updated 04:55 pm EDT, Fri April 6, 2007
First iPod 'virus' created
Researchers at a Russian-owned security firm, Kaspersky Lab, claim to have developed the first virus designed to infect an iPod itself rather than a connected computer. Called "Podloso," the virus is actually a proof-of-concept designed to test the vulnerabilities of the player, and as such poses no immediate danger to iPod owners, according to the San Jose Mercury News. Infection requires two deliberate steps: users must first install a copy of the Linux operating system, and then install the virus, which contaminates essential files.
Though iPods are safe for the time being, experts warn that as with other exploits, it may only be a matter of time before a legitimate threat emerges.
"We've seen it happen over and over in the malware world," says Dee Liebenstein, the director of product management at SecureWave.
"Someone will do a test, creating a simple thing that does no real damage. Once hackers see that the approach works, they continue to tweak it and use it for malicious intent."
Moreover, Liebenstein notes that the danger will only increase with devices like the Apple iPhone, which runs a full-fledged operating system and may be correspondingly exposed to further viruses. Analyst Nick Selby of The 451 Group suggests, however, that attacks may be a long time in coming.
"There's often a long way to go from proof of concept to in-the-wild exploit."