If Apple can’t beat jailbreakers, it’ll recruit them

For Comex, a 19-year-old iPhone (s aapl) hacker whose real name is Nicholas Allegra, jailbreaking the iPhone comes easy. He’s a member of the iPhone Dev Team, the group responsible for continually frustrating Apple’s attempts to keep iOS a closed system. Apple must be tired of all this frustration, since the company has apparently offered Allegra an internship beginning in September.

Allegra is responsible for JailbreakMe 3.0, a web-based jailbreak tool released in July and designed to be used on iPhones, iPad and iPod touches running iOS 4.3.3. Before that, he created Spirit, which was an untethered jailbreak for iOS devices running iOS 3.1.2 to 3.2, and he was also a Nintendo Wii homebrew software developer.

Allegra has been described by other iPhone hackers and Forbes as somewhat of a prodigy, and he’s been compared to some of the most advanced computer systems security experts in the world.

Apple probably thinks it’s better to have Allegra working with it rather than against it. In theory, his ability to quickly and easily locate exploits in iOS code will give Apple advance notice of problems before they arise, so that it can patch holes before software updates hit the public. In practice, it’s unlikely to stop the cat-and-mouse game of jailbreaking altogether, but kudos to Apple for trying a solution that doesn’t involve civil suits and generally draconian behavior.