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The Smart Techie was renamed Siliconindia India Edition starting Feb 2012 to continue the nearly two decade track record of excellence of our US edition.

December - 2009 - issue > Tech Tracker

Pricey iPhone to Extract More Pennies - Thanks to Bugs and Worms

Eureka Bharali
Monday, November 30, 2009
Eureka Bharali
‘An iPhone foray, keeps the bugs astray’, a thought that may have flashed in the minds of many iPhone owners who shelled out Rs. 31,000 to possess the ‘Smartphone King’. The ‘unhackable’ tag that it carried was a reassurance to the users. However, it’s the bugs in the Apple’s ‘Safari’, the default browser in iPhone, which might cause the shedding of loads of extra pennies. And if the phone escapes from the Safari bug, it can become the hacker’s easy prey.

If you are one of those overtly rich iPhone users and have a fetish to stream Motion-JPEG files from the Web, then you may fall prey to the Safari bug. The Motion-JPEG files continue to stream in Safari, making the browser gobble up bandwidth even after it is closed. Within one hour 740 megabytes of data is silently streamed which can amount to $3,000 of additional fee. People that have unlimited data plans will not be affected, but many unlimited plans also have a fair use policy.

Now, all may swiftly shift to unlimited data plans but that may not hold the hackers from prying the smartphone. A jailbroken iPhone to get hold of the apps beyond the Apple’s app store, with the default password ‘alpine’ unchanged, makes it vulnerable. And guess who is spreading the awareness on it? A hacker, by releasing the world’s first iPhone worm. The malware displays the wallpaper of 1980s singer Rick Astley with the message ‘Ikee is never going to give you up’. Once installed, the worm copies itself to other vulnerable iPhones in the network using the default password. Ikee did not have an intention to harm; but his awareness stint, however, proved useful for the scores of cyber crooks and within a week a second worm has begun affecting the jailbroken phones, turning them into zombies. The unending number of flaws detected in the phone forced Apple’s CEO Steve Jobs to personally assure the users of the end to all the bugs in its next software update. Waiting for Jobs’ assurance to turn into reality may take time, rather to prevent such worms from attacking your pricey phone change the default root and account password.
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