George “GeoHot” Hotz days of jail-breaking devices like the Apple iPhone or Sony PS3 gaming system seem to be long gone now. After coming out of a suit from the Sony Corporation by the skin of his teeth, Hotz has kept a low profile ‒ and by low I mean downright ghost-like. The media have been in a frenzy for the past several months, with more devious crackers like the Lulzsec crew, but hardly a peep has been reported in regards to Hotz. Finally, the silence has been broken with some very intriguing revelations about Hotz’s latest career escapades.
An adversary by the name of Joshua Hill (P0sixninja) from a group called the Chronic-Dev Team ‒ whose members created the iOS jailbreak software greenpois0n ‒ challenged Hotz to expose an exploit that would open up the iPad 2 for people to tinker with. Hotz quickly expressed his wishes against doing so and his desire to keep out of the media spotlight after the Sony ordeal. Soon news of Hotz bowing out on this hack duel spread and several Internet denizens started to do some digging.
It was not long before a wall post on Hotz’s then public Facebook page from June 17 indicated what many already suspected: “Facebook is really an amazing place to work…first hackathon over.” Gabe Rivera from Techmeme in a tweet claimed that Hotz had only announced it in June and had started back in May 2011. Now Hotz’s page is partially hidden but there is no denying regardless of his start date, that he does hold a position in what is considered the number one social network of the era. However, what besides keeping face in this job, may the decline to hack the iPad 2 also indicate about what Hotz may be involved in or have knowledge of?
Though fooling around with the iPad may throw Hotz into hot water (no pun intended) ‒ perhaps his refusal could indicate the development of a Facebook iPad app in the works. That is at least what the Apple community of iPad and iPod touting fans seem to be craving. Speculation aside, if we take the sentiment that Hotz himself expressed of wishing to leave the spotlight to heart, we may understand his motives better.
The hacker group Lulzsec mentioned earlier decided to end their way more damaging hacking campaign after 50 days of operation. In their release they stated to remember that:
“Behind this jolly visage of rainbows and top hats, we are people. People […] just like you.”
This statement of course came shortly after an alleged member of the Anonymous group who is said to have ties with Lulzsec Ryan Cleary was arrested in Britain. Could the slap on the wrist that Hotz received, have the same effect on him?
No matter how much these hackers put up a front of being bold and brazen in their campaign, I am sure they have their limits just as the rest of us do. It’s not exactly a walk in the park having to worry every nano second of your life if the FBI is going to break into your living room. Now some may say they brought such a fate on themselves but it is equally important to look at this with a greater perspective. Facebook saw the opportunity in snatching up a figure like Hotz as he clearly showed the capability to discover vulnerabilities and is a whiz with coding.
Perhaps showing groups like Lulzsec an interest to put the skills of such hackers “to the test,” will make them see that their efforts are actually being responded to. The greatest joy most of these hackers receive are the fact that they are ignored and allowed to pluck any piece of the database fruit but I digress. So share with us:
Do you approve of the fact that hackers like Hotz are getting fixed up with great career opportunities or do you think they are a force that must be outlawed till kingdom come?