Meet Pod2g, The Luckiest Jailbreak Hacker In The World [JailbreakCon]

Meet Pod2g, The Luckiest Jailbreak Hacker In The World [JailbreakCon]

SAN FRANCISCO, JailbreakCon 2012 — To the world, he’s known only by his online pseudonym, “pod2g.” On Twitter, he has amassed over 340,000 followers. As one of the most respect iOS security researchers today, he frequently fields job interview requests from the biggest technology companies in the world. To the millions who jailbreak, he’s a living legend.

At JailbreakCon, pod2g gave a fascinating talk on his past experiences as a hacker and mastermind jailbreaker. He’s been immortalized by jailbreakers and the security research community, but in his own words he’s just a “lucky guy.”

Pod2g, who’s real name is Cyril, has been heavily involved in exploiting iOS security vulnerabilities since 2009. The 32-year-old Frenchman claims that his parents gave him no last name—a clever excuse for a infamous hacker who’s having to constantly guard his private life.

As with any hacker of his status, it’s fascinating to hear how Cyril got started. He started coding when he was only 5 years old. His father gave him a ZX 8 I computer to experiment with, and he started copying BASIC programs from books before he could even read fully. He got an ATARI ST a few years later and did some GFA BASIC, 68k assembly and demo making. It wasn’t until college that he learned Objective C and C++, the programming languages used by Apple.

“A prodigy was born”

After graduating, Cyril worked as a J2EE (Java) expert developer and then project manager for over 11 years. His first ‘hack’ was actually the beloved Linksys WRT54G router. He wanted to improve the performance of the router by making it faster, so he hacked SD driver by writing his own MIPS assembly code. His first experiencing with mobile device hacking was actually Windows Mobile 6.1. He described “cooking a new ROM” (or Read-only memory) for the platform. This allowed him to change the firmware.

Meet Pod2g, The Luckiest Jailbreak Hacker In The World [JailbreakCon]

Jailbreaking is no easy feat.

Where did the name “pod2g” originate from? Cyril got into jailbreaking around the time Apple introduced the iPod touch 2G. The device had not yet been jailbroken, and another hacker named “chronic” was working on cracking it. Like many hackers who enter the iOS scene, Cyril saw it as a fun challenge. He helped create and release the jailbreak, and a prodigy was born.

After jailbreaking the iPod touch 2G, Cyril joined the Chronic Dev Team, a group of hackers who jailbreak iOS devices. After working on iOS 4 jailbreaks, he helped create the infamous Greenpois0n tool and the Corona untethered jailbreak for iOS 5.0.1. His most recent work includes Absinthe 2.0, a jailbreak tool for iOS 5.1.1 that was downloaded by millions in only a few days.

“The hackers who are actively working on the iOS 6 jailbreak can be counted on two hands”

Meet Pod2g, The Luckiest Jailbreak Hacker In The World [JailbreakCon]

From left to right: @p0sixninja, @pod2g, and @planetbeing are all instrumental members of the Chronic Dev Team

Cyril may be brilliant, but he and his colleagues need help. “My wish is that some newcomers would help us,” said Cryil, referring to the elite group of Chronic Dev hackers who work on jailbreaks. During his talk at JailbreakCon, Cyril reiterated that there was no jailbreak for iOS 6 or the iPhone 5. Cyril and his hacker friends need time to comb through Apple’s new OS looking for vulnerabilities, which will hopefully lead to usable exploits. If there were more hackers to help, the process would undoubtedly be quicker. As it stands now, don’t expect a public iOS 6 jailbreak for months.

The hackers who are actively working on the iOS 6 jailbreak can be counted on two hands. The task is great, but the workers are few. The problem is that creating jailbreakers is far from child’s play. It requires “extensive” iOS security research and hacking experience, according to Cyril. The kind of talent required for iOS hacking can usually make more money selling their exploits or consulting for corporations. Finding someone smart enough with the level of determination required is like searching for a needle in a proverbial haystack.

And what happens when Apple itself comes knocking, like the case of comex and JailbreakMe?  When I asked Cyril if he would ever consider accepting a job offer from Apple, he seemed open to the possibility. Hackers like Cyril often spend countless days on jailbreaks and then release them for free. People forget that these guys want to build their resumes and support their families like everyone else.

What struck me about Cyril was his quiet, humble, unassuming personality. He’s a normal guy with incredible knowledge. He never tried to take complete credit for his success. “I’m lucky,” he would repeatedly say with total sincerity. Lucky indeed, Cyril. Lucky indeed.

  • JoseM10301

    WoW! You guys are full of it. First Chronic Dev has never released a single jailbreak exploit, they wait for others to find exploits then they put them together in “user friendly” packages for others to use.

    POD2G is too arrogant, he was also called out not too long ago by Musclenerd for being full of shit and showing off a Jailbroken phone right after going up on stage and saying it didn’t exist. Honestly there really hasn’t been a good exploit since the days of George Hotz or Comex. Hotz while also extremely arrogant is in my opinion a very good exploiter.

    Comex is the one person aside from maybe 2-3 others who have my full respect and I will always look up to. Never arrogant, never showing off, always extremely humble. To me he’ll always be one of the best people to have ever played the Jailbreak game, same can be said about people like Musclenerd which while may not be the first to release any news he will never feed you any BS and I respect that.

    This article is a joke.

    Musclenerd (on twitter):
    @pod2g @joshmtucker I don’t get it…why the misinformation?

    Pod2G’s Reply:
    @MuscleNerd @joshmtucker well, I’m just getting bored by all that iOS 6 jailbreak requests.

    Musclenerd’s reply:
    @Tkf530 @pod2g @joshmtucker yes it is fake (though most people won’t know that)

    TheHairyNari’s Reply:
    @MuscleNerd @tkf530 @pod2g @joshmtucker thanks for the free false hope. Do it when you want that’s fine, just dont play with us. Not cool

    Musclenerd’s reply:
    @TheHairyNari @Tkf530 @pod2g @joshmtucker I agree

    That just shows how humble and not mis-leading he really is. He was just being a douchebag, in fact that was after he went up on stage and told everyone said JB doesn’t exist.

  • Paul Lloyd Johnson

    Is there a jailbreak free version of cult of mac?

  • z0mki

    Most definitely the cutest Jailbreak Hacker for sure.

  • JailbreakMatrix

    Jose it’s very apparent that you are a very Serious and BORING person.

    Some people like to have fun you know ?

    These developers don’t get paid to work, and the readers and followers don’t pay for shit, yet they bitch as if they bought the software.

    When a group of fun, young people get together, hackers / devs or not, they have fun, and sometime make jokes, WOOOOO thats so bad…

    Maybe if readers wouldn’t ask 10,000 about the jailbreak it wouldn’t have happened. But they do, so take it easy it was a joke, get your panties out of a bunch.

    WoW! You guys are full of it. First Chronic Dev has never released a single jailbreak exploit, they wait for others to find exploits then they put them together in “user friendly” packages for others to use.

    POD2G is too arrogant, he was also called out not too long ago by Musclenerd for being full of shit and showing off a Jailbroken phone right after going up on stage and saying it didn’t exist. Honestly there really hasn’t been a good exploit since the days of George Hotz or Comex. Hotz while also extremely arrogant is in my opinion a very good exploiter.

    Comex is the one person aside from maybe 2-3 others who have my full respect and I will always look up to. Never arrogant, never showing off, always extremely humble. To me he’ll always be one of the best people to have ever played the Jailbreak game, same can be said about people like Musclenerd which while may not be the first to release any news he will never feed you any BS and I respect that.

    This article is a joke.

    Musclenerd (on twitter):
    @pod2g @joshmtucker I don’t get it…why the misinformation?

    Pod2G’s Reply:
    @MuscleNerd @joshmtucker well, I’m just getting bored by all that iOS 6 jailbreak requests.

    Musclenerd’s reply:
    @Tkf530 @pod2g @joshmtucker yes it is fake (though most people won’t know that)

    TheHairyNari’s Reply:
    @MuscleNerd @tkf530 @pod2g @joshmtucker thanks for the free false hope. Do it when you want that’s fine, just dont play with us. Not cool

    Musclenerd’s reply:
    @TheHairyNari @Tkf530 @pod2g @joshmtucker I agree

    That just shows how humble and not mis-leading he really is. He was just being a douchebag, in fact that was after he went up on stage and told everyone said JB doesn’t exist.

  • pod2gfan

    I bought iphone coz of pod2g.

About the author

Alex HeathAlex Heath is a staff writer at Cult of Mac and co-host of the CultCast. He has been quoted by the likes of the BBC, KRON 4 News, and books like "ICONIC: A Photographic Tribute to Apple Innovation." If you want to pitch a story, share a tip, or just get in touch, additional contact information is available on his personal site. Twitter always works too.

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