After building the semi-famous website that allowed iPhone users jailbreak their devices by simply clicking a link, 19-year old hacker Nicholas Allegra, aka “comex,” now has a job at Apple. A longtime member of the jailbreak community, Allegra announced late Thursday via Twitter that he accepted an internship with the iPhone maker.
Allegra made use of a flaw in iOS’s handling of PDF files in order to create jailbreakme.com. The website made the process of jailbreaking an iPhone—necessary to install unofficial apps and hacks—as easy as visiting a webpage. Apple quickly patched the flaw about a week later, but Allegra used other flaws in later iterations of the site. The third version of the site used a similar PDF-handling flaw that could jailbreak the latest devices, including the iPad 2. Ironically, the jailbreak community also offered a patch for the flaw before Apple released its own nine days later.
Allegra, uncovered as a Brown University student by Forbes earlier this month, has been involved in the iPhone-hacking scene for some time. Last year he helped George “geohot” Hotz build a jailbreak tool called limera1n. He also co-developed a workaround for jailbroken iPhones that refused to load DRM-protected iBooks.
Forbes suggested that Allegra’s iOS hacking skills were so good that Apple should offer the student an internship, and now that the company has done just that.
“It’s been really, really fun, but it’s also been a while and I’ve been getting bored,” Allegra wrote on Twitter. “So, the week after next I will be starting an internship with Apple.”
This isn’t the first time Apple has dipped into the jailbreak scene to hire an intern. MacRumors noted that Peter Hajas, developer of the jailbreak app MobileNotifier, was hired by Apple this past summer as an intern. While Apple likely considers jailbreak hackers somewhat of a nuisance, the steady stream of exploits they discover certainly keeps Apple’s security team on its toes. iOS hacking looks as though it may be a straight path to a job with the company.