The Job is a Lie: Valve almost lured Half-Life 2 source hacker with fake job interview


Just a friendly reminder: if you're going in for a job interview with Valve Software (the creators of the Half-Life series, Portal and the upcoming Left 4 Dead), make sure they aren't charging you with any felonies. The job offer might not quite be on the up-and-up.

After the secret source code for its then-unreleased shooter Half Life 2 showed up on BitTorrent in 2003, gamemaker Valve Software cooked up an elaborate ruse with the FBI targeting the German hacker suspected in the leak, even setting up a fake job interview in an effort to lure him to the United States for arrest...

In March, several Valve managers staged a 40-minute "job interview' with DaGuy over the phone, in which the hacker confirmed that he was Gembe. Gembe detailed how he'd cracked the company's network, first entering through an account that had no password, then ramping up to root access using remote CGI exploits and scanning software.

After the interview, the then-21-year-old Gembe sent the company his résumé. "Well, I really hope you hire me," he wrote. "I'm no bad guy, just a little misguided."

Newell passed the resume along to the feds, then invited Gembe to travel to Seattle for a follow-up interview in person. "We pay for all interview related expenses (travel, hotel, food, etc. ...) as well as relocation expenses (pretty standard for the game business)."

Eventually, the hacker's spider sense weakly tingled, and he refrained from flying to Seattle to let Valve and the FBI arrest him. What a maroon.

Valve Tried to Trick Half-Life 2 Hacker Into Fake Job Interview [27 B Stroke 6]

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  1. Well they could have been honest and said “We’ll pay for your travel expenses, and we anticipate that the government will pick up your room and board under their special INCARCERATION program.

  2. While it seems the events themselves are “old,” I believe the news of it (meaning, it becoming public knowledge) is recent.

  3. yea i know everything is old on the internet but this is 2003. i’m pretty sure we’re not going to hear of valve getting hacked ever again.

  4. @ #1

    Yeah, stoopid FBI guys, trying to bring people to justice, what a freakin’ buzzkill those guys are.

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