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Print 11 comment(s) - last by inperfectdarkn.. on Oct 23 at 11:09 PM

Failure to reply to an email punched veteran iOS hacker's ticket out

While not quite as famous as George Hotz (age 23, handle: "GeoHot"), Nicholas Allegra (age 20, handle: "comex") was a respected member of the iOS "jailbreaking" community.

Thus it came as somewhat of a surprise when last August it was revealed that Apple, Inc. (AAPL) has hired comex as an intern, ending his jailbreaking days.  Typically, Apple does everything it can to punish its hackers-cum-i-product-enthusiasts (e.g. it kicked veteran OS X hacker Charlie Miller out of its developers program).

But Mr. Allegra seemed to be doing well, spending two internships at Apple -- one last fall, and then another last summer.  But he abruptly announced on Twitter this week that he and Apple were parting ways.

He writes:

Comex gets fired

According to a conversation with Forbes, the email in question was an offer to continue his employment remotely over the fall.  When Mr. Allegra took some time to respond, Apple apparently got offended and abruptly rescinded the offer.  He comments, "I wasn’t too happy about it, but it didn’t seem like I was able to fix it.  So that’s what it is."

But according to comex, his relationship with Apple was already deteriorating, so it's possible this was only the last straw.  He would not say what he meant by that.

Comex (wide)
Nicholas Allegra aka "comex" has been kicked out of Apple's intership program.
[Image Source: Forbes]

The talented young security expert says he doesn't plan to work on new jailbreak tools for iOS in the near future.  According to Forbes, the unspoken reason for this is that likely his contract with Apple stipulates a period of restriction in which he cannot work on reverse engineering the company's products.  That contract term may last years.

But comex has plenty to keep him occupied.  He's finishing a degree at Brown University.  And he may not be out of the reverse engineering/jailbreaking scene altogether, despite the possible iOS prohibition -- he released a post hinting that he's eyeing Japanese gaming veteran Nintendo Comp., Ltd.'s (TYO:7974upcoming Wii U for some hacking TLC.  He posts:

Wii U

We're guessing this won't be the last we'll hear from him.

Sources: Twitter, Forbes



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This may have been Apples plan all along.....
By GotThumbs on 10/19/2012 12:18:00 PM , Rating: 3
"the unspoken reason for this is that likely his contract with Apple stipulates a period of restriction in which he cannot work on reverse engineering the company's products."

If you factor how much it cost Apple to hire Comex as an intern and thus avoid the hacking of their products for an extended period.....I think its very easy to see this as Apples plan all along. At least, I wouldn't put it past them.

I wish Comex well in the future.




By theapparition on 10/19/2012 12:50:24 PM , Rating: 2
Seriously? Did you think Apple's plan was that they are now going to seek out and hire all the iOS hackers out there to lock them under NDA and non-compete contracts? There's plenty of more current hackers to go, and 100 willing to fill the void for each one gone.

Or, it could just be that they recognized the guy had some talent, and offered him a internship.

Not everything has to be a conspiracy.


By JasonMick (blog) on 10/19/2012 12:54:14 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Seriously? Did you think Apple's plan was that they are now going to seek out and hire all the iOS hackers out there to lock them under NDA and non-compete contracts? There's plenty of more current hackers to go, and 100 willing to fill the void for each one gone.
Well there's only a handful of ones that are highly skilled like Comex and GeoHot, so even just taking out one or two would give a big gain to Apple.
quote:
Or, it could just be that they recognized the guy had some talent, and offered him a internship.
Entirely possible. Even if the op was right, though, it still is a recognition of his talent in a roundabout way, though, remember....
quote:
Not everything has to be a conspiracy.
"I'm only paranoid because they want me dead." -- Jerry Fletcher ;)


By inperfectdarkness on 10/20/2012 2:39:15 AM , Rating: 2
Yep...that's what I think too. Apple's policy in this manner is only slightly more "humane" than Sony's handling of Linux hackers.

I don't get why these companies hate it so much. Epic Games had the right idea with the "make something unreal" contest. Rather than draconian policies trying to clamp down on everything, what if you encourage innovation and development?

Realistically, hacks are only a problem once an individual or party starts trying to make a profit on them.


By theapparition on 10/22/2012 9:20:33 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Realistically, hacks are only a problem once an individual or party starts trying to make a profit on them.

Not entirely true. While I appreciate where you're coming from, take a look from the other side.

Jailbreaking an iOS device allows you to sideload applications. This bypasses Apple's store, and hence they don't get a chunk of profits on those apps anymore. If those apps are pirated, then the developer doesn't get paid either.

I don't agree with fully locked down devices, but I can understand why it's done.


By inperfectdarkness on 10/23/2012 11:09:40 PM , Rating: 2
That speaks to a flawed business model more than anything else.


"It looks like the iPhone 4 might be their Vista, and I'm okay with that." -- Microsoft COO Kevin Turner














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