Comex – real name Nicholas Allegra – was hired by Apple in September 2011 and announced the move via Twitter. This week, he again turned to the social networking service to announce his demise.
“So … no point in delaying. As of last week, after about a year, I’m no longer associated with Apple,” wrote Comex, who has more than 196,000 followers. He added that the reason is that he failed to respond to an e-mail from the company, and later Tweeted: ”Now I feel like a big damn drama queen.”
He could not be reached for comment.
Comex is widely respected in the iPhone hacker realm for his work with the JailbreakMe applications, which exploited Apple’s software to allow the installation of programs not vetted by the company in its App Store, a modification known as ‘jailbreaking’.
Apple doesn’t like the practice, although it is legal in the US under an exception to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, and widely performed around the world.
In July 2010 Comex and his team delivered JailbreakMe 2.0, which used two vulnerabilities to exploit iOS. Apple patched the problems shortly after JailbreakMe 2.0 was released. In July 2011, Comex released JailbreakMe 3.0, which again used a pair of vulnerabilities to install unauthorised software on iOS versions 4.3.3 and prior. It worked with the first and second versions of the iPad and the iPhone.
iOS hackers are still at work to develop a jailbreak for iOS 6, Apple’s latest version which was released last month. A ‘tethered’ jailbreak exists, but an iOS 6 device must be connected to a computer when the attack occurs.
The more graceful way is to engineer an untethered jailbreak. iPhone hackers said at the Hack in the Box security conference last week that Apple had improved the security of iOS making it more difficult, but not impossible, to eventually perform an untethered jailbreak.