George Hotz, a hacker whose claims to fame include jailbreaking the iPhone in 2007 and opening up the PlayStation 3 in 2010, has landed a job with Google. According to Wired, Hotz--often referred to as GeoHot--has accepted an internship at Google working with an all-star team of hackers to discover the most serious of software vulnerabilities.
Headed up by Google security engineer Chris Evans, Project Zero's remit is to find the flaws in popular software--whether it's from Google or other companies--that are exploited by criminals and government intelligence agencies alike. One reason Google is devoting resources to fixing other companies' products is because offerings like the Chrome web browser rely on the security of the operating systems they run on, as well as third-party programs like Adobe Flash.
"If we increase user confidence in the internet in general, then in a hard-to-measure and indirect way, that helps Google too," Evans said.
The group also includes Ben Hawkes, Tavis Ormandy, and Ian Beer, and is still hiring more talent. While Evans said the program was primarily altruistic, he acknowledged Project Zero could also benefit Google by getting brilliant hackers into the company, where they may later decide to move to other teams.
When Google's team finds a bug, it will inform the company responsible and give them between 60 and 90 days to patch the problem. If they don't, the Project Zero team will publicly reveal the bug on its blog. In cases where the bug is already being exploited that grace period can be shortened to seven days.
Image credit: Tribune Review, Andrew Russell/AP