11 year old kid writes first iPhone Trojan

Posted: January 10, 2008 in Tech

Reports started appearing regarding the existence of malicious packages for the Apple iPhone. A package called “iPhone firmware 1.1.3 prep”, which was described as “An important system update. Install this before updating to the new 1.1.3 firmware.” was reportedly causing problems for iPhone users once uninstalled.

According to various reports, installing the package doesn’t have much effect on the iPhone. However, uninstalling it may cause problems, as the malicious package overwrites some other applications during the install. Some of the applications it overwrites are “Erica’s Utilities” (a collection of command-line utilities for the iPhone) and OpenSSH. If the user chooses to uninstall the bogus package, these applications will also be removed. Affected users will need to reinstall these applications.

This is technically the first Trojan horse seen for the iPhone, however it does appear to be more of a prank than an actual threat. The impact of uninstalling the “Trojan” would appear to be an unintended side effect. The risk to users is minimal as they would have to choose to install the bogus package and the site which was hosting it has now been taken offline. Nevertheless, iPhone users should exercise caution regarding the packages they choose to install on their phones.

F-Secure reported that it was an 11-year-old kid playing with XML files who created the Trojan. “Next time it might be someone else with more skills and with specific target,” they said.

Web sites hosting the malicious package were taken offline soon after the discovery of the low-risk threat.

Hopefully this serves as a warning for those who have opened their iPhones using a security hole in the system and then installing unverified software without a second thought to what they are doing.

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