George Hotz, the 21-year-old Sony hacker sued for breaking into the PlayStation 3 console, is now on the payroll at Facebook.
Facebook's hiring of Hotz, known in the hacker community as Geohot, was first reported by the technology blog TechUnwrapped, and later confirmed via Twitter by Gabe Rivera, founder of tech news Web site Techmeme.
Facebook has not disclosed why Hotz was hired, but The Washington Post reported Hotz will be working on the social networking giant’s impending iPad app.
Hotz first started making a name for himself in 2008 by jailbreaking the iPhone, which untethers the device from its carrier and allows it to run on any network, as well as run apps outside of Apple’s App Store.
Meanwhile, Sony initiated a lawsuit against Hotz in March for publishing instructions on his blog detailing how to bypass PlayStation 3 software in order to run pirated video games on the console.
The lawsuit, which was settled out of court, included an injunction requiring Hotz to take down the PlayStation 3 hacking instructions off of his blog.
“Our motivation for bringing this litigation was to protect our intellectual property and our consumers. We believe this settlement and the permanent injunction achieve this goal,” said Riley Russell, general counsel for Sony Computer Entertainment America in a joint statement with Hotz on April 11, 2011.
Hotz denied any wrongdoing in the case. In the joint press statement, Hotz also denied involvement in the high profile attacks on Sony’s Internet services and Web sites.
“It was never my intention to cause any users trouble or to make piracy easier,” said Hotz, in the joint statement. “I’m happy to have the litigation behind me.”
However, the legal tussle galvanized the hacker community to retaliate.
Sony accused the global hacker collective Anonymous of pummeling its servers with denial of service attacks, which it said led to the massive PlayStation Network cyber attack in April that exposed personal information of more than 77 million users, including names, addresses and login credentials. The attack forced Sony to shut down its network for six weeks to bolster security.
A New Jersey native, Hotz has also worked at Google and served as a consultant for the electronics company CertiCell.