By Joseph Walker, Fins 5.1.12
Meet George Hotz, the 20-something hacker who turned feuds with Apple and Sony into a job at Facebook.
When Hotz was 17, he became the first hacker to jailbreak the iPhone, making it compatible with wireless carriers besides Apple’s chosen one: AT&T. The stunt, which Hotz bragged about on YouTube, earned him an encouraging email from Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, himself a one-time hacker who manipulated the telephone system in the 1970s into making free long-distance calls.
Then Hotz hacked into the Sony PlayStation 3, a videogame system widely thought to be one of the world’s most impenetrable. The brazen move solidified Geohot (that’s Hotz’s online handle) as the world’s greatest, or at least most infamous hacker. It also prompted Sony to sue Hotz, which in turn led to hacker collective Anonymous, allegedly, stealing data of 100 million user accounts.
The New Yorker gives Hotz the star treatment this week with a 6,000 word profile.
Around the time that Hotz settled out of court with Sony, Facebook came calling. Hotz doesn’t get specific on what his job entailed at Facebook, just that he worked on design and improving the site. What is clear, though, is that Hotz quit the company eight months after joining. “Facebook is a fun place to work,” he tells the New Yorker, “but I wonder how people stay employed for so long.” ( the New Yorker )