Google’s new internet security programme, Project Zero, has unveiled its first big name. George Hotz, or better known as Geohot, has joined the team that is preparing to scour the internet for vulnerabilities and get to them before malicious hackers are able to exploit the weaknesses. Hotz will be joining what Wired is calling a dream team of hackers who form the core of Project Zero.
Hotz had earlier made a name for himself by breaking the lock on the original iPhone in 2007 when he was just 17. He followed that feat by attracting the attention of Sony with his reverse engineering of the PlayStation 3. While his settlement with the Japanese company has prevented him from ever hacking another Sony product, Hotz has simply turned to looking for other things to hack. He recently received US$150,000 from Google for getting past the defences set up to protect the Chrome browser. It was this act that got him the attention of Chris Evans, the current head of Project Zero.
More details about the mysterious project are emerging, and it would appear that Google is hiring a team to go out and attempt to discover as many zero-day exploits before anyone else can. These kinds of exploits are important as they allow hackers to compromise systems before the owners are even aware of the situation.
The company claims that this is all part of a plan to better ensure that its users and customers are better protected when they use the internet. Although that plan involves dragging poor encryption practices out into the light where it can be fixed. It is unknown how other companies are reacting to the news that Google has a team of elite hackers who are being paid to figure out who is the most vulnerable.