MEMBER EXCHANGE-PEOPLE

Since wunderkind George Hotz, better known as Geohot, first made a name for himself by hacking the iPhone at age 17, he’s bounced around to several projects. He hacked the PlayStation, did some work for Facebook, and more recently popped up in Android land.

His latest gig is an internship for Google’s Project Zero—a team of elite hackers tasked with finding and eradicating serious software vulnerabilities. Back in March Geohot won $150K for exposing Chrome exploits, and it seems the Mountain View company took notice…

Wired has more on Hotz and Project Zero:

When Hotz dismantled the defenses of Google’s Chrome operating system earlier this year, by contrast, the company paid him a $150,000 reward for helping fix the flaws he’d uncovered. Two months later Chris Evans, a Google security engineer, followed up by email with an offer: How would Hotz like to join an elite team of full-time hackers paid to hunt security vulnerabilities in every popular piece of software that touches the internet?

Today Google plans to publicly reveal that team, known as Project Zero, a group of top Google security researchers with the sole mission of tracking down and neutering the most insidious security flaws in the world’s software. Those secret hackable bugs, known in the security industry as “zero-day” vulnerabilities, are exploited by criminals, state-sponsored hackers and intelligence agencies in their spying operations. By tasking its researchers to drag them into the light, Google hopes to get those spy-friendly flaws fixed. And Project Zero’s hackers won’t be exposing bugs only in Google’s products. They’ll be given free rein to attack any software whose zero-days can be dug up and demonstrated with the aim of pressuring other companies to better protect Google’s users. 

Geohot joins Google security engineer Chris Evans, New Zealander Ben Hawkes, who has been credited with discovering bugs in software like Adobe Flash and Office, English researcher Tavis Ormandy, and more. The team will soon have over 10 full-time researchers.

So what does Google get by paying elite hackers top-level salaries to find bugs in other companies’ software? Project-leader Chris Evans says the initiative is altruistic, but the program serves as a prime recruiting ground, and plus: safe, happy users tend to click on more ads.

The last time Geohot popped up in the jailbreaking world was in December, when it was rumored that he had a working iOS 7 jailbreak, and was looking to sell it to a third-party Chinese company.

  • …plus: safe, happy users tend to click on more ads.

    Why is it that everything Google does always leads back to ads? Don’t they ever do anything that isn’t motivated by enhancing their advertisement business?

    • Merman123

      It’s how google makes money, so no.

      • Brian 

        So Google doesn’t make money off of Android? Or their hardware?

      • Bishop

        Their crappy phone have ads on them when you power them on, turn them off, they have weird stickers from various companies on them out of the box…. And many more

      • Daniel Saporita

        Where did you get the fact of googles phones having ads when you turn them on and off? And stickers from various companies on them?

      • Rowan09

        Any Android manufacturer must have gmail, Google Now on the home page, and the Playstore icon. Google makes it’s money from advertising. Google search is what makes them most of their profits.

      • Daniel Saporita

        And any apple device must have app store, iTunes and all that, so how is it any different?

      • Rowan09

        Are you serious? Apple makes the hardware and software. Google makes the software and no hardware for smartphones.

      • Daniel Saporita

        How does apple make the hardware? Everything is outsourced. processors (made by Samsung), screens (LG) and if you do a simple google search, apples support forum everyone talks about how apple doesn’t make their hardware, just is very picky on what they include

      • Rowan09

        Samsung makes the processor, along with Qualcomm and TMSC, making the hardware doesn’t mean they make all the parts. You’re confusing the two, Google doesn’t make any phone (yet), all they do is have a company first Samsung and now LG makes the Nexus. No company makes all the parts in their phones from my knowledge. Nevertheless Google gives Android for free to anyone and Apple makes it only for themselves. It’s like saying since Intel makes the chips in the Mac it’s not an Apple device.

      • Laura Frank

        some sites who rely on ads for revenue ain’t getting it from me.

      • Antzboogie

        Agreed and damn you are beautiful girl.

      • If you go to a site with ads…they already made money off of you.

      • MoNkEyCanCeR

        I think Daniel Saporita means Apple “designs” its hardware when he says “make”, the terms are generally used interchangeably.

      • Pukka12

        Actually technically they own Motorola. Plus they partner closely with the nexus series of hardware.

      • Rowan09

        They don’t make the hardware they just have LG make the device since they are a part of the Open Source Alliance group formed by Google. Motorola is owned by Google but was only purchased for its patents hence we have never seen a Nexus Motorola device yet.

      • GM’s

        Nope amazon fire devices,many Chinese phones, Nokia android phones all don’t have the play store or gmail. There is no obligation for OEMs to install Google play and Google apps in there phones they just do because they would suck otherwise

      • Rowan09

        Amazon Fire devices and some other Chinese phones are fork versions of Android and Google doesn’t make money from then since the base is open source. Any other Android manufacturer using Android however must have Gmail, Maps, YouTube, Google Now, and Hangouts installed and those are all closed sourced apps not open source. To have any of those apps you have to go into a licensing agreement with Google and by definition that is not open source. Even the Google keyboard changed from being opening source to being closed source when it was first released with Frodo.

      • Wither

        Actually, in countries like China most Android phones have no google services. Hell, my old Andrioid/Windows netbook didn’t have them! 🙂

      • Rowan09

        Any Android phone without Google services are forked versions like Xiaomi, etc. Samsung, LG, Sony, etc don’t make forked versions because they signed the open handset alliance which Google formed. Android at its base is open source so that why anyone can use Android and add anything on top of it (forked version Amazon is the biggest). Google doesn’t like forked versions because they make money from their services not giving away Android and receiving no payment.

      • John

        Are you suggesting it’s the ONLY way they make money?

        All Google do is shove ads down our throats.
        All Google do (once they take over software) is cram it full of ads.

        There IS such a thing as too much ads.

      • f1ght3r

        I think you’re missing his point

    • whinersmustwhine

      omg shut up

      • As you wish.

        /Sarcasm

      • Ethan Desmond

        i prefer adblock. “google” chrome add-on

      • Antzboogie

        Lmao agreed me too.

    • Antzboogie

      I know right we need more ad blocking software.

  • Bugs Bunnay

    hmm… I guess i’d click on ads if they are safe, but then again i’m pretty happy with hosts ad block. yea, i’m a dick. some sites who rely on ads for revenue ain’t getting it from me. besides… can you really pass up on ad-free youtube?

  • jack

    Internship… Get ready to make coffee and move stuff

  • Kameron Burton

    “The last time Geohot popped up in the jailbreaking world was in December, when it was rumored that he had a working iOS 7 jailbreak, and was looking to sell it to a third-party Chinese company.”

    Does this explain Pangu?

    • Ha3ks

      No, Pangu was a vulnerability discovered in Stefan Esser (i0n1c)’s iOS Software Exploitation Training Camp by Sektion Eins,,, that the researcher decided to release on his own

  • Linda George


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