In an ironic stroke of genius, Apple has hired Nicholas Allegra, the hacker behind JailbreakMe, a site that makes it really easy for anyone to remove Apple enforced restrictions from their iDevices. Allegra, also known by his Twitter handle @comex, announced he will head out to the Cupertino headquarters for an internship in a tweet late yesterday. "So, the week after next I will be starting an internship with Apple." Not a bad move to scoop up a mastermind who continually outsmarts Apple's securities. But who exactly is this kid?
Allegra was unemployed before Apple picked him up. "The tall, shaggy-haired and bespectacled 19-year-old "lived with his parents in Chappaqua, NY after dropping out of Brown University last winter, "looking for an internship", reported Forbes' Andy Greenberg earlier this month. While he awaited steady employment the dropout kept busy as a notable hacker, explains TechCrunch's Sarah Perez. "Allegra was one of the most visible members of the jailbreaking community, regularly finding security vulnerabilities in Apple’s iOS software, which made it possible to hack iPhones, iPod Touches and even iPads."
After spending so much time playing around with iPhones he ultimately made his name, starting the site JailbreakMe, continues Greenberg. "But in what’s becoming almost an annual summer tradition, the pseudonymous hacker has twice released a piece of code called JailbreakMe that allows millions of users to strip away in seconds the ultra-strict security measures Apple has placed on its iPhones and iPads, devices that account for more than half the company’s $100 billion in revenues." Allegra made jailbreaking as easy as signing onto any web site continues Perez.
And he apparently did it all for the love of Apple, calling himself a "fanboy," he told Greenberg. "I guess it’s just about the challenge, more than anything else." He doesn't charge for the site, though he does accept donations--it's less about money and more like a game explains Gizmodo's Sam Biddle. "It's a game for Allegra--and not one of torment, but one of a sort of mutual respect. Apple stonewalls Allegra, Allegra finds a way through it."
Now Biddle can play mind games all day long and get some resumé building done while he's at it. As TechCrunch's Perez notes, Allegra isn't Apple's first jailbreaker acquisition: they also hired jailbreak app creator Peter Hajas earlier this summer.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.