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Ex-hacker leaves Pentagon's TOP-SECRET war boffins for Google

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Google has hired a former hacker who has spent the last three years working for the US Department of Defense's secretive military research bureau.

The Chocolate factory poached Peiter "Mudge" Zatko from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and will put him to work in its own research skunkworks.

He will take up an unspecified role at Motorola Mobility's Advanced Technology and Projects division.

Google snapped up Motorola's phone biz for $12.5bn two years ago. At the time, it was believed that Google's acquisition was motivated by its hunger for Motorola's essential mobile phone patents as it prepared to enter the telephone hardware market.

Zatko joins his former DARPA boss Regina Dugan at Google after she was hired last year.

He tweeted:

"Mudge" started out as a hacker with the L0pht hacker thinktank in the 1980s. He then led a drive to encourage companies and governments to be more honest about their security flaws, resulting in the release of widely used software called AntiSniff, which monitors and counteracts sniffer software used to intercept packets of data passing over a network.

Zatko was one of the first hackers to testify in front of the US Senate, warning that the internet could be bought down in a matter of minutes. He was then summoned to meet Bill Clinton to explain the first vicious DDoS attack. In 2010 he was hired by DARPA as a cybersecurity expert.

On its website, the Googlerola department he will work for is described as “skunkworks-inspired". The company said:

Optimized for speed. Small, lean, resourced. With agility, freedom from bureaucratic constraints, and a willingness to embrace risk as core attributes. ATAP is focused on harnessing best-in-class, interdisciplinary talent from inside and outside Motorola Mobility, as well as technological developments from whatever the source.

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