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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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    Knights of Pen & Paper 2 is very serious business so please enjoy this very serious trailer. “Return to the dicey world of Knights of Pen & Paper for a new turn-based adventure, where players get to take on the role of players, and also of the game’s encounter-designing, rules-laywering GM in a fully customizable […]

  • Amplitude looks amazing in new gameplay trailer, has a team multiplayer mode

    Amplitude may have been delayed but we still get something this March: a fine new gameplay trailer. Amplitude is coming to PlayStation 3 and PS4 sometime in northern summer. It’s a reprisal of Harmonix’s classic rhythm action game, a forerunner to its later efforts with Guitar Hero and Rock Band, and was crowdfunded. Update: Turns […]

  • DayZ creator’s “crazy”, “esoteric” next game developed with Improbable

    DayZ creator Dean “Rocket” Hall has dropped the first vague details of his new game project. “I do not want to make safe games. I do not want to make games the way we have been making them. What if the most experienced video game staff in the world collaborated on the most esoteric and […]

  • Battlefield Hardline will support AMD’s Mantle

    AMD has confirmed what most Battlefield fans thought. Battlefield Hardline will indeed support Mantle. Battlefield Hardline will support Mantle, AMD has confirmed. Some players weren’t sure whether the retail version of the game will support AMD’s API, due to its absence from the recent PC beta. AMD did not say whether the feature will be […]

  • Unreal Engine 4 GDC 2015 sizzle reel shows what the tech can do

    Unreal Engine 4 is a pretty versatile bit of tech, as this new sizzle reel shows. As one of the more ubiquitous engines, Unreal will be on show at GDC this week. Developer Epic produced the following sizzle reel to quickly demonstrate what it can do – cutting edge graphics (there are very few games […]

  • Survarium’s latest patch removes limit on battle ammo, rebalances experience gain

    The latest Survarium patch has readjusted the value of experience and reputation points gained and removed the limit to the maximum amount of ammo you can use in combat. Survarium developer Vostok Games has released patch 0.27a to the public, having recently finished testing it. The patch is a major one and covers changes to […]

  • The Hunt Begins in new Bloodborne TV spot

    Bloodborne is so close you can almost smell its coppery tang on the wind – and also you can watch commercials for it. Bloodborne arrives on PS4 at the end of this month (March 24 North America, March 25 Europe, March 27 UK) so excitement is starting to build. Sony isn’t helping keep us calm […]

  • World of Warcraft: you’ll soon be able to buy game time with gold

    Blizzard will soon allow World of Warcraft players to exchange in-game gold for game time and vice versa. Blizzard has announced a new system that will launch soon for World of Warcraft. The system is called WoW Token. Using this system, players will be able to buy game time using in-game gold. Here’s how it […]

  • 3D Realms’ Bombshell returns with the first gameplay trailer

    Remember 3D Realms’ Bombshell? The isometric ARPG that was announced last year? Well, it’s back, and we get to see gameplay footage. The game stars Shelly “Bombshell” Harrison, a bomb technician turned mercenary with a mechanical arm. She will embark on a quest to rescue the president and save Earth, all while shooting aliens. The […]

  • Unreal Engine 4 is now free for everyone to use

    Epic Games has made Unreal Engine 4 available for anyone to download and use, for free. Unreal Engine 4 is now free. Anyone can download it and start using it, the developer announced today in a blog post. The download features the the full set of tools used by Epic, and includes 100% of the […]

  • Call of Duty European Championship winner announced

    The winner of the European round of the Call of Duty Championship has been announced. This past weekend, 28 teams representing UK, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Netherlands, Sweden, Finland, the rest of Europe and Middle East attended the final of the European round of the Call of Duty Championship. UK team Epsilon eSports was crowned […]

  • GOG brings back Insomnia sale with discounts up to 90% off

    GOG.com is bringing back its Insomnia sale event with even more games. GOG’s Insomnia sale is back with double the amount of games. This year, there will be two sets of games available at once. The sets are seasoned classics and fresh new titles. Each set will feature games with discounts up to 90% off, […]

  • 2K is shutting down NBA 2K14 online servers, won’t affect career save files

    2K will be shutting down the servers for NBA 2K14 this month. The publisher revealed yesterday that online servers for NBA 2K14 will be turned offline on March 31. “You will no longer be able to play ranked games/online association,” reads the announcement. NBA 2K14 relied on online servers to store save files for MyCareer […]

  • One Dead or Alive tournament organiser is proposing ban of “over-sexualised” costumes

    A Dead or Alive tournament organiser has suggested a soft ban on some of the game’s “over-sexualised” costumes, and not everyone is happy. Tournament organiser “The HuBBs” took to the FreeStepDodge forums to suggest a list of rules that other offline tournaments can follow. The list goes over stages, characters, moves, which is certainly in […]

  • Destiny: all the news from Bungie’s open house Q&A

    Bungie hosted an open house Q&A session with the community last week and lots of exciting news have come out of it. Arekkz Gaming has gathered all the information that came out of Bungie’s open house Q&A in one handy video. The list is massive, going over Exotic weapon balance, upcoming events, PVE, Crucible rewards, […]

  • Elite: Dangerous and Star Citizen to honour Nimoy with in-game memorials

    Developers behind space exploration games Elite: Dangerous and Star Citizen will honour the memory of Leonard Nimoy through in-game memorials. The develops of both games have confirmed separately that in-game memorials will be established to honour the memory of the late Star Trek actor, Leonard Nimoy, famous for playing Spock. Elite: Dangerous executive producer Michael […]

  • Deal: get a PlayStation 4 + three exclusives for $399

    Amazon’s latest PlayStation 4 deal is not one to miss. With purchase of a PlayStation 4 console from Amazon in the US, the online retailer will throw in digital codes for Infamous Second Son, Killzone Shadow Fall and The Last of Us: Remastered, all for the same MSRP of $399. The Last of Us Remastered […]

  • Destiny: this is how one player predicted House of Wolves details and Xur’s inventory

    The method one Redditor possibly used to leak some details from Destiny’s House of Wolves was the same one he used to predict the inventory of Xur: Agent of the Nine. Last week, Reddit user Megamanexe4 leaked a few pieces of House of Wolves expansion content. The leaks included strikes, new Crucible mode, and a […]

  • Mortal Kombat X is coming to iOS… as a card-battler

    Mortal Kombat X will be releasing on mobile devices in some form, just not the one you except. Mortal Kombat X is coming to Android and iOS devices as an extension of the main game. It will launch in April alongside the console versions. The mobile game will be part card collecting and part fighting […]

  • Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain announcement coming this Wednesday

    Kojima Productions will unveil something about Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain this Wednesday. Metal Gear Solid fans should standby for a Phantom Pain-related announcement on Wednesday, March 4. According to developer Kojima Productions’ Twitter, there’s going to be an announcement at 2pm GMT on Wednesday. The developer posted the following image. The image […]

  • Reader survey: time to let us get to know you better!

    We’d really appreciate it if you could fill in this survey about the websites you read and the games you buy. It massively helps! You can fill out the survey right here and obviously all the information you supply is confidential. It helps us build a better picture of the people who read our site […]

  • Battlefield Hardline Premium: here’s everything you get for $50

    Battlefield Hardline’s Premium membership will give players access to 4 new features, early access to expansion packs and more. EA detailed the offer today – it costs $50 in total (£40 in the UK) and gives players a whole bundle of new gear and content. Check it all out in handy list form below: Masks […]

  • Hayter’s gonna hate: the voice of Solid Snake wouldn’t answer my Metal Gear question

    Voice actor and Hollywood writer David Hayter discusses the differences between movies and games. And politely declines my leading question. “It might be fun to do a crazy, over-the-top film version of Saint’s Row.” Yeah, that headline is a bit cheap but you’re reading the work of a man who once asked the maker of […]

  • Xbox One bundle gets £100 price cut in UK

    Microsoft has knocked up to £100 off Xbox One bundles in the UK. The Xbox One with Kinect Assassin’s Creed bundle is now £100 cheaper and comes with a free £20 voucher to be spent on the official Microsoft online store. Over on the Xbox online store there’s a £70 price cut on the white […]

  • Pokemon Shuffle downloaded 1m times, free stuff given out to celebrate

    Free-to-play 3DS title Pokemon Shuffle has been downloaded over 1 million times. As a reward for playing the match-3 puzzle game Nintendo has gifted players a Complexity -1 item for free. The item reduces the difficulty of a level, according to Eurogamer. By all accounts Pokemon Shuffle is a cynical game with poorly implemented microtransactions. […]

  • Trine 3: The Artifacts of Power sure is pretty

    FrozenByte Games has revealed Trine 3, due for release in 2015 And what better way to reveal a new side-scrolling adventure than with a very pretty trailer full of gameplay? The latest in a series that has already sold 7 million copies is earmarked for PC and “other” formats. Trine 2 released on PS3, PS3, […]

  • Dying Light takes UK number one

    A month since it was released on digital platforms, Dying Light’s physical release has topped the UK charts. Techland and Warner’s zombie survival game has proven to be one of the big hits of the year so far. It was released on digital formats a month ago but has only just been released on good-old […]

  • GTA 5: that’s some seriously accurate grenade throwing

    Think you can take down a jet plane with a grenade throw? This guy can. In fact, he can do it twice. This is in a variation on the player-created deathmatch “Stunters Versus Snipers” which seem to be all the rage in GTA Online at the moment. One team has a sniper rifle (and grenades) […]

  • Metal Gear Solid 5: Mother Base turns pink in the morning sun

    The Phantom Pain looks nice even when Kojima just takes a quick pic with his phone. Look at that beauty. We get nice reflection in pink at the first gray of dawn. pic.twitter.com/aERTBoZT9z — HIDEO_KOJIMA (@HIDEO_KOJIMA_EN) March 2, 2015 The game doesn’t have a release date yet, which makes us a bit nervous for it […]

  • Dying Light: Underpant Gnomes and 9 other secrets you missed

    Dying Light still has legs – maybe because it’s crammed full of secret things to discover. Ten of those have been highlighted by TerraMantis’ latest YouTube video, including reference to the Underpant Gnomes, guitar lessons, farting zombies and well, we don’t want to spoil it for you. Even if you think you’ve seen everything in […]

  • Resident Evil: Revelations 2 Raid Mode dance gestures are deadly

    Why blind ‘em with science when you could kill ‘em with dance moves? revelations raid When I say Resident Evil: Revelations 2‘s Raid Mode dance gestures are deadly, I’m not being figurative. If you finish the first chapter of Revelations 2 you can unlock Gina for use in Raid Mode. All characters can use gestures […]

  • Dragon Age: Inquisition mod enables male Blackwall romance, terrific joke

    “Male Inquisitors can now scale the wall,” says a clever Redditor. A new Dragon Age: Inquisition mod removes Blackwall’s romantic restrictions, allowing male Inquisitors to chat up the fuzzy-faced warrior. Blackwall doesn’t have any race preferences, so you’re good to go there. Dragon Age: Inquisition romance mods are pretty common by now, and to be […]

  • Destiny: it is possible to solo the Weekly Heroic

    Destiny players willing to faff about with their system clock can solo the Weekly Nightfall if they prefer. The Weekly Heroic is one of Destiny‘s toughest challenges. Responding to player feedback Bungie implemented matchmaking for the Weekly Heroic, but there are players who genuinely prefer to go it alone. There’s now no legitimate way to […]

  • Clayfighter remaster on the way, says Interplay

    A Clayfighter remake is inbound, apparently. Interplay has announced a Clayfighter remaster, combining the content of all past games into one package. Features include: Characters such as Bad Mr. Frosty, Blue Suede Goo, Earthworm Jim, Hoppy, Boogerman, Tiny – and more with over 20 characters total Over 20 familiar environments from the series to duke […]

  • The quickest way to climb in Dying Light

    Dying Light players! Are you sick of picking your way carefully up the sides of tall towers? Have I got a trick for you. The parkour system in Dying Light is okay, but climbing anywhere especially high can be a bit tedious. Enter Jesse Lester, who took a look at the tools available and worked […]

  • Bungie “always” looking at Exotic changes for Destiny updates

    Destiny developer Bungie won’t stop tinkering with Exotic weapons. In Destiny, Exotic weapons are supposed to be the best of the best – and to feel unique. Guns like Ice Breaker and Gjallahorn definitely hit the mark there (although less so when everyone has one), but unfortunately, there are a few that just don’t strike […]

  • Is Uncharted 4′s first trailer a tribute to Crash Bandicoot?

    Uncharted 4′s first proper trailer bears some remarkable similarities to the opening moments of a much earlier Naughty Dog game. Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End has more in common with Crash Bandicoot than you might think. It’s Naughty Dog’s first game on a new console, yes – but if you compare Uncharted 4′s E3 2014 […]

  • Sonic console games will continue, says Iizuka

    Sonic Team leader Takashi Iizuka has said there are no plans to stop making Sonic games. Sonic hasn’t retired from the ranks just yet. “Please rest assured, I personally have no plans to stop making Sonic games for home consoles,” Iizuka told 4Gamer [Japanese]. The comment arose after the site asked if Sonic would become […]