'My whole life is a hack'
An interesting article at 'The New Yorker' covers the life of George Hotz, including how he hacked the iPhone, the PS3 and the start of the 'Hacker Wars'.
I'm pretty sure you all know George Hotz alias 'geohot'.
Yep, he's the guy who hacked both the iPhone and PlayStation 3. Well, American magazine The New Yorker, will include in this week issue a special article about him, covering almost all his life, including how he hacked the iPhone, the PS3 and the subsequent Sony lawsuits and Hacker Wars...
Yep, he hacked the iPhone. The next morning posted a video saying: “This is the world’s first unlocked iPhone.” This one received nearly two million views and made him the most famous hacker in the world. Thats how all started...In the summer of 2007, Apple released the iPhone, in an exclusive partnership with A.T. & T. George Hotz, a seventeen-year-old from Glen Rock, New Jersey, was a T-Mobile subscriber. He wanted an iPhone, but he also wanted to make calls using his existing network, so he decided to hack the phone.
He used a Phillips-head eyeglass screwdriver to undo the two screws in the back of the phone. Then he slid a guitar pick around the tiny groove, and twisted free the shell with a snap. Eventually, he found his target: a square sliver of black plastic called a baseband processor, the chip that limited the carriers with which it could work. To get the baseband to listen to him, he had to override the commands it was getting from another part of the phone. He soldered a wire to the chip, held some voltage on it, and scrambled its code. The iPhone was now at his command. On his PC, he wrote a program that enabled the iPhone to work on any wireless carrier.
Of course, he continued to "jailbreak," or unlock subsequent versions of the iPhone until, two years later, he turned to his next target: the Sony's PS3.“My whole life is a hack,” Hotz told me one afternoon last June, in Palo Alto, California. He had moved there the previous month. He was now twenty-one, stocky, and scruffy. He wore a gray T-shirt under a gray hoodie, ripped bluejeans, and brown suède moccasins. “I don’t hack because of some ideology,” he said. “I hack because I’m bored.”
Sony responded by releasing a software update that disabled OtherOS, the feature through which Hotz had accessed the hypervisor. This, of course, pissed off people. Some were mad at Sony and others at Hotz. This was just the beginning of the "Hacker Wars".That year (2009), someone mailed Hotz a PlayStation 3 video-game system, challenging him to be the first in the world to crack it. Hotz posted his announcement online and once again set about finding the part of the system that he could manipulate into doing what he wanted. Hotz focussed on the “hypervisor,” powerful software that controls what programs run on the machine.
On January 23, 2010, a little more than a month after posting his challenge, Hotz announced on his blog, “I have hacked the PS3.” He later posted instructions for others to do the same, and freely distributed the code. Hotz had hacked the two most iconic and ironclad devices of his generation. “Nothing is unhackable,” he told the BBC. “I can now do whatever I want with the system. It’s like I’ve got an awesome new power—I’m just not sure how to wield it.”
After that, he received an e-mail from Sony announcing a lawsuit against him.In late December, Hotz decided once again to try to hack the PS3 in a way that would give him total control and let him restore what Sony had removed.
Hotz knew that the metldr key was hidden within the PS3, but now he realized that he didn’t necessarily have to find and break into the secret place. He could run a special decryption program in a different part of the machine, and make the key appear there. He had to figure out how to speak to the metldr, and then command it to appear. Within ten minutes, he had coded the PS3 hack.
The cursor blinked, indicating that Hotz had the power to do anything with the PS3: install OtherOS, play pirated games, or run obscure Japanese software. He prepared a Web page and a video documenting what he had done. But he hesitated. Although Apple had never sued anyone for jailbreaking, Sony had reacted fiercely to previous modifications of the PlayStation. Sony had also long boasted about the security of the PS3. Hotz wasn’t just undoing years of corporate P.R.; he was potentially opening the door to piracy.
Yep, hackers around the World were pretty mad, including Anonymous.A California district court granted Sony the restraining order against Hotz, preventing him from hacking and disseminating more details about its machines. It also approved a request by Sony to subpoena information from Twitter, Google, YouTube, and Bluehost, Hotz’s Internet provider, including the Internet Protocol addresses of anyone who downloaded the instructions from his site—a move that further incensed digital-rights advocates. Sony also gained access to records from Hotz’s PayPal account. In some circles, the rebel leader was becoming a martyr. As one fan of Hotz’s posted: “geohot = savior of mankind.”
That's right, we all know how this ended. The massive PlayStation Network outbreak. And while it is unclear whether someone from Anonymous were responsible for the hack or whether it was just someone taking advantage of the chaos, the events were clearly linked.In early April, an Anonymous member created an Internet relay chat room called Operation Sony, or #OpSony. “It is the duty of Anonymous to help out this young lad, and to protest against Sony’s censorship,”
On April 4th, Anonymous announced the plan to the public in a press release: “Congratulations, Sony. You have now received the undivided attention of Anonymous. You saw a hornets nest, and stuck your penises in it. You must face the consequences of your actions, Anonymous style.” Within hours, both Sony.com and PlayStation.com were down. Anonymous posted a video on YouTube with its demands: Drop the case against Hotz and allow for modifications on the PS3. Over an image of a Guy Fawkes mask, which the group uses as a symbol, text read, “Leave Fellow hackers like geohot alone.”
Hotz didn't agree with those attacks and posted a rant against the PSN hackers. "Running homebrew and exploring security on your devices is cool,"
That was not the end for all Sony troubles, as soon they had a new force to contend with: an Anonymous splinter group called Lulz Security, commonly known as LulzSec.
2011 was surely crazy...The day after the PBS prank, the group began tweeting a series of warnings to Sony. “Hey @Sony,” one read, “you know we’re making off with a bunch of your internal stuff right now and you haven’t even noticed? Slow and steady, guys.” Some saw the warnings as more geohot backlash for the company. “The group is sending a message to Sony for messing with one of their own, hacker George Hotz,” a blogger wrote.
A month after his settlement with Sony, last spring, Hotz moved back to California to take a full-time job at Facebook. But, just eight months later, Hotz quit. “Facebook is a fun place to work,” he said, “but I wonder how people stay employed for so long.”Black-hat hackers began posting corporate e-mails, and, during the summer of 2011, attacks on media, technology, and other institutions came almost daily. Nintendo got hacked, and so did Sega, Electronic Arts, the News Corporation, Booz Allen Hamilton, NATO, and Lady Gaga. Even the C.I.A. was hacked, LulzSec claimed. It was the Summer of Lulz. Hotz didn’t mean to inspire a hacker war, but he doesn’t regret what he did.
One night at a restaurant in Palo Alto, he clarified his position on the attacks against Sony. “If being a techno-libertarian leads to online anarchy, so be it,” he said. “I’m not a cause. I just like messing with ****.”
He wouldn’t say what he was going to do next, but apparently, he won’t be sharing his exploits on the Internet anymore. “I’m through with all that,” he said.
The last thing we know about him is that he was arrested because of marijuana possession. Well, there you go. He's surely controversial and in certain ways he acts like a normal teenager, but thanks to him we can have control over our entertainment devices, as should be.
You can find the full article below. Don't miss it out... it's pretty neat!"Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg may be his generation’s most famous hacker, but Hotz most embodies its original spirit. He hacks for the technical challenge and the fun."
NEWS SOURCE: 2012 05/07 by Kushner (via) NewYorker
Many thanks to 'Gauss' for writing this summary for me from an advance URL tip from a old close friend of mine!