Published in Mobiles

Rick Astley iPhone virus writer surprised by kerfuffle

by on13 November 2009


Death threats, but he will never give you up

The bloke
who released the first iPhone virus from his home in Wollongong did not think he would get death threats, media interviews or job offers. Ashley Towns, 21, said that he got all three in one day after an audacious viral security “experiment” got out of hand.

"I was reading a blog that said in bold letters to change your passwords and I wondered how many had. The problem was that most of the people on his network had not," said Towns.

He wrote the hack software when he was half asleep without thinking of the legal consequences. He didn't think it would spread to more than 10 or 15 people. But since his name was linked to the virus, Towns says things have been “crazy” and someone even figured out my mobile number and published it online.

Towns's new-found notoriety has already netted him a job interview with an iPhone application developer who learnt of his escapade through the media. But while the coppers have not arrested him he has received plenty of abuse, a number of threats from unknown persons and been vilified in a spoof online encyclopaedia entry.

While there are plenty of instructions for removing the virus online, many iPhone users are now waiting to see if it affected their data download limits, which could result in extra billing charges. An online poll run by Sophos in response to the incident, it emerged that that 75 per cent of the 721 respondents believed Towns had done “iPhone users a favour” by showing them how vulnerable they were.
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