How GeoHot went from winning science fairs to instigating the hacker war

ImageHackers built the Internet. Throughout the 1970s and '80s hackers altered the Internet from a strictly business communications system for the defense department and librarians into a robust online community for anyone with a computer to use as they pleased. The Internet and computer technology is still evolving, perhaps at a a faster, more public rate today, and hackers are still at the forefront of its design. Hackers such as Geohot, the guy who rooted Sony's PS3 early last year.

George Hotz posted the PS3 root key online with a statement reading "I don't condone piracy" in January 2011 and it spread online. Geohot became an unsuspecting martyr in the hacker community when Sony sued him and won an injunction barring him from ever tampering with a Sony product again. Thus began the hacker wars, The New Yorker suggests in a biographical run-down of 2011's events.

Hotz was brilliant in science and technology fields throughout middle and high school, winning $15,000 at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in 2007 and appearing in Forbes and on The Today Show for his technological achievements.

He hacked the PS3 master key while he was high on OxyContin and Vicodin. He didn't condone or participate in any of Anonymous' hacks into Sony's servers, and since his online spotlight has faded he's worked for Facebook, quit and run amok in Panama, and met with Sony engineers curious about his methodology. He has reminders to "Call therapist" on his whiteboard. Geohotz is human, The New Yorker makes sure to point out.

The full story is available here, or we figure you can just watch this eerily similar dramatic recreation of an antisocial programmer's rise to fame. They're both human, after all.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.