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Sony sues hackers over PS3 root key publication, custom firmware

Wednesday, 12 January 2011 03:09 GMT By Brenna Hillier

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Sony has broken its “looking into it” silence in spectacular fashion, by suing Geohot, fail0verflow, and multiple other individual hackers for the recent smashing of the PlayStation 3′s security.

GeoHot responded to receipt of the suit by posting a .pdf of the summons on his website, which you can grab here in the short breaks between server overloads.

According to the document, SCEA has filed a complaint with the Northern Californian District Court against George Hots (GeoHot), Hector Martin Cantero & Sven Peter (fail0verflow), and 100 “does”, or unnamed defendants.

Sony alleges the defendants have “circumvented effective technological protection measures … employed by SCEA to protect against unauthorized access to and/or copying of … PlayStation 3 computer entertainment systems … and other copyrighted works”.

Moreover it accuses the lot of them of having “trafficked in circumvention technology, products, services, methods, codes, software tools, devices, component or part thereof, including but not limited to the Elliptic Curve Digital Signature Algorithm Keys, encryption and/or decryption keys, dePKG firmware decrypter program, Signing Tools, 3.55 Firmware Jailbreak, and/or any other technologies that enable unauthorized access to and/or copying of PS3 Systems and other copyrighted works.”

Apparently, this violates the Digital Millennium Copyright Act; the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act; the Copyright Act; California Comprehensive Computer Data Access and Fraud Act; and also squeezes in breach of contract, tortious interference with contractual relations, trespass and common law misappropriation.

Sony are calling for a temporary restraining order and an order of impoundment.

Geohot published the PS3′s root key on January 3, and custom firmware appeared as early as two days later. GeoHot released video footage of homebrew running on PS3s on January 7, and proof of pirated games arrived by January 12.

More as it comes in. Thanks, Engadget.

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28 Comments

  1. FeaturePreacher

    I guess Sony doesn’t understand no piracy protection lasts forever.

    #1 4 years ago
  2. Telepathic.Geometry

    Well, what do you expect them to do. I’d be pissed off too, if someone were handing out the keys to my apartment, I couldn’t change the locks and I couldn’t move out for a few years.

    #2 4 years ago
  3. hitnrun

    They deserve to be prosecuted for being dumb enough to not operate anonymously.

    #3 4 years ago
  4. Crysis

    They’re like weapon dealers,sure they haven’t done anything directly wrong themselves, but they have knowingly provided others with the tools to do so, if you cracked it & just want to play homebrew (fuck homebrew, that’s what computers are for) at the very least keep it to yourself & a few trusted friends.

    #4 4 years ago
  5. NoxNoctisUmbra

    I hope those hackers get sued though their asses and end up in prison!! fuck them!

    #5 4 years ago
  6. Erthazus

    No matter what you say. They are doing the right thing.

    How in the fuck you can release videos of being so fucking awesome saying: SONI FAIUL!!11 FFFUUU We HACKED UR CONSOL!!1 SUP DAWG, it’s GEOHOT!!111 PS3 SUCS!

    and do this shit forever?

    As Telepathic said: “if someone were handing out the keys to my apartment, I couldn’t change the locks and I couldn’t move out for a few years.”

    thats basically the same thing.

    #6 4 years ago
  7. xino

    i agree with what people said here.

    it’s so stupid of them to boast and act tough.

    you know you are doing something to end you up in jail yet they made announcement and acted tough on videos rather than hack it hidden.

    #7 4 years ago
  8. TraceableX

    What they did is not illegal. They don’t support piracy.

    Also, backup loader = piracy? Some people like me, like installing them on the HDD.

    #8 4 years ago
  9. Robo_1

    This could be quite a landmark case. I have no idea about the legal merit of the case, but this is going to be a very significant test case, for the rights of users/hackers.

    popcorn.gif

    #9 4 years ago
  10. anuekr

    Nice, Maybe they’ll get a execution warrant out of all of this…

    #10 4 years ago
  11. Mike W

    @8

    Even the smartest people can be dumb at times. If the hack the system, cool, keep it on the low, why the fuck did they have to broadcast all over the internet? Yea it may be true that they don’t condone piracy, but still they got a hold of some property that did not belong to them.

    #11 4 years ago
  12. Blerk

    Engadget’s update suggests it’s not really a lawsuit, more of a restraining order. Which doesn’t sound too useful given that the info’s already out there.

    While it’s not surprising to see Sony go after these guys, they really do have nobody to blame but themselves. The hackers are obviously in it for the glory otherwise they’d have released the information quietly and anonymously (indeed, that’d have been the ‘smart’ thing to do, goading Sony is a somewhat stupid thing to do), but you have to wonder whether it would’ve taken very much longer to reach this point if Sony hadn’t started pulling the features which made the PS3 more accessible to the homebrew crowd.

    The smarter way for Sony to handle this would be to add in some LEGAL features which emulate the non-piracy bits of the hack – start allowing users to install their games to the HDD with a disc-check like the 360 does, put back the Linux support so that people can run emulators and such that way, etc. etc. Then the only reason to have a hacked PS3 would be piracy, and it’s easy to see who should be stamped on.

    #12 4 years ago
  13. mojo

    im not sure what sony tries to attempt..
    everythings out in the wild allready.
    its too late.

    #13 4 years ago
  14. Aimless

    “…you have to wonder whether it would’ve taken very much longer to reach this point if Sony hadn’t started pulling the features which made the PS3 more accessible to the homebrew crowd.”

    That strikes me as a rather disingenuous justification. Sony removed the OtherOS option in response to geohot gaining hypervisor access to the PS3 via a Linux kernal, a development he released to the public.

    I suppose you could argue the whole thing is Sony’s fault for including OtherOS support in the first place. Clearly people can’t be trusted with such things, so I suspect you’ll see even fewer concessions to homebrew in the future.

    As far as I’m concerned hacking is counter-productive to its supposed remit.

    #14 4 years ago
  15. Blerk

    I’m not saying it justifies anything, but they definitely went about it the wrong way. Removing the feature was like showing a red rag to a bull, they didn’t shut them down they basically challenged them to do it better. The previous hack was pretty wonky and difficult to get going, and could be shut down relatively easily with a firmware update. The new one sounds like it’ll be practically unstoppable and that can’t be good for anyone.

    #15 4 years ago
  16. Mike W

    @13

    What you do if you were in Sony’s situation? Hey maybe if Geohot sticks by that story of his that he’s against piracy I think he will be alright.

    #16 4 years ago
  17. Aimless

    @15 But Sony couldn’t win. If they left it in they risked their console being thoroughly hacked, removing it would antagonise the hackers.

    In hindsight it’s easy to say they made the wrong choice, but removing OtherOS affected only a very small percentage of their customers whilst ostensibly ensuring those machines which were updated were no longer vulnerable to Linux exploits. I think it was the right choice at the time, especially with the spectre of PSP piracy looming over Sony’s shoulder.

    My understanding is that the current hack was born of the PS Jailbreak USB dongle, an avenue entirely unrelated to geohot’s previous exploits. In other words the recent hack is built on the analysis of stolen Sony maintenance hardware: all the removal of OtherOS lent to the situation was a rather shaky justification for the hackers.

    #17 4 years ago
  18. Blerk

    You might be right, actually – I could well be confusing the two previous hacks. Given that I don’t have any use for them I haven’t been following them in any real detail.

    But you’re absolutely right that Sony couldn’t win, and they still can’t win. So removing features that legitimate users might find useful encourages those legitimate users to try illegitimate methods, surely?

    Hence my suggestion that the best way to manage the situation would be to add features rather than take them away. Put out a general ‘we can detect this and we’ll shut your accounts down’ warning, but follow it up with a ‘but here’s a bunch of new convenience things you can do so that you don’t have to install a hack’ sweetener.

    And obviously if they’re serious about criminal charges then they need to bring a proper case rather than just a restraining order. That genie’s not going back in the bottle.

    #18 4 years ago
  19. Aimless

    @18 I can see where you’re coming from, but the reality is that the vast majority of people making use of hacks will be in it for piracy and those that aren’t won’t ever be happy until a platform is entirely open — which, inevitably, leads to piracy.

    Sony had to make a call not just in their own interests but those of their various partners, publishers, et cetera. In that respect pissing off a few thousand people is the far lesser evil.

    The PS3 was already the most open console on the market, it was already the best of three as a media server, but that still wasn’t enough. Whatever convenience features were added — all of which require significant investments of both money and manpower — there would always be someone pushing for more or a hacker looking for a challenge.

    #19 4 years ago
  20. Deacon

    Definitely not one to understand legal / American jargon.. what do these legal proceedings ACTUALLY mean for George & his chums??

    #20 4 years ago
  21. ududy

    What’s everyone’s here on about? The 360 has been wide open for easy pirating for years now, and it still beats the hell out of the PS3 in units sold on every multi-platform game. These hacking developments would have had no significant effect on Sony’s sales – they are just flexing muscles to show they are protecting their territory.

    #21 4 years ago
  22. GwynbleiddiuM

    Well Lawsuit or not, it’s a valid move. They need to take action against those who are screwing the integrity of their product. And SONY needs to take the same rout as Microsoft by banning the shit outa those whom using these hacks to be able to use pirated video games.

    #22 4 years ago
  23. Aimless

    @21 The key difference is that the latest PS3 hack could allow for zero effort piracy, i.e. someone can hand you a USB stick and you’ll be able to run what’s on it without modifying your system or firmware. It’s more akin to the R4 situation on DS than the comparatively laborious process of 360 cracking.

    No one’s saying the PS3 is done for, but I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if this has Sony bringing forward the release of their next home console.

    #23 4 years ago
  24. Dr.Ghettoblaster

    Interesting times indeed..

    I’m with Robo1, wake me up with the highlights reel and don’t forget the popcorn.

    #24 4 years ago
  25. Dark

    http://img104.herosh.com/2011/01/12/333239319.jpg

    #25 4 years ago
  26. NeoSquall

    I guess KB would just rip their hearts out and make a barbecue.

    #26 4 years ago
  27. LePlatypus

    Geohot isn’t pirating, he can’t be done for piracy. If what they’re doing is on the basis of him ‘enabling’ piracy then why hasn’t Tim Berners Lee been super mega sued? Although I don’t condone what they do, people like Geohot are protected by law.

    #27 4 years ago
  28. Dr.Ghettoblaster

    What Sony should do………is hire the guy for their new director of security team.

    #28 4 years ago

Comments are now closed on this article.

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    The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is out in just two weeks, and if you want to know more about Geralt’s latest adventure, CD Projekt is hosting a live Q&A now on Twitch. There’s also a new developer diary below which focuses on monster in the game. The Witcher 3 is out on May 19. Huzzah! […]

  • Forza Horizon 2′s Alpinestars Car Pack has five cars and is ready for download

    The Alpinestars Car Pack for Forza Horizon 2 is out now on Xbox One and its the only way you will ever be able to afford a 1992 Bugatti EB110 Super Sport. Unless, of course, you win the lottery or are left in some rich person’s will. In that case, I’ll take the ’53 Corvette, […]

  • Shadow of Mordor – Game of the Year Edition is now available in North America

    Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor – Game of the Year Edition has been released in North America. It will be made available in the Europe on May 7 and in the UK May 8 for £49.99 on consoles and £34.99 on PC. As previously announced, this edition contains all previously released DLC content as well as […]

  • Two GAME exclusive versions of Halo 5: Guardians now available for pre-order

    GAME has announced two exclusive versions of Halo 5: Guardians, and both are now available for pre-order exclusively through one of the retail chain’s 318 stores or online. The £79.99 Limited Edition Halo 5: Guardians, which delivers new digital content wrapped in a steel book. There’s also the £199.99 Halo 5: Guardians Limited Collector’s Edition […]

  • Deals with Gold: Far Cry 4, Assassin’s Creed Unity, Bioshock Infinite, more

    Microsoft has announced its latest Deals with Gold discounts for Xbox Live Gold members. Franchises on sale include Far Cry, Call of Duty, along with individual titles Assassin’s Creed Unity and Bioshock Infinite. The full list is below. Bioshock Infinite discounts are available for both Xbox Live Gold and Silver members. Xbox One Far Cry […]

  • Wolfenstein: The Old Blood has released, watch the launch trailer here

    Wolfenstein: The Old Blood has launched on PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. You can watch the launch trailer for it below. Boxed copies in Europe arrive from May 15, and in Australia/New Zealand on May 14. You can grab digital copies from the following online services: Steam, PlayStation Network, Xbox Store.

  • GOG’s online service GOG Galaxy is now in open beta

    GOG Galaxy, the DRM-free online gaming platform from the folks at GOG, has left Alpha and is now in open beta for all to try. As previously announced, the online service, similar to Steam, is option. Players do not need to play online as all games are stored by the service and can be played […]

  • DayZ-inspired Goat Simulator DLC GoatZ is out this week on Steam

    Goat Simulator players can download DayZ-inspired DLC this week called GoatZ. According to Coffee Stain Studios, GoatZ is “the only survival game on Steam that isn’t in Early Access.” Jokingly of course. The DLC features: Mandatory crafting system because everyone else is doing it. Zombies that bug out. There’s a pun here about actual living […]

  • No, Far Cry 4 is not currently free on PSN

    You may have seen a few Tweets from people saying that the PS4 version of Far Cry 4 is available to download from PSN for free. This is not true. A few readers have tipped us off to what looked like a glitch on PSN that allowed players to download the full version of Far […]

  • Metal Gear Solid: The 1984 Collection confirmed to be a clothing line

    Konami is teasing a Metal Gear Solid thing called “The 1984 Collection.” The Metal Gear Solid Facebook page posted this image about an hour ago: The caption reads, “Step back into the 80′s with our new MGS collection coming very soon! Stay tuned!” This is supposedly in reference to the clothing line that was announced […]

  • Portal, The Simpsons, Jurassic World & Scooby Doo packs listed for Lego Dimensions

    Lego Dimensions is likely getting a few unannounced content packs. One of which is themed around Valve’s Portal. A set of unannounced content packs for the upcoming Lego Dimensions have been revealed by US retailer Walmart. The listings include packs for The Simpsons, Scooby Doo and Jurassic World, and most interestingly, Portal. The listings have […]

  • This is the most authentic recreation of GTA 2 in real life ever

    Affordable drones have many uses. Most of them are not nearly as exciting as recreating GTA 2 in real life. I am surprised it took us this long, but someone has finally captured footage using a drone that resembles the protagonist’s experience in the classic GTA 2. These aren’t just shots of cars from a […]

  • PlayStation 4 sales reach 2m in the UK

    Sony has sold 2 million PlayStation 4 consoles in the UK, faster than it did with the PlayStation 2 – the company’s best-selling machine in the country. MCVUK is reporting that as of last weekend, 2 million PlayStation 4s have been sold in the UK. The data is based on GfK Chart-Track estimates. This makes […]

  • H1Z1 gets female characters, skin colour options planned

    In an effort to improve diversity in the game, H1Z1 developer has added female characters. Female survivors can now be found throughout the world of H1Z1. Developer Daybreak added the new feature in a patch released last Friday. You will be able to choose a female avatar in the main game and in Battle Royale. […]

  • Possible teaser site for Castlevania creator Koji “IGA” Igarashi’s new game opens

    Either Castlevania creator Koji “IGA” Igarashi is working on a soon-to-be-launched Kickstarter for his new game, or someone is pulling an elaborate prank. At PAX Prime last year, during Keiji Inafune’s Mighty No. 9 panel, a flyer was handed out to attendees that showed what appeared to be a 2D game of some sort with […]

  • Destiny weekly reset for May 5: Heroic and Nightfall strikes detailed

    Tuesday is here and Destiny’s weekly reset is also here. Bungie announced that your weekly Destiny grind has now begun. The Nightfall and Heroic strikes are now live too. This week’s strike is Winter’s Run. Rainbow burn is back for the Nightfall, which means you do more damage with all elemental weapons, but also receive […]

  • PC version of Project Cars delayed in Australia due to severe weather

    Recent weather conditions in Sydney, Australia are responsible for a slight delay of the PC version of Project Cars in the country. Sydney recently suffered from storms that caused flooding in some areas. One of those is the place where publisher Namco Bandai was storing PC copies of Project Cars. The stock was “severely damaged,” […]

  • Twitch’s new process makes it easier for streamers to appeal flagged content

    Twitch has updated its appeals process concerning videos that have been flagged by the audio ID system. Towards the end of last year, Twitch introduced a new audio recognition system that scans archived streams and automatically mutes the audio whenever copyright music is identified. The system has been in-use ever since and Twitch has today […]

  • The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt has a day one patch, but it’s not a major one

    The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt will indeed have a day one patch, to make the first-time experience as smooth as possible. Like many modern games, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt will have its day one patch. According to the developer however, it wasn’t born out of necessity. Miles Tost, level designer at developer CD Projekt […]

  • CoD: Advanced Warfare owners get free pistol today

    Advanced Warfare developer Sledgehammer Games is adding a new pistol to the game, free to all players. The M1 Irons is a new pistol that comes to Advanced Warfare starting today. The weapon is offered as a thank you gift from the developer. Sledgehammer says the Irons is good at range and packs a punch. […]

  • Fall down the Skullgirls Big Band music video rabbit hole with me

    Skullgirls is a pretty amazing fighting game, but did you know it’s also a passable music creation suite? Earlier today I was idly perusing an episode of PlayStation Underground showing off Skullgirls 2nd Encore, a re-release of the indie fighter packing in loads of new features and coming to PS4 – with full cross-play! – […]

  • The many uses of Wolfenstein: The Old Blood’s pipe weapon

    Wolfenstein: The Old Blood adds a sick new weapon to BJ’s arsenal: a pipe. In Wolfenstein: The Old Blood, a pipe is not just a pipe. Not only can you bash nazis with it, you can use it to climb walls, reach hatches, and even break through some walls. Plus? You can dual wield it. […]

  • Mortal Kombat X teaser gives first look at Predator

    Mortal Kombat X’s next celebrity guest was teased during the latest Kast. Today’s Mortal Kombat X Kast was mostly about all about Jason, but also included a very brief nod to Predator. You can watch the full livestream to see the tease in situ if you’re really keen, but IGN shared this convenient edit: There’s […]

  • Rock Band 4 has count-ins, drum fills and vocal harmonies

    Rock Band 4 will more closely emulate the feeling of being a real musician with some neat personalisation touches. For Rock Band 4, Harmonix elected to double down on player ownership of their experience rather than technical precision. To this end, it has implemented a number of cool new features. I am wildly envious of […]

  • Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z, Lost Planet 3 developer shuttered

    Spark Unlimited has gone down with all hands. The Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z and Lost Planet 3 developer has been shuttered and all staff laid off. Chief technical officer John Butrovich confirmed the news in a statement issued to IGN. “Spark Unlimited is closing as a video game developer. The ongoing opportunities for smaller mobile […]

  • PS Now subscription available on PlayStation 3 this month, Vita coming soon

    PlayStation Now’s all you can eat service has finally been dated for PS3. Subscriptions to PS Now, Sony’s cloud-based gaming service, will be available on PS3 from May 12 in the US. The all you can eat package will also be made available on select Bravia TVs and Sony Blu-ray players on the same date. […]

  • GTA 5 is even better with a gravity gun

    GTA 5 modders have made a dream come true, adding a gravity gun to your arsenal of mayhem-causing weaponry. GTA 5 isn’t ready for this. It looks like a heck of a lot of fun, but the poor old Los Santos po po can’t deal with the resulting carnage at all. If Rockstar were ever […]

  • “Mod makers should be able to make money from their creations,” says DOOM creator

    DOOM co-creator John Romero has weighed in on the paid mods debate. Paid mods are a hot issue right now. For years, Valve has been enabling content creators to make money from their work on Counter-strike: Global offensive, Dota 2 and Team Fortress 2, but when it partnered with Bethesda to offer the same for […]

  • Watch WRC driver Kevin Abbring smash through a DIRT Rally challenge

    WRC driver Kevin Abbring has been participating in Dirt Rally’s daily events – and kicking ass. Dirt Rally seems to have ticked one of the most difficult to attain boxes of racing development – creating something professional drivers like to play, and which rewards their years of experience. Codemasters published the video below showing Hyundai […]

  • Mortal Kombat X patch to bring PC version up to console standard

    Mortal Kombat X PC will be fixed tomorrow, NetherRealm has promised. The PC version of Mortal Kombat X has come under fire for poor performance, including stuttering frame rate and bugs as plenty. About 45 minutes into a recent Twitch stream, NetherRealm boss Ed Boon said an update will drop tomorrow to address many of […]

  • Destiny House of Wolves: all new Crucible maps detailed

    Destiny’s House of Wolves DLC will add four new maps to the Crucible, the game’s competitive multiplayer mode. Let’s take a look at all of them. Alex brings you new footage showing all of the four maps that will drop with House of Wolves. He goes over the layout, landmarks, gameplay styles, and other important […]

  • Custom Xbox One Star Wars controllers look very tempting

    Microsoft is celebrating May 4 by showing off concept designs for Star Wars-themed Xbox One controllers. May 4 is of course Star Wars Day and the controller concepts you’re about to see are just that, concepts. Or at least that’s what they said they are. There are four designs and they don’t look very practical. […]

  • Project Cars launch trailer is an anthology of race cars, set to the beats of Deadmau5

    Project Cars comes out this week and there’s just enough time for one last trailer. Project Cars, Slightly Mad Studios’ ambitious racer that has been in development for ages, is finally coming out this week. The racer received plenty of changes throughout its development based on community feedback and the final product will be in […]

  • Star Wars Battlefront dev reveals planet Sullust

    Sullust, a planet that has not been previously shown, will be featured in one of Star Wars Battlefront’s maps. Star Wars Battlefront developer DICE revealed today that planet Sullust will be one of the game’s locations. The planet was mentioned in the films and other Star Wars works, but was only shown today. DICE posted […]

  • Destiny House of Wolves: Tower vendor changes

    House of Wolves will change the inventory of some of Destiny’s vendors and add new roles to others. Here’s everything that has been announced so far. You know that House of Wolves will bring a new social space to the game in the form of The Reef. But did you also know that the good […]

  • Nintendo apologises for Amiibo shortages, will reissue some out-of-stock figures

    Nintendo released a statement today to apologise for fan’s frustrations in finding some Amiibo figures and promised to handle distribution better going forward. Nintendo has been criticised recently for its lack of communication when it comes to new Amiibo figures. Something which has lead fans to not know if certain figures are limited to some […]

  • Halo: MCC “a black eye for us,” Halo 5 won’t suffer the same fate, says franchise director

    The development of Halo: The Master Chief Collection was of an “outrageous complexity,” which was one of the reasons it suffered a horrible launch. None of that will happen with Halo 5: Guardians, according to Frank O’Connor. Frank O’Connor, Halo franchise development director opened up to Xbox Achievements about the difficult task of developing The […]

  • Destiny House of Wolves: weapon Reforging explained

    When House of Wolves drops in a couple of weeks, you’ll be able to change the stats of some in-game weapons. This process is called ‘Reforging’. Alex goes over all the details Bungie revealed about the new Reforging system. This covers the materials you need, the weapons that can be reforged and much more. Make […]

  • GTA 5 PC: control the in-game phone with your iPhone using this mod

    GTA 5′s latest mod lets you control the in-game phone with your real-life iPhone. Reddit user Planetleak wanted to see if he would succeed in getting his iPhone to control the phone in GTA 5. He did it and has a video to prove it. It’s not a mod per-se, but it emulates mouse and […]