The hacker Comex is widely known for his popular JailbreakMe jailbreaks. He has been profiled by Forbes, and also won a 2011 Pwnie Award for ‘Best Client Side Bug’. More recently, he tweeted out of his upcoming internship at Apple. Now, Comex has posted a Q&A on Reddit, answering questions from users about his experience with jailbreaking.
Here are a few snippets of questions asked and answers provided by Comex:
Question: After your internship with Apple and after iOS 5 is officially released, will you continue to support the jailbreak community by providing exploits?
Edit: But I’ll want to jailbreak my phone, so I hope someone finds them :p
Q: Why an intern position though? It seems like you could carry a regular position at apple.
How has the core jailbreak dev teams responded to you going to work for apple?
Comex: I don’t know if I’d want to do that- I’ve never had a job before and I don’t know what it’s like- and I intend to go back to college soon.
Mostly with congratulations.
Have you made any money from the jb scene?
Comex: I’ve made a good amount of money through donations, which is mostly being used to help pay for college. JailbreakMe 2.0 was like $40,000; 3.0 was $15,000 (not quite sure why it decreased).
The jailbreak community took a huge hit when you left. Do you think the active players can outsmart you now that you’re playing for the other team, or are you Apple’s final solution to their jailbreak problem?
Comex: There are a lot of smart people working for Apple already; maybe I can help, but I doubt I can stop people from finding exploits.
Have you met Steve Jobs?
Comex: I wish.
Can you give any insight on how apple views the Jailbreak communities mods?
Comex: I have no idea.
As a huge open book for them to
stealtake ideas from.
Comex: I certainly don’t mind. Jailbreak community puts an idea in front of people with a crappy implemenation; Apple polishes it to the point where it can be an OS feature. I don’t know whether Apple actually pays attention to jailbreak apps, but see App Store, copy and paste, multitasking, etc…
Firstly, why did you choose to get involved in specifically the iPhone jailbreaking scene, what was it attracted you to the iPhone? Secondly, did you always set out to be a hacker or was it just something that interested you and found you had a nack for? Finally, in regards to the PDF bug used for the JailbreakMe.com jailbreak, where on earth did you get the brilliant idea for it?
Comex: I had one… and it was a device that (a) had a lot of functionality, (b) had a nice and flexible UNIX OS, (c) already had an active homebrew community, and (d) was really cool. :p
I never wanted to be a black hat hacker, but I did enjoy hacking (originally SQL injection and crap) as a natural extension of programming.
FreeType was one of the less studied open source components of iOS.
Do you have any regrets?
Comex: I should have worked on these jailbreaks more consistently, and released them more quickly; I’ve had several exploits fixed on me that could have been used in a jailbreak if I was quicker at packaging.
What, besides money, made you flip to the other side?
Comex: It’s not about money. A large part of my motivation to jailbreak was always the challenge; the internship will be a new sort of challenge.
Will the current jailbreaks and/or the site disappear?
Comex: No, I’ll hand them over to MuscleNerd or chpwn or whoever will take care of them.
So for those worried about the future of jailbreaks, Comex will be passing on his work to The iPhone Dev Team. I’m surprised he didn’t make more from donations for his jailbreaks, but nonetheless $55,000 is not pocket change either. Good luck at your internship, Comex.
Check out the rest of the questions here.