Apple captures jailbreaker Comex, Borgs him into an intern

Three-time cracker of iOS, maker of JailbreakMe app, will start work soon at Apple

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New Apple CEO Tim Cook is already going around telling people none of the good things about Apple will change after the departure of CEO/Visionary/Cult Leader Steve Jobs.

Reuters went so far as to theorize he'll stay, effectively, the COO, since Jobs will stay around as executive chairman – a gig that won't put him in day-to-day charge of the company, but won't give Cook much of a chance to do the job on his own, either.

Some things may already have changed at the famously secretive and vindictive Apple, though.

Rather than harassing, prosecuting and siccing storm troopers on Comex – the hacker who figured out how to jailbreak his own iOS devices, then launched a site to make it simple for everyone else, too, Apple just took the outlaw on as an intern, according to a story in Slashgear and Comex' own admission on Twitter.

The hacker is 19-year-old Nicholas Allegra, a Brown University student from Chappaqua, NY who has written and distributed three sequential versions of JailbreakMe – an app that cracks Apple's security on the iPhone, iPad and iTouch to let users install any software they want, rather than only apps Apple has approved through iTunes.

Apple isn't thrilled. After the latest version of JailbreakMe came out, Apple took only nine days to patch the hole in iOS the app exploited.

Almost two million people have downloaded and used it anyway.

JailbreakMe is more than just a cool hack, it's a huge hurdle for anyone to clear once, let alone three times, according to Forbes' quote from Charlie Miller, the former NSA network exploitation analyst who was the first to crack an iPhone in 2007.

Apple's OS code uses code-signing locks to prevent any software not carrying a certification that it was written by the company from running on Apple machines. Cracking it means not only getting into the code, but discovering the commands that created the lockdown and using them to eliminate it.

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