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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 Allegra took some time to respond, Apple apparently got offended and abruptly rescinded the offer.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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