Ever since the iPhone was released in 2007, Apple has been involved in a game of cat and mouse with iPhone jailbreakers.
“We try to stay ahead,” Steve Jobs once said with respect to iPhone jailbreaking. “People will try to break in, and it’s our job to stop them from breaking in.”
Over the past few years, iPhone jailbreaking has morphed into a full fledged community and an arguably adequate alternative to the walled garden of the iTunes App Store.
Recently, Forbes profiled one of the more famous iPhone jailbreakers, a 19 year old kid and self-described Apple fanboy from New York named Nicholas Allegra. Though you might know him by his alias, Comex.
In August of last year, Allegra burst onto the scene with an easy to use jailbreak tool appropriately called JailBreakMe that enabled people to quickly skirt around Apple’s iOS security measures and install any app they wanted onto their device. The tool also enabled users to implement non-Apple approved customizations while also giving users file access.
The description of the tool reads:
JailbreakMe is the easiest way to free your device. Experience iOS as it could be, fully customizable, themeable, and with every tweak you could possibly imagine.
Safe and completely reversible (just restore in iTunes), jailbreaking gives you control over the device you own. It only takes a minute or two, and as always, it’s completely free.
This past July, Allegra released a browser-based version of JailBreakMe that let users jailbreak their devices simply by using Safari – no superfluous software needed. Following that, Apple issued an iOS update to counteract JailBreakMe 9 days later. And just how many people used Allegra’s tool in that 9 day period? 1.4 million iPhone users.
Now Apple has been criticized for taking a strong stand against the jailbreak community, but the fact remains that it runs a business and wants people to remain within the iTunes ecosystem. And let’s be clear, jailbreaking doesn’t only affect Apple – who let’s face it, is drowning in cash – but also developers who often find pirated versions of their apps running rampant on jailbroken devices.
So in what’s becoming an increasing trend in technology, Apple decided that it might make more sense to stop releasing security patches and instead bring the man responsible for so many jailbroken devices to the mothership.
Yep, Nicholas Allegra now works for Apple as an intern.
In a tweet posted on Thursday evening, Allegra (or Comex if you’re nasty) wrote:
Allegra also intimated that his jailbreaking exploits, while “really really fun”, had been going on for some time and that he was getting a little bored.
And so the hunted becomes the hunter.
This isn’t the first time Apple has extended an employment offer to a prominent jailbreaker. This past June Apple hired Peter Hajas, the brains behind MobileNotifier, a popular iOS notification app that was only available via Cydia for jailbroken phones.
As an aside, and we have no way to know what Hajas is referring to here, but he tweeted the following just a few days ago – “What an absolutely awesome experience.”