hit wonder Rick Astley to affected users' home screens. Rickrolling serves not so much as malware but as a warning to jailbreak users who have installed SSH in order to gain root access to their iPhone's file system from the internet but have neglected to change the default password, even though not doing so is clearly warned against in the installation documentation.

To the few users yet to heed the warning presented by ikee, it might be a good time to go ahead and change that password. Security firm, Intego, has reported the discovery of a much more harmful piece of malware that affects jailbroken iPhones and permeates in the same fashion as the Rickrolling worm.

Once again exploiting the fact that many users who install SSH on their iPhones fail to change the default password, the iPhone/Privacy.A worm quietly copies personal information from an afflicted device and spreads itself to other unsecured iPhones on the same network. Unlike Rickrolling, which announces itself by changing the wallpaper, this worm gives no indication when a device has been infected. Since an unchanged SSH password grants root file system access, iPhone/Privacy.A has the potential to access any file stored on an affected iPhone- including, but not limited to e-mails, text messages, photos, music, videos and calendars.

This news shouldn't be read as a chastisement of jailbreaking but rather a reminder to use common sense. Especially when it comes to installing hackish software, know what you're getting yourself into, and always read the docs.

A Quick Guide To Changing Your Default Password:

1) Install Mobile Terminal

If you haven't done so already, install Mobile Terminal from the Cydia store.

2) Open and Login

Open the Mobile Terminal app. At the prompt, type "su" to login to root. Now type the default password, "alpine".

3) Change the Default Password

Once logged in, type "passwd" (the UNIX command to change the password of the current user). Now type the password you wish to change it to (please, anything but "alpine"). Re-type it when prompted. Don't forget your password!

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags iPhonejailbreakingiphone worm

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Mike Keller

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Brand Post

Shining a light on creativity

MSI has long pushed the boundaries of invention with its ever-evolving range of laptops but it has now pulled off a world first with the new MSI Creative 17.

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?