Saturday, November 28, 2009

Hiring the bad guy?

They say crime doesn’t pay, but apparently writing malicious software does. Ashley Towns, the 21-year-old Australian who wrote the first iPhone worm called Ikee has managed to land himself a job programming, you guessed it, for the iPhone.

The company that hired him is called mogneration and Ashley announced his new employment via Twitter:

The original Ikee worm did nothing more than change the background of your jailbroken iPhone, but since then more malicious versions have been created when someone else modified it into the Duh worm or Ikee.B.

The issue at hand with Towns being offered a job is that it looks like a reward for the worm he created, setting the wrong example for others to follow.

Read more at BBC News and Graham Cluley’s blog

Matthew’s Opinion The author of this news piece

I can see why some people are taking issue with this. It’s a combination of the fact Towns created malicious software with the fact he has never apologized for the problems he caused people who got infected. Now he has a job and it looks like Ikee was the main reason he got noticed.

As Graham Cluley rightly points out, what about all the other programmers out there who didn’t create a worm for the iPhone? Should they now start doing high-profile software releases to catch the media’s attention and get them noticed by another company? No, they should not. Instead, if they take the white hat approach and help find problems, report them to the relevant companies, and don’t go public, they’d probably have as much success with finding a job and have a lot more respect from their peers too.

Towns may still find himself in hot water; as Sophos’ Paul Ducklin points out he has actually broken the law by accessing people’s iPhones without permission.

The fact that people are taking issue with this is ridiculous. I don't condone creating a worm or a virus or anything else malicious (especially as the owner of a jailbroken iPhone 3G S). However, he showcased his talent. Granted there are tons of talented developers out there and maybe everyone deserves a shot. The point is that you can't give everyone a shot. You can't even know all of who is out there.

So what do you do? You meet people, you look in the paper, you check resumes, you watch the news. You give the shots to the people with whom you cross paths. Fortunately for Ashley, he crossed paths with everyone when he hit the news.

And think about it from Mogneration's standpoint. Free publicity for them. The business of business is business. Think about that. Bottom line - they got a talented developer, he got a job, everyone gets the publicity. Should they hire a no-name who will do less for them financially because it's the right thing to do? Absolutely not, a company should always, and more importantly during an economic downturn, do what it takes to survive. When the government subsidizes private tech businesses (which may not be that far off in the US after recent events) then the company can do the right thing and make less money. Until then, I applaud Mogneration for seizing opportunity.

By the way, this has been done in technology for years. People hiring the enemy be it from an opposing company or someone who wrote malicious code. The gaming industry has hired ex hustlers and cheats to look out for people trying to rip them off. There's another one out there. I can't remember it...oh yeah, the government turns people state's evidence to get information. The best person to have on your team is the person who's been getting the better of you all the while.

So forget the socialist agenda that everyone deserves a fair shake and realize that Ashley Towns did what it took to get noticed. The company did what it took to turn a buck. That's what being in business is about. Making money. If other developers had the chops to stand out from the pack, they would have already.

Grow up America. This pansy, "we are the world" holding hands with candles is why we're in the shape we're in. We used to be cut-throat. We used to take no shit. We used to be competitive. We owe China tons of money. The middle east wants to kick our ass. Japan beats us senseless in academics. We can't stay friends with the Russians. Iran keeps kicking sand in our face. And where is our eye? On giving free healthcare to millions of Americans (many of whom are here illegally) at an expense to the honest tax-paying citizens.

Where's that edge? Gone and if I hadn't taken an oath to support and defend this country... I would be too.

EDIT: For the record, I posted most of this comment on the site that sourced the article and they denied it. The big babies post the story with an editorial opinion by the author and don't have the stones to entertain other opinions. I understand it's geek.com but are you that much of a bunch of sissies that you hide in your cave and refuse to entertain differing viewpoints? Take down your comments section at the very least. Shut Matthew up, preferably and just throw us an ort of news as you see fit. Oh mighty, geek.com, Lord of the Manor, please allow us peasants some drippings from your table. The point is, if you open yourselves up, man up and allow alternate viewpoints and then defend your stance. Putting your head in the sand is not professional and you look like a sissy.

Another EDIT: My comment is now there. Imagine that. Funny how that works. I'm not going to speculate on what caused it. Whether they came to their senses, felt their manhood was hurt or panicked that I was on my way with a sledgehammer. I don't know. But it's there now.

And before anyone comments on the fact that Mogeneration and Ashley Towns are both Australian and I should, in turn, shut the fuck up myself. Remember that I support both of those. It's the simple minded socialists at Geek.com who are ridiculous and, incidentally, from Pennsylvania so my comments about this country, it's current administration and political standing all APPLY.

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