Ah yes, the infamous George Hotz. Hacker extraordinaire. Father of the blackra1n iPhone jailbreak.

 

For those of you who don't know, this is the same GeoHot who cracked the uncrackable Playstation 3 console in January of 2010. And said crack, requiring the OtherOS function on the Playstation 3, could allow for homebrew and Playstation 2 emulation (as well as cheating and pirating, but shhhhh).

 

Perhaps getting a bit lofty, Hotz declared, "Sony may have a difficult time patching the exploit." Well, Sony fixed the security hole, and did so by releasing a firmware update removing the OtherOS feature altogether, upsetting legitimate users operating Linux on the console. Thanks?

 

GeoHot continued working on hacking the system, despite making public in July of 2010 that he had given up. And then the bombshell came: On January 2nd, 2011, Hotz posted the root keys of the Playstation 3 on his website. That officially ticked Sony off.

 

Long story short: We now have the lawsuit of Sony Computer Entertainment of America vs. George Hotz. The claims SCEA is filing against Hotz (along with associates of the group fail0verflow for assisting in the hack) are as follows: violating the Digital Millenium Copyright Act, violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, Contributory Copyright Infringement, violating the California Comprehensive Computer Data Access and Fraud Act, Breach of Contract, Tortious Interference, Misappropriation, and Trespass.

 

Phew! Sony sure pulled out all the stops here in order to not only silence GeoHot but also to make an example of him. But while they are well within their legal rights to do so, isn't this a bit extreme?

 

anon
The statement has never been truer.

 

Another famous hacking group that goes by the handle Anonymous sure thinks so. They claim that Sony's lawsuit against George Hotz is an attack against the right to free speech, and have decided to take matters into their own hands. Yesterday, Anonymous took down Sony.com and Playstation.com as a demonstration. Cool, right? Well, I guess, except that the Playstation Network went down as well. All of a sudden Anonymous' actions in support of consumer rights were ultimately hurting those very same legit consumers.

 

But that's not the bad part.

 

A radical offshoot of Anonymous has now decided that the attacks aren't enough, and are "prepared to take the fight to a more severe level" as stated by playstationlifestyle.net. The group, called OpSony, even brought down the Playstation Store. But there's an even newer group called SonyRecon, and they have been literally getting personal.

 

SonyRecon have already begun uncovering family records and personal details of Sony employees. Details like marital status, age, home address, education, and children have been released (none of which will I host on this website). They're taking it even further, now targeting the judge of the case of SCEA vs. Hotz, the lawyers, and the plaintiffs.

 

Yesterday, with DDoS attacks on websites alone, we asked the question, how much is too much? Today, we have our answer in spades. A company's desire to maintain security of their product has now resulted in an attack against them on the grounds of censorship, and it is resulting in an exponentially more invasive violation of human rights. Fight fire with fire? I suppose that is one way to look at it, but this is looking more and more like a bunch of hackers playing Batman from their basements than a true stand for consumer rights. And frankly, the demonstrated power that these hackers have is disturbing. The situation is quickly spiraling out of control, and the worst may not be over.

 

UPDATE 4/6/11: Anonymous has made it clear that they have many more tricks up their sleeve, and that what they have done so far amounts to "poking and prodding." They are adamant in that customers of Sony are not targets, but that they are collateral damage in this case. The situation continues to escalate faster than I can keep up with, so for the most substantial coverage we've been able to find on this issue, follow the consistent articles provided by playstationlifestyle.net. Be aware to expect another development , as they are planning on taking new action against Sony today, as well as their defense system, Prolexic.

 

NOOBFEEDERZ: Discuss this ongoing event in the forum thread! Voice your opinions!

 

Matt Buckley, NoobFeed

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  • At least this article is not so bluntly anti-activist as the others I have seen so far. As I stated there, the argument that taking down PSN is harming those that they vowed to protect is very debatable. One, it was announced they would take action and two, they're not shutting it down permanently. You can go a few days without a Playstation Network. I remember the days where I played games on my Playstation, those came in discform and didn't require a connection.



    As for the rest, here's some paraphrasing from earlier: "This is essentially the closest anarchist thought towards the idealism portrayed in Fight Club. How else do you propose they fight? Go to Sony corporate offices and arrange some fisticuffs with the suits? Yes, the manner in which most of these actions impose themselves is very crass, but I think it's a good thing that people are willing to rally against injustice; for 'free speech' nonetheless (granted, more the choice to do illegal things). There's benevolence to be found in a group of unnamed warriors that stick up for the common man, singled out and demonized by those in power, in any given instance. It's all a matter of perspective I suppose.


    Posted Apr 05, 2011

  • Oh man, this is beautiful. Just how much is much? only time will tell. First Amendment will be tested during these times. But to bring down Sony the way they are doing...I really applaud their power. maybe one of the hackers is called "Zero Cool" and another is called "Acid Burn" :D:D


    Posted Apr 05, 2011

  • @Daavpuke: Nostalgic views regarding when playstation games didn't need to be online are irrelevant. PSN is something that is widely used right now and it impacts a vast amount of people when it comes down, many of whom didn't ask to be stuck up for. The pulse of the majority of PS3 owners right now are more taken aback by the hackers' actions than Sony themselves. Yeah, they announced that they were going to take action, but 1) They didn't announce that PSN was going to come down and 2) They announced, not asked. So it's ok if we're affected by their attacks in a way that we didn't expect or want, just so long as we knew it would happen?



     



    Even so, DDoS attacks are one thing, but now we're talking about complete and utter invasion of privacy. People are so angry that Sony decided to enforce its TOS that they're putting employees' personal information dangerously on display. The further this goes, the more it looks like a group of people who are so impressed with themselves that they are more concerned with demonstrating their power than making any sort of statement.



     



    Never intended to take an anti-activist position on this. But this isn't peaceful protest or boycott. There's no way to be comfortable with releasing information about an employee's family. And to go after the judge and legal personnel, now you're attacking the legal system, which is way beyond attacking Sony. Where does it go from here?


    Posted Apr 05, 2011

  • *facepalms*



    Anonymous is just a bunch of /b/tards with the sense of moralism of a troll. if they have an excuse to ruin something and act like a kid with hacking skills, they do.


    Posted Apr 05, 2011

  • @Buckley:It is most certainly relevant. What ever happened to playing games on consoles? Last I checked, that's still the entire deal of it. Besides, Sony themselves marketed it as 'sporadic maitnenance' so the vast majority of folks that just own a consoles will just think it's business as usual, won't even notice an 'attack'. You, the aware person, could indeed expect some issues beforehand and get anything urgent from PSN done before; again, not a disaster to not have online access for a few days, you can still play games.



    And it is a matter of fire with fire I suppose. In the case of 'GeoHot', Sony also is pushing boundaries and has made it adamant in court that they don't give one damn about privacy, having him fly over to a different state, impounding his materials, going through his records and even going through his PayPal accounts (denied at first, but kept pushing). I see no issue in reversing the tables here; it could give some insight of what it's like when people rummage through your things without your consent. Sure, the judge might be a little far, as they're only 'doing their job'... But again, there I can see where contributing to personal vendetta's of the rich and wealthy above common sense can make you a target to the disgruntled. People have a hard time looking from the opposite perspective, so perhaps this way they can feel how uncomfortable such an intrusion can feel. I know I hate it when my landlord for instance enters my home without my knowledge; makes me queasy for days.



    I think it's peaceful enough, they're only messing with the system a little, not taking it down, not actively harming people, not  harming consumers. Chuck D y'all, Chuck D.


    Posted Apr 05, 2011

  • @Daavpuke: I still feel that it's irrelevant to say "You don't really need it anyway" when talking about whether or not a service is operational. First, it's an assumption on and generalization of the user community and how much they do or don't depend on PSN, and second, it's more of a blanket statement on the state of console gaming and what defines it, which is another topic entirely.



    But the DDoS attack thing was worth at most a smirk and a snicker. It deserved an "oh, snap," but moving on into the lives of the employees and the legal personnel earned a serious look. Sony definitely went too far, in my opinion, in violating GeoHot's privacy, but at least they were in search of the information being used against them in violation of their TOS. Now, this SonyRecon group is actively looking for any personal information possible with the simple goal of violating privacy, just because they can.



    Anonymous takes down websites, whatever. But really, this is setting a new precedent. And "Anonymous" is far-reaching enough to where, at some point, they're going to have a much harder time denying involvement in these situations such as the Westboro Baptist Church issue and the Epilepsy Foundation forum attack. I guess all I'm saying is once we're talking about broadcasting personal information of employees and law officials, I no longer consider it peaceful protest.



    It's an interesting debate from both sides, in any case.


    Posted Apr 05, 2011

  • @Buckley: I'm not saying you don't need it per se, rather that you can do without for a few days and still enjoy the same product, no harm done.



    And yup, that's basically it. Just letting them see how it feels, I guess.


    Posted Apr 05, 2011

  • I Agree with @Daavpuke on this. Most people dont even know about the attack let alone the lawsuits. Saying that PSN will be down a few days for maintenence really doesnt alarm anyone specially if a "fixed bugs" reports and "security updates" comes afterwards. (The masses are suckers for fixed bugs & security update reports). If there would NOT have been a hacker attack, and Sony would have just had server issues because of some sort of programming bug, then we wouldnt be having this exchange of ideas like we are having now. The fact that they are down because of a "malicious" group wanting to get "revenge" or expressing their view against what is being done is what really has a group of people going against them.





    Sony themselves are taking this on professional/Business level. Using any and all possible laws they can to "punish" the individual that is using his knowledge to better himself and sharing it with those who want it. My personal view on pirating is really a positive one. But one must not abuse it. In this case, 'GeoHot', is directly defying Sony. However, in all reality, he is only going at it so hard because they are getting pissed and trying to one up him and his skills. Thats my view anyways. Either way, no matter how much an individual attacks, that is no excuse to take it to the extreme with all those charges. Sony isnt really losing all much in sales over Hackers, specially in the U.S. which is their biggest market. Pirating laws are very very strict in the U.S. and hardly anyone openly admits to hacking even their toaster. So for them to start acting like their business and lively hood is in dire jeapardy because of a lone guy hacking their pride and joy...thats just over doing it. Any smart company would scout this man and hire him and his skills in the prospect of making their system truly unhackable. The Governments of the world do it with skilled hackers, so why cant private corporations do it...?



     



    Again, thats my view of things anyways.


    Posted Apr 05, 2011

  • @Dramus: I understand where you are coming from, but the DDoS attacks that brought down PSN boil down to an ironic aside and not much more.



    My problem is with the personal targeting of Sony employees and law officials by SonyRecon.


    Posted Apr 05, 2011

  • @Buckley oh i agree, on that account they took it a bit far. specially releasing info on that. Sony employees are just doing their jobs. For them to get caught in the crossfire, is well...not right to say the least.


    Posted Apr 05, 2011

  • How is attacking the family members of Sony employees and the judge of the lawsuit going to help anyone's case?

    I just don't understand these "activists". More like trolls.


    Posted Apr 06, 2011

  • So this is why PSN wouldn't work for me! I thought it was just my internet. :P  This may be a bit biased, but: Sony deserves it. George Hotz is amazing, if anything he HELPED them find a serious flaw in their system. They should be thanking/paying/hiring this guy. Not trying to put him away. Treat others the way you want to be treated, Sony. /rant


    Posted Apr 06, 2011

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