The Apple world knows him as Comex, the person who developed JailbreakMe to let iPhone users quickly and easily jailbreak their devices. Now Forbes has outed Comex in a preview of an article that will be published in the magazine later this week.
Comex is really Nicholas Allegra, a 19 year old student on leave from Brown University who lives with his parents in Chappaqua, NY -- not too far away from IBM's facilities in Armonk. Allegra is looking for an internship, and hopefully now that the world knows who he is, he'll be able to get a job with Apple or another electronics or Internet firm.
Forbes writer Andy Greenberg cites security expert Dino Dai Zovi as comparing jailbreaking to "writing a ransom note out of magazine clippings," then goes on to say that last year's JailbreakMe 2 was more akin to "requiring an attacker to assemble a note out of a random magazine he's never read before, in the dark."
Dai Zovi, co-author of the Mac Hacker's Handbook, notes that the level of sophistication in JailbreakMe is on a par with Stuxnet, the state-sponsored worm designed to attack Iran's nuclear facilities. He says that Allegra is probably "five years ahead" of the hackers who create persistent attacks on government and industrial targets.
For all of his hacking skills, Allegra refers to himself as simply an "Apple fanboy" who likes the challenges of finding -- and exploiting -- security issues in iOS. Let's hope that Apple offers him a full-time job soon.