Apple hires jailbreaking iPhone hacker Nicholas Allegra

Filed Under: Apple, iOS, Malware, Mobile, Vulnerability

Nicholas Allegra, better known as 'comex', the creator of the JailBreakMe website which made it child's play for iPhone owners to jailbreak their devices, has been given an internship at Apple.

The 19-year-old from Chappaqua, New York posted the news of his new position on Twitter:

Tweet from Comex

Allegra has given Apple plenty of headaches in the last couple of years, finding security vulnerabilities in Apple's iPhone that allowed anyone to convert their smartphone into a device capable of running unapproved applications.

Normally jailbreaking requires users to connect their device to a computer before they can start to tamper with the set-up of their iPhone or iPad - but JailBreakMe made it significantly easier.

Just visiting the website with Safari would trigger a security vulnerability, allowing code to run which would jailbreak the iPhone or iPad.

JailBreakMe website

Apple don't like folks jailbreaking their iPhones, so it's understandable that they would rather have the man behind the JailBreakMe website working for them rather than exposing their security weaknesses.

After all, whenever Allegra updated his JailBreakMe website to defeat Apple's security he was given a potentially dangerous blueprint to more malicious hackers who may want to plant more dangerous code.

Each time Allegra has found a flaw in Apple's software, the company has been forced to rush out a security patch.

So, what's going to change now Apple has made jailbreaking expert Nicholas Allegra an intern?

Well, I would imagine that they'll be strongly encouraging him to share with them any details of security flaws he finds with their software rather than updating his drive-by jailbreaking website. That way they'll be able to work on patching any vulnerabilities he discovers before they are made public.

I'm sure they'll be particularly keen to prevent Allegra from publishing details on how to jailbreak the next incarnation of iOS, version 5.0, or the much-mooted iPhone 5.

From Apple's point of view it's a case of: If you can't beat 'em, hire 'em.

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7 Responses to Apple hires jailbreaking iPhone hacker Nicholas Allegra

  1. This is interesting, there seems to be a trend. I remember hearing just recently Geohot, another infamous iPhone hacker, was hired by facebook. http://techunwrapped.com/2011/06/25/geohot-now-wo...

  2. NDA · 1154 days ago

    Wonder if the legal conditions of his 'internship' (which I assume means that you're technically an employee but don't get like one) will prohibit him doing any jailbreaking work in the future?

  3. JLG · 1150 days ago

    If the jailbreaking community wants to keep guys like Allegra on the consumer side of the fence, they're going to have to start ponying up some cold, hard cash. Then again, it might be nice to have a pro-jailbreak voice inside the Mother Ship...especially now that the Steve Jobs Reality Distortion Field no longer goes to 11.

  4. Larry Williams · 1056 days ago

    I don't think what he is doing is very cute.one of the reasons I went with apple was to have security protection and peace of mind .He should use his talent for the promotion of benefit to the millions of users who's lives have improved from advanced technology.Is there no where in the electronic legal code that causes this to be a criminal offense?He is 19 , so maybe a little positive influence will point him in the right direction.

    • Mr. Wizard · 1053 days ago

      Any software, by any company, can be hacked and/or reverse engineered. To switch to Apple for "security protection and peace of mind" thinking that their products are less vulnerable to attack or hack be that from a virus or other dangerous code is laughable and ignorant. But hey, at least you 'feel" safe.

  5. Keith · 1055 days ago

    What will the world do, when it's revealed that digital security is not possible long term?

  6. Oh my goodnes.. a hack that would allow the use of unauthorized apps! =-0 He should be locked up for life! Lol..funny. Apple and owners of the product always make me laugh, with apples closed off Ecosystem. So It's super big news when somebody jailbreaks an iPhone and are able to use unauthorized apps they should have been able to use in the first place. That's why I switched to android.

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About the author

Graham Cluley runs his own award-winning computer security blog, and is a veteran of the anti-virus industry having worked for a number of security companies since the early 1990s. Now an independent security analyst, he regularly makes media appearances and gives computer security presentations. Send Graham an email, subscribe to his updates on Facebook, follow him on Twitter and App.net, and circle him on Google Plus for regular updates.