Facebook Hires Sony's Hacker

George Hotz, Facebook's recent hire, was previously sued by Sony.

ByABC News
June 28, 2011, 12:30 PM

June 28, 2011 -- The 21-year-old hacker who was sued by Sony for cracking their Play Station 3 video game console, George Hotz, has been hired by Facebook.

A Facebook spokesperson confirmed to ABCNews.com that Hotz, known in the hacker community as "Geohot," is currently employed at Facebook, although she did not respond to requests for further information.

The Washington Post reports that Hotz has been hired by Facebook to work on their anticipated iPad app.

The news was first leaked on Saturday by Joshua Hill, a member of team of hackers that calls itself Chronic-Dev , according to the technology blog TechUnwrapped. Gabe Rivera, creator of the technology news site Techmeme, later tweeted that Hotz started working for Facebook in May.

Hotz gained notoriety in 2008 when he cracked the iPhone, unlocking the phone from its exclusive provider, AT&T, and allowing the Apple device to be used on any network.

Since March 2011, the youngster has been mired in legal scandal with Sony after publishing on his blog instructions on how to bypass the PS3 software, allowing users to run pirated video games. Sony's lawsuit against Hotz triggered a heated reaction from the hacker community, who then allegedly breached the Playstation network and stole names, addresses and credit card data from an estimated 100 million customer accounts.

Sony reached a settlement with Holtz on March 31, which included an injunction for Holtz to remove the instructions from his website. Sony's general counsel, Riley Russel, said via a press statement announcing the settlement, "Our motivation for bringing this litigation was to protect our intellectual property and our consumers."

Int he same statement Hotz admitted, "It was never my intention to cause any users trouble or to make piracy easier." He denied any wrongdoing on his part. He continued to deny his involvement in the theft of Sony customers' personal information -- criticizing the true culprits on his personal blog.

"To anyone who thinks I was involved in any way with this, I'm not crazy, and would prefer to not have the FBI knocking on my door," Hotz wrote. "Running homebrew and exploring security on your devices is cool, hacking into someone else's server and stealing databases of user info is not cool. You make the hacking community look bad."

Nevertheless, he included a few choice descriptions about the Sony's arrogance and joined the boycott against all the company's products on April 11.

The New Jersey native was previously employed by Google and has worked as a consultant for the electronics company CertiCell. He has also won a series of science competitions, including one sponsored by Intel that awarded him $20,000.

In 2008, Hotz was included in PCWorld's list of "10 Overachievers Under 21." The same article opened with the a warning to the mastermind of Facebook: "Mark Zuckerberg, watch your back."