The story behind George Hotz, the original hacker of iPhone and PlayStation 3

May 1, 2012

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George Hotz was the first person to hack an Apple iPhone.  Ever.  He was also the first to hack the Sony PlayStation 3 (PS3).  Apple let it slide.  Sony did not.

But Hotz wasn’t merely “up to no good.”  The hacking community is made up of more than geeks wreaking havoc on corporate America and the government, or spreading viruses across the web with reckless abandon.  In “hacker” parlance, those types are referred to as “black-hat” hackers.  Those on the other side – seeking to help plug up security holes, and other do-gooder-ish deeds – are called the “white-hat” hackers.  And then there are those who sport no proverbial headwear, and Hotz is among this crowd.

But despite Hotz’s fairly agnostic approach to hacking, his hacking of the PS3 got him knee-deep in legal trouble with the powers that be at Sony.  As a result, many in the hacker community – particularly black-hat hackers and people claiming to be associated with the Anonymous group – unleashed holy hell on Sony.

But it didn’t stop there.

This week in Afternoon Shift's tech segment, we talk with writer David Kushner.  Kushner writes about Hotz’s life in the hacker world, the battle with Sony and its aftermath in a new article that appears this month in The New Yorker.

Kushner is a writer in the New York City area who writes about, among other things, the hacking and gaming worlds.  He is also the author of the new book, Jacked: The Outlaw Story of Grand Theft Auto, where he tells the backstory of one of the most controversial videogames of all time, GTA.