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The Jailbreak community will see one of its most renowned members take off in a couple of weeks, as Comex, the guy behind JailBreakMe and Spirit joins Apple as an intern. The 19-year-old developer, whose real name is Nicholas Allegra, announced the news yesterday afternoon on his Twitter account.
Allegra has been described by other iPhone hackers and Forbes as somewhat of a prodigy. He gained notoriety last year when, as a member of the iPhone Dev Team, he released the web-based JailbreakMe exploit for the iPhone and iPod touch. This was widely regarded as the easiest way to jailbreak iOS devices as it didn't even require a computer to work. The latest incarnation that exploit, version 3.0, was the first to support the iPad 2.
JailBreakMe 3.0 exploited an error in the PDF display code in specific versions of iOS, gaining root access and installing alternative app store Cydia. This security hole could be exploited by others to run malicious code on iOS, but ironically, until Apple fixed these exploits, the only way users could protect themselves was to install a patch from Cydia.
Now Apple has apparently realized it's better to have Allegra working with it finding holes to fix in iOS code rather than against it exploiting them. Although this could be seen as a blow to Jailbreakers, they'll still have other sources such as redsn0w to fall back on, so the cat-and-mouse game of jailbreaking isn't likely to stop.
Comex isn't the first jailbreaker to join Apple. Earlier this year Peter Hajas, the developer of MobileNotifier, also joined the company. Likewise, CyanogenMod creator Steve Kondik recently hooked up with Samsung to work on its Android software layer, while Microsoft has also warmed up to the homebrew community by courting notorious hacker Geohot with a free Windows Phone and hiring the ChevronWP7 crew responsible for the first WP7 jailbreak.