Ikee worm author gets developer job

By Phil Muncaster on Nov 27, 2009 8:16 AM
Filed under Security

Security experts brand hire a 'stunt'.

The author of the first iPhone worm has been given a job with Australian iPhone app developer Mogeneration, much to the disgust of security experts.

Ashley Towns, who is 21, wrote on his Twitter feed earlier today that he had got the job at the firm, which markets itself as Australia's "leading iPhone development company".

The so-called Ikee worm surfaced two weeks ago, targeting jail-broken iPhones. The worm was not malicious in intent, but it is widely believed to have provided the template for the more sinister Duh worm, which appeared over the weekend and is designed to steal online banking credentials.

Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos, argued that the hiring of a known hacker is sending out the wrong signal.

"Don't get me wrong. I don't think virus writers shouldn't be allowed to rehabilitate and do something worthwhile with their lives," he wrote in a blog post.

"But it jars with me that Towns has shown no regret for what he did, and that his utterly irresponsible behaviour appears to have been rewarded. Will Towns be offering a token $5 compensation to all those he infected for the inconvenience he caused? I doubt it."

Towns told iTnews in early November that he regretted the spread of the worm.

Rik Ferguson, senior security advisor at Trend Micro, was similarly sceptical about the young hacker's appointment.

"This feels like a PR stunt by the employer," he said. "I don't see any compelling reason 'why him' and can definitely see a few 'why not'."

Towns's case has echoes of Twitter hacker Michael 'Mikeyy' Mooney, who was offered a job at applications developer exqSoft Solutions LLC in April after admitting attacking the micro-blogging site several times and causing widespread disruption.

 
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