George Hotz, well-known iPhone and Sony PS3 hacker, is following in the footsteps of many other celebrated hackers who got hired by technology giants. Hotz, also known as GeoHotz, has joined Facebook and is said to be involved in product development. Hotz's Facebook page says he has been a software engineer at Facebook since May 9.
It seems hackers love to be on the payrolls, really. It has been reported that one in for online hackers in the US are on the government payrolls. There have been cases of some hackers being hired by the tech companies they hacked into. And some are hired by firms to torment competition.
Earlier, Facebook profile hacker Chris Putnam, iOS hacker Peter Hajas, Twitter hacker Michael Mooney, and Ashley Towns, the creator of the first ever iPhone worm, had all made news after they got into the corporate scene, leaving behind the intriguing world of hacking.
It has been reported that the change in Hotz's job profile became a matter of speculation in the hacking community when he allegedly backed off a challenge with Joshua Hill for hacking iPad 2.
The sudden transition of GeoHotz from the treacherous world of hacking to a regular job with one of the best-known Internet companies of the day has come across as a surprise. It was only in April that he settled an acrimonious battle with Sony, following his multiple hacks of the PlayStation 3.
George Hotz had shot into fame as a teen hacking sensation when he cracked iPhone. He then unleashed his wizardry by breaking open the Sony PlayStation 3, and then forced Sony to move court to obtain restraining orders preventing him from releasing the latest jailbreak on PS3.
Hotz' first 15 minutes of fame came at the age of 17 when he cracked open the iPhone, a device which caught the imagination of the world. He immediately became a pin-up boy attracting rock star fan following.
When he unlocked the iPhone bootloader in August 2008, Apple's storied device could be used on any network, not just AT&T, its exclusive seller. Hotz' achievement was basically a hardware coup; his modus operandi just involved some soldering and hardware modification.
CertiCell, a cell phone modification company, hired him besides giving away a swanky Nissan 350Z sports car and 3 iPhones as the price of his unlocked iPhone.
After hacking the iPhone, he unleashed a jailbreak named Blackra1n for all iPhones and iPod Touches. Hotz set up a website for limera1n, his jailbreak software, in March 2010. He announced on July 2010 that he was able to jailbreak an iPhone 4 running iOS 4.0 but in the same month he said he was retiring from the business of hacking 'iDevices'. He said his hacking escapades were rather meant to be distractions and they were not being seen any longer as just fun.
Hotz said in late 2009 that he was targeting PS3. He said in January 2010 he was able to hack the machine and gain read and write access and released the jailbreak for the public.
He released his jailbreak to public in January 2010, enabling any one to hack into the system using the OtherOS function in the system. This forced Sony to withdraw the OtherOS function from the machine which was required for running the hacked code. Sony did this by releasing a PlayStation 3 firmware update which removes the OtherOS function. Sony has since then fortified PS3 with the addition of advanced custom firmware.
Hotz said in July 2010 that he was abandoning his further attempts to hack the PS3, but resurfaced early this year showing demonstrations of running homebrew applications on PS3 firmware 3.55, raising alarm at Sony.
In April, Sony and GeoHotz reached a settlement in their months-long legal battle. The settlement enjoined Hotz from reverse engineering any Sony product, or using any tools, hardware or software to get around the authentication systems. Nor was he allowed to distribute any information, tools or software that would allow anyone else to do the same thing. If he violates the order then he will be fined $10,000 for each violation.
George Francis Hotz was born on October 2, 1989 and grew up in Glen Rock, New Jersey, where he attended the Bergen County Academies. The curly-haired child prodigy has said he wanted to get into neuroscience, and go 'hacking the brain'.