Hacker Who Trigged Sony Security Disasters Gets Job at Facebook
George Hotz in an undated photo.
If you can't beat 'em, join 'em.
Uberhacker George Hotz, who "jailbroke" the Apple iPhone and the Sony PlayStation 3, and whose subsequent suing by Sony earlier this year triggered the massive series of attacks upon the company, has gotten a job at Facebook, according to media reports.
Hotz, a superstar in the hacking community, was asked this month to join a challenge in creating exploits for the Apple iPad, but declined. A friend revealed during a video chat last week that Hotz was working for Mark Zuckerberg's social-network empire.
The story was first broken by the blog TechUnwrapped, which took a look at Hotz's own Facebook page. The page has since been taken down, but Hotz reportedly had told his friends that he'd started at Facebook on May 17.
It's not clear what Hotz is working on at Facebook, but some reports speculated he was helping to develop an official Facebook iPad app. (Facebook has never released one.)
Not bad for a 21-year-old from suburban New Jersey until you remember that Zuckerberg, another hacker from a New York-area bedroom community, was nearly two years younger when he started Facebook.
(Disclaimer: Hotz has been an attributed source for SecurityNewsDaily stories.)
Hotz first gained fame in the fall of 2007, when at age 17 he became the first person to "jailbreak" the then-new iPhone, allowing it to run on U.S. carriers other than AT&T Wireless.
What he'd done had once been technically illegal, but a Library of Congress decision a year earlier had established an exception to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), which stated that a mobile-phone owner, not the manufacturer or carrier, should decide how to use the device.
In January 2011, Hotz tried to argue that that DMCA exception also applied to video-game consoles after he posted the "root key" to the PlayStation 3 on his website, allowing any user to take total control of the machine and Sony took him to court.
In March, a judge ruled that Sony's case was valid. The judge also granted Sony permission to subpoena Hotz's PayPal account records, as well as the server records from his website's Internet service provider, in order to determine who might have downloaded the root key.
That sparked the ire of hacktivist army Anonymous, who launched distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks on Sony websites during the first week of April.
The attacks were called off after a few days , partly because they weren't very effective in knocking Sony sites offline, but also because Sony revealed that it and Hotz had reached an out-of-court settlement before the attacks had even begun.
But it turned out that was just the beginning of Sony's woes. On April 20, it shut down its PlayStation Network (which is separate from the Internet) and related services after discovering an intrusion. An estimated 102 million accounts were compromised.
More than a dozen attacks upon Sony followed, with hackers, including the recently disbanded LulzSec , jostling to be next to take down Sony websites or break into Sony servers.
Hotz has denied involvement in, and has criticized, the attacks on Sony.