Hackers nearly always get bad press, we all know that, but now and again we hear stories where hackers have gone on to land prime jobs in security.
I mean it makes sense doesn’t it, if you can find a way to hack into something that’s meant to be secure, chances are you’re going to be pretty good at making something secure.
Well now Ashley Towns, the young unemployed 21 year old who wrote the Ikee worm for the Apple iPhone, has managed to worm his way into a job. Guess what as?
Not surprisingly he’s been hired as an iPhone developer, he’ll basically be writing software applications for the iPhone for Australian firm Mogeneration.
“We interviewed Ashley, assessed him with our iPhone developer test – which he passed with flying colours – and we employed him today,” said a spokesperson for Mogeneration.
The youngster found instant fame and was plastered all over the news recently after he wrote a self propagating programme that turned iPhone users’ wallpaper into a picture of Rick Astley, the 80’s pop singer.
Ok so it wasn’t a particularly malicious hack, nothing like some other worms that are on the loose, and I think even he was surprised at the scale of the public interest, still, it invaded people’s phones and paved the way for more serious attacks.
After the Ikee worm was out, a second worm was found which was “based” on Town’s code according to Graham Cluley of Security firm Sophos.
This worm was far more malicious in that it had a “clear financial motive” and was targeting online banking customers in the Netherlands.
Users who tried to access Dutch online bank ING would be redirected to another log in screen which looked just like the real one. Makes you shudder doesn’t it. The worm could also be used to control a user’s phone remotely without their permission.
Towns said he wrote and released the Ikee hack to highlight the security issue in Jail broken phones where users have modified the phone settings to allow them to use any software, he hasn’t faced any criminal charges.
Not everyone is happy that Towns is somehow benefiting from his antics though.
“It leaves a nasty taste that he has been rewarded like this, yet has not even expressed regret for his actions,” Graham Cluley of Security firm Sophos told BBC News.