George Hotz, a 17 year old from Glen Rock, New Jersey,
hacked his way to internet fame and notoriety when he managed to unlock the iPhone
via a mix of soldering and software.
unlocked the iPhone's previously AT&T
exclusive SIM card to work on the mostly compatible T-Mobile network, as
previously reported at DailyTech. The
groups have typically not revealed their techniques to the general public and
some have sought to use their knowledge to create
unlocking businesses. In contrast, Hotz’s hack was posted entirely free of
charge, in relatively easy to follow steps, on his blog. The steps do require
physically opening the phone, and a strong enough stomach to perform a few
small solders on a $500 to $600 piece of electronics.
Continuing an unsurprising trend of smart people being
rewarded for doing smart things -- even when those smart things are quasi-legal
-- the teenager has reaped a pirate's booty for his work. CNN reported that the teenager had
traded his unlock phone, complete with a signature faceplate to a Louisville,
Kentucky based cell-phone repair company for three new 8GB iPhones and a Nissan
350Z, which the article quotes George as describing as "sweet".
The teenager also landed himself a paid consulting job with
the company, CertiCell. He initially made the deal through Terry Daidone,
cofounder of CertiCell.
CertiCell is remaining mum about why exactly they want the
unlocked cell phone, though it is easy to speculate. Mr. Daidone released a
"We do not have any plans on the table right now to
commercialize Mr. Hotz' discovery."
Whether a company would give $1,800 dollars in iPhones and a
car to a teenager as a congratulations gift and as an incentive for future good
work leaves one to wonder.
As mentioned, successful hackers have often been rewarded
handsomely. In honor of the teenager's success and hot new ride, it is
worthwhile to take a look back through time at stories of lucky hackers and
pirates getting rewarded, and the less fortunate famous hackers and pirates who
were busted, many as featured on DailyTech.
and pirates include:
hackers and pirates include:
These are only a few of
the famous stories of the hacker community. Whether George Hotz's deserves a place
among these talented individuals is questionable, but for now he can at least
enjoy the rewards of his work.