Was the release of an iPhone worm justified?


Three quarters of internet users believe that the release of an iPhone worm did users a favour, and was an acceptable way to raise security awareness.

So claims the results of a poll by security vendor Sophos. One in 10 respondents believe the creator of the Rick Astley wallpaper-spreading ikee worm created it recklessly', while only 15 per cent thought that the police should have investigated him.

The iPhone worm was spread by an Australian student, which only affected jailbroken phones.

Graham Cluley, security consultant at Sophos, said that the IT community was "unforgiving". Many believed if an iPhone user got into that situation by jailbreaking their phone, they deserved whatever they got.

"I believe that having that opinion across email and the net is a lot easier than it is face to face," Cluley said.

"Just because people wanted to run non-Apple approved applications and made an error surely it doesn't make it right to release these worms."

Releasing a worm onto a system just to prove it is lax, sets a dangerous precedent that it such behaviour is acceptable, according to Cluley.

"The responsible thing to do was to raise awareness of these things. He could have gone to a journalist and said that he's tried this with his iPhone," he said.

"Letting a worm loose is like opening Pandora's box. You never close it and it will try and spread to infect other iPhones. It's going to gobble up people's bandwidth, cost them money, and it's a menace to all of us."