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Google hires an Android community rooting guru

Google hires an Android community rooting guru

Magisk developer Hung-Lin “John” Wu (aka topjohnwu at many venues) has just started working for Google — on the Android Platform Security team, no less. For those without the context to pick up on the irony, that means John Wu is now working for the group inside Google that Magisk and SafetyNet-circumventing Magisk Hide have been playing cat and mouse with for the last several years. However, it sounds like he’ll be able to continue working on Magisk in his free time.

In 2019, John Wu picked up an internship at Apple on Siri’s core platform. Later on, he switched to a full-time job at Apple working on Machine Translation, where he’s been for a little over the last year.

Employment at Apple always came as a bit of a surprise for those familiar with his work, given the depth and breadth of his knowledge when it comes to Android’s security as a result of his work on Magisk. For those that may not be familiar, Magisk is a popular Android root and root management solution created by Wu, which rose to popularity due to a series of changes to Android’s system operations, which Magisk was able to handle more gracefully than other solutions. The project’s associated MagiskHide component was popular among those that still liked to play games or engage in mobile banking on their rooted phones. However, changes to SafetyNet made last year have been an impediment.

Wu says that his new work on the Android Platform Security team will still give him the flexibility to work on other existing projects, and he does not expect things to change for the community when it comes to Magisk. Wu already took a small step back from Magisk early last year when another developer became the “main” maintainer for the Magisk Manager app, though he’s still the lead maintainer for Magisk itself, and it doesn’t sound like Google is forcing him to give that up.

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