The 21 year old iPhone worm creator from Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia, has previously spoken of the many job offers he’d received after the stunt left many iPhone users literally bricking it.
Today it’s been confirmed that he’s accepted one of those many job offers and will now begin work as an iPhone application developer for Australian firm mogeneration.
The malicious code created by Towns changed the wallpaper of jailbroken iPhone devices it infected to a picture of cheesy ’80s pop star Rick Astley. Although not malicious, a variant of it has circulated and targeted people in the Netherlands who used their iPhones for internet banking with Dutch online bank ING.
Towns describes this as an “experiment” that got out of hand: “I didn’t really think about legal consequences at the time. I honestly never expected it to go this far.”
Graham Cluley, a senior security consultant at Sophos, was the first to point towards Towns as the likely creator of the worm, based on comment lines in the viral code and an internet search, and he described the mobile worm written by Towns as riddled with bugs. Even leaving aside the ethical problems of creating and distributing malware, Towns was a poor mobile application developer.
“The worm was a buggy piece of code that leaked data by copying across the wallpaper from other peoples’ phones during its infection routine,” Cluley continued.
“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.
“It leaves a nasty taste that he has been rewarded like this, yet has not even expressed regret for his actions,” Cluley said in an interview with the BBC.
With many, including Towns, expecting jail time – a job at one of Australia’s leading iPhone developers is clearly a surprise but will likely lead many to think the quickest way up the ladder to create a media storm.