– You’re hired! Facebook employs hacker who cracked iPhone and PlayStation 3 security codes (Daily Mail, June 27, 2011):
Facebook has employed a hacker who published a way of running any software, including pirated games, on the PlayStation 3 and cracked into the iPhone.
George Hotz, 21, has been a software engineer at the social network since May 9.
A posting on his Facebook page last week read: ‘Facebook is really an amazing place to work… first hackathon over.’
Just two months ago, Sony won a restraining order against him.
A California court ordered Hotz – also known as GeoHotz – to never again publish secret codes used by Sony to protect the PS3 from being used for unauthorised purposes.
He was also given ten days to hand over his computer equipment to Sony.
Sony then announced its intention to seek damages after claiming the hacks’ publication is affecting sales of its PlayStation games.
In 2008, Hotz managed to unlock the iPhone and posted details of how to do so on a blog.
Making security codes widely available constitutes copyright infringement and computer fraud, Sony had argued in court papers filed in mid-January.
Among the secret codes is a key number used to ‘sign’ all PlayStation games to make sure they are genuine.
Once this information is known, it can be used to allow any software to run on the device, including pirated copies.
The PlayStation 3 had remained unhackable for the last few years until members of a hacking group called failOverflow accessed the information last month.
They then presented this information at the Chaos Communication Congress, an annual meeting of international hackers, in Berlin.
Hotz then revealed he had worked out the ‘signing in’ code.
Sony responded by taking legal action against 100 people, including Hotz, associated with the group. The failOverflow site was closed almost immediately and replaced with a message ‘Sony sued us’.
A brief statement, also posted, read: ‘We have never condoned, supported, approved of or encouraged videogame piracy.
‘We have not published any encryption or signing keys. We have not published any Sony code, or code derived from Sony’s code.’
But Sony disputed this and applied for a restraining order against Mr Hotz.
Legal papers filed in the Northern District Court of California read: ‘Working individually and in concert with one another, the defendants recently bypassed effective technological protection measures employed by Sony.
‘Through the internet, defendants are distributing software, tools and instructions that… facilitate the counterfeiting of video games.
‘Already, pirate video games are being packaged and distributed with these circumvention devices.’
His biggest claim to notoriety was uncovering Sony’s secret ‘signing in’ number for the PS3 earlier this year.