Appointment of Apple iPhone Ikee worm creator by application writer mogeneration accused of being a PR stunt

News by Dan Raywood

Ikee worm creator Ashley Towns has been given a job at an Apple iPhone application writing firm.

Ikee worm creator Ashley Towns has been given a job at an Apple iPhone application writing firm.

The 21-year-old Australian has revealed that he is to join ‘mogeneration', who have developed a number of different iPhone apps including Lingopal, Xumii, and the kids game Moo Shake.

Towns shook up the smartphone security world earlier this month when a worm he created as a joke began to spread and changed the wallpaper of jailbroken iPhones to an image of 1980s pop star Rick Astley with the message ‘ikee is never going to give you up'.

Rik Ferguson, senior security advisor at Trend Micro, claimed that Towns was partly responsible for the rise in iPhone malware as Ikee was ‘showing anyone that it was possible to do the same thing', but at the same time iPhone users have seen that disabling security makes them unsecure and Apple have verified this.

With regard to the appointment, Ferguson said: “I am opposed to hackers getting jobs in the security industry as there is a trust issue, but when a hacker gets a job as a software writer it is fine to give them a chance to reform. But I would think that this employment sniffs of a PR stunt, why has he been hired here and nowhere else? Who had heard of this company before? This smells of a PR stunt to me.”

Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos, said: “Don't get me wrong - I don't think virus writers shouldn't be allowed to rehabilitate and do something worthwhile with their lives. But it jars with me that Towns has shown no regret for what he did, and that now 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. There are plenty of young coders out there who would not have acted so stupidly, are just as worthy of an opportunity inside a software development company, and are actually quite likely to be better coders than Towns who made a series of blunders with his code.”

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