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Sony Files Lawsuit Against PS3 Hacker GeoHot

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the poor-sportsmanship dept.

Sony 508

Kayot writes "George Hotz, or, as he is known on the internet, GeoHot, has been served court papers. Shorty after Team fail0verflow discovered faults in the PS3's TPMs, Geohot and others figured out how to extract the long sought after holy grail encryption keys. Apparently Sony is not pleased and is very keen on defending their poorly defended system with the US legal system. The basis is that GeoHot released programs that allow the signing of homebrew which can be used to make PSN-like games out of normal PS3 games. However GeoHot has never supported any form of piracy and in fact has taken a constant stance against it."

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Come on Sony! (5, Funny)

LSD-OBS (183415) | more than 3 years ago | (#34846938)

Sue that information right off the Internet! It'll work, we promise.

Re:Come on Sony! (2)

scubamage (727538) | more than 3 years ago | (#34847100)

Streisand effect in 3....2....1....

Re:Come on Sony! (0, Troll)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#34847224)

>>>Oh look, its my tax dollars at work coming to arrest me.

Cute.
A free people ought not only to be armed but disciplined; to which end a uniform and well digested plan is requisite: And their safety and interest require that they should promote such manufactories, as tend to render them independent on others, for essential military supplies.
                  ---George Washington's First Annual Message to Congress (January 8, 1790)

Re:Come on Sony! (1)

Antisyzygy (1495469) | more than 3 years ago | (#34847360)

You're a terrorist! Quick! Someone send him to Gitmo.

Re:Come on Sony! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34847374)

oops?

erk: C0 CE FE 84 C2 27 F7 5B D0 7A 7E B8 46 50 9F 93 B2 38 E7 70 DA CB 9F F4 A3 88 F8 12 48 2B E2 1B
riv: 47 EE 74 54 E4 77 4C C9 B8 96 0C 7B 59 F4 C1 4D
pub: C2 D4 AA F3 19 35 50 19 AF 99 D4 4E 2B 58 CA 29 25 2C 89 12 3D 11 D6 21 8F 40 B1 38 CA B2 9B 71 01 F3 AE B7 2A 97 50 19
R: 80 6E 07 8F A1 52 97 90 CE 1A AE 02 BA DD 6F AA A6 AF 74 17
n: E1 3A 7E BC 3A CC EB 1C B5 6C C8 60 FC AB DB 6A 04 8C 55 E1
K: BA 90 55 91 68 61 B9 77 ED CB ED 92 00 50 92 F6 6C 7A 3D 8D
Da: C5 B2 BF A1 A4 13 DD 16 F2 6D 31 C0 F2 ED 47 20 DC FB 06 70

Re:Come on Sony! (4, Informative)

scubamage (727538) | more than 3 years ago | (#34847452)

oops?

erk: C0 CE FE 84 C2 27 F7 5B D0 7A 7E B8 46 50 9F 93 B2 38 E7 70 DA CB 9F F4 A3 88 F8 12 48 2B E2 1B riv: 47 EE 74 54 E4 77 4C C9 B8 96 0C 7B 59 F4 C1 4D pub: C2 D4 AA F3 19 35 50 19 AF 99 D4 4E 2B 58 CA 29 25 2C 89 12 3D 11 D6 21 8F 40 B1 38 CA B2 9B 71 01 F3 AE B7 2A 97 50 19 R: 80 6E 07 8F A1 52 97 90 CE 1A AE 02 BA DD 6F AA A6 AF 74 17 n: E1 3A 7E BC 3A CC EB 1C B5 6C C8 60 FC AB DB 6A 04 8C 55 E1 K: BA 90 55 91 68 61 B9 77 ED CB ED 92 00 50 92 F6 6C 7A 3D 8D Da: C5 B2 BF A1 A4 13 DD 16 F2 6D 31 C0 F2 ED 47 20 DC FB 06 70

OMG! That's illegal! I'll use a quote to show everyone the thing that is illegal so they don't type it accidentally. Just doin my civic duty.

Re:Come on Sony! (1)

shakuro (1952998) | more than 3 years ago | (#34847154)

Sue that information right off the Internet! It'll work, we promise.

Just as they forced The Pirate Bay of the web by suing their founders.

Re:Come on Sony! (5, Insightful)

khchung (462899) | more than 3 years ago | (#34847200)

Sue that information right off the Internet! It'll work, we promise.

The naivety of this is amazing. When the mafia burning down someone's shop, it is not because they are trying to recup any losses, but rather to send a "Don't mess with us" message to OTHER shop owners.

Sony don't need to win anything from this suit, they just need to drag GeoHot through a very expensive lawsuit hell as a message "You better have a lot of money before messing with us!" to other future possible hackers.

This is the same tactic with the RIAA against filesharers (but there are simply too many to fight against), and the same tactic Adobe tried against Skylarov (sorry, maybe mispelled), and the same tactic the US govt is using against Assange. No different from any school bully, you mess with him, you got beaten by whatever means available.

Re:Come on Sony! (3, Insightful)

cdrudge (68377) | more than 3 years ago | (#34847246)

Sony don't need to win anything from this suit, they just need to drag GeoHot through a very expensive lawsuit hell as a message "You better have a lot of money before messing with us!" to other future possible hackers.

Yeah, because that has worked so well for the many hackers that have cracked previous consoles, developed modchips, etc.

Re:Come on Sony! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34847260)

You speak as if the same thing would be tolerated outside of America's borders. There are a thousand GeoHots waiting in the wings, as long as the scum of SONY are focused on this one, they will be left alone.
Also, y'know, the idea that a citizen should be beaten down by SONY, is a line of discourse that I'd like to see prevail in whatever pre-trial process ensues.

Re:Come on Sony! (1)

Moryath (553296) | more than 3 years ago | (#34847304)

And this is where US law ought to step in and say "no, you can't do this."

There are dozens of reasons this ought to get laughed right out of court. Anti-SLAPP statutes [thefirstamendment.org] , for one, or the judge could just issue a bench order declaring the case to be brought in bad faith and dismiss it with prejudice.

Unfortunately, US judges are brain-dead fools who follow the highest bidder and with one or two notable exceptions, have no education in modern technology. The end result has been a stream of rulings by idiots whose first interaction with technology was reading Jack Valenti's "VCR=Boston Strangler" comments in a newspaper.

Of course, the legal system doesn't help either in general. As you pointed out, the primary purpose of the legal system is no longer to decide issues fairly, but to burn up a shitload of time and money to enrich the lawyers and ensure that only gigantic megacorporations can "play" in the system and anyone else gets just squished under the weight of the paperwork. The bad judgements we've gotten because one side was a megacorporation with massive teams of lawyers and unlimited money to throw at it and the other person was a single human being trying to defend themselves while mortgaged to the hilt and relying on the scant hours of pro-bono counsel or volunteer lawyers for groups like the EFF (I like you, guys, but let's face it, volunteer time vs corporate resources!) are steadily eroding away consumer rights every day.

And don't forget that this even goes to the US Supreme Court, where legendarily crappy decisions (Eldred v Ashcroft, "even if congress set copyright at a million billion years that still constitutes a limit so it's constitutional and the no-ex-post-facto law restriction we just don't fucking care about because the MPAA/RIAA/MafiAA/Disney paid us off) fuck the consumer over too.

Re:Come on Sony! (5, Informative)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 3 years ago | (#34847378)

The problem is that they may have picked the wrong person.

What if the EFF or another firm helps him pay legal costs to fight this? He isn't pirating material, nor distributing pirated material. Sony advertised a feature and sold consoles under the guise you'd have that feature, and then removed that feature.

GeoHot didn't hack the PS3 until Sony removed functionality.

And while you can argue circumventing copyright measures is illegal for any reason according to the DCMA, this isn't a criminal case, and a federal judge has already opened the door saying jailbreaking an iPhone to get additional functionality (not piracy) is legal.

Sony could actually hurt their own case by allowing a judge to rule against them.

Re:Come on Sony! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34847424)

GeoHot didn't hack the PS3 until Sony removed functionality.

That is almost half true...

Re:Come on Sony! (3, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | more than 3 years ago | (#34847216)

This is less about putting the genie back into the bottle and more about punishing offenders to discourage others from doing the same to whatever Sony sells us next.

I wonder though. Is this a means or method of circumventing copyright protections? This code-signing thing is about the ability to create new code, not access existing code as I understand it. Am I wrong? (If so, please show me.) The DMCA only protects copyrighted material to my knowledge and a code signing key, which is more of a secret than a copyrightable or patentable thing, and I don't think it really applies in this case. (Not that it would stop sony from trying to sue under the DMCA -- after all, it seems most of the wins under intellectual property law seem to have been about exploiting weaknesses in knowledge and understanding of technology as far as I can see.)

Re:Come on Sony! (1)

MoonBuggy (611105) | more than 3 years ago | (#34847338)

This code-signing thing is about the ability to create new code, not access existing code as I understand it. Am I wrong? (If so, please show me.)

You are not wrong, but I believe Sony's argument is that (as well as allowing the creation of new code) these keys will make it easy to dump and repackage existing copyrighted code in such a way that it can be easily copied and played, presumably on unmodified systems.

Sony's attempt to ban the tool (the encryption keys) regardless of legitimate uses, rather than going after the actual copyright infringers who happen to be making use of that tool is asinine, but who knows which way the courts will side on this one. If they do decide to ban the use of the keys, they may as well follow up by banning sharpies, DVD burners, and any other useful tool that happens to also be usable for copyright infringement.

Re:Come on Sony! (2)

lennier1 (264730) | more than 3 years ago | (#34847278)

It's Sony. They'll just install another rootkit without the user's permission and block the information that way.

Re:Come on Sony! (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34847346)

The technique(hack) used by Geohot is usable on any locked core, such as TV sets, Ipods, smart phones and as well as any other DRMed hardware. Sony probably wants Geohot to keep a lid on it to prevent their other hardware root keys from being found out. If the tech was released on the Internet all encryption keys to signed hardware would be easily removed from such hardware.

While we're there (2)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 3 years ago | (#34846948)

You should be sure to take down any keys which appear on popular social networking sites.

I mean it worked brilliant with 09 F9

Paraphrasing Jay and Silent Bob SB (2)

Goodl (518602) | more than 3 years ago | (#34846954)

Sony: They're fucking clown shoes. If they were real, I'd beat the shit out of them for being so stupid. I can't believe the US legal system would have anything to do with this shit. I, for one, will be boycotting Sony. Who's with me?

Re:Paraphrasing Jay and Silent Bob SB (4, Funny)

LSD-OBS (183415) | more than 3 years ago | (#34846974)

Do you post as "magnoliafan" on moviepoopshoot.com?

Re:Paraphrasing Jay and Silent Bob SB (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34846982)

Well, look at it this way. It is probably a clear violation of the DMCA - the provision for breaking protections. As far as the information, Sony knows they can't "get it back". They also know that by suing this guy into oblivion, they make it slightly less likely that someone else will want to release similar exploits / keys for things in the future. He'll serve as a shining example of what the corporations can do to you if you violate the laws that they purchased. It's an attempt at a deterrent clear and simple. Of course, it probably just means people will be careful to make sure that the folks that release stuff like this do it in countries with different rules or find a solid way to completely anonymously release (but an anonymous release would probably have folks like GeoHot - who LOVES the limelight - think, "meh, why bother?).

Re:Paraphrasing Jay and Silent Bob SB (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34847202)

>>or find a solid way to completely anonymously release

Why, do your local internet cafes require an ID? Mine don't.

Re:Paraphrasing Jay and Silent Bob SB (1, Flamebait)

tophermeyer (1573841) | more than 3 years ago | (#34847270)

They also know that by suing this guy into oblivion, they make it slightly less likely that someone else will want to release similar exploits / keys for things in the future.

Geohot, as douchy as he is, serves as sort of a figurehead for a theoretical 'community' of hackers. He sort of serves to legitimize console hacks to lot of the more mainstream community. And by posting instructions and details he allows and encourages copycat behavior from people who wouldn't have otherwise hacked their hardware. (When I say 'he' I'm only partially referring to Geohot himself, mainly the type of hacktivist that he represents)

These lawsuits won't stop homebrew types, or really anyone with gumption, from hacking their hardware. But I think they may serve to deter more mainstream types from following someone else's instructions and doing it themselves. The only reason I ever hacked my original Xbox was because I could buy a chip on Ebay and follow an instructional video. I never would have sat down with a soldering iron to figure it out myself. That's the kind of hack that I think a lawsuit like this is trying to stop.

Re:Paraphrasing Jay and Silent Bob SB (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 3 years ago | (#34846984)

I, for one, will be boycotting Sony. Who's with me?

Sorry. Already boycotted after the rootkit thing. I want them to do something that's actually positive for society at some point. I'd love to buy some of their products.

Re:Paraphrasing Jay and Silent Bob SB (3, Funny)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#34847146)

I tried to boycott Sony, but they haven't actually made anything I want for quite a while, so now I'm just passively not buying anything from them.

Re:Paraphrasing Jay and Silent Bob SB (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34846988)

Been Boycotting them cold turkey for 5 years.

The only Sony stuff you find in my house is second-hand analog speakers and headphones
And the headphones just broke in one ear.

Re:Paraphrasing Jay and Silent Bob SB (1)

clickclickdrone (964164) | more than 3 years ago | (#34847002)

I've been boycotting Sony for years (as much as possible). Once they got knee deep in the hardware AND software side, I got nervous. They're other shennanigans with rootkits etc was just the icing on the cake for me.

Re:Paraphrasing Jay and Silent Bob SB (1)

clickclickdrone (964164) | more than 3 years ago | (#34847022)

>They're
/Their. (Hangs head in shame.)

Re:Paraphrasing Jay and Silent Bob SB (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34847024)

whoops, moviepoopchute.com doh

Re:Paraphrasing Jay and Silent Bob SB (2)

PsyciatricHelp (951182) | more than 3 years ago | (#34847256)

I have been boycotting sony for years. Hasn't seemed to make a difference. People just don't give a shit these days. they will tolerate almost anything rather than endure a small inconvenience to make a difference. Damn sheeple these days.

Re:Paraphrasing Jay and Silent Bob SB (1)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 3 years ago | (#34847392)

This isn't a criminal case. You can sue anyone for any reason. That is how lawsuits have always worked.

I can't believe some people are so stupid they still haven't realized that.

LOL, DMCA (3, Informative)

millennial (830897) | more than 3 years ago | (#34846956)

Again, the "enabling" provision of the DMCA pops up. It's like these lawyers have never heard of the phrase "necessary but not sufficient." Yes, GeoHot's tools can be used to enable piracy, but they're not enough on their own. You also need a computer. Maybe Sony should sue computer makers for contributing to the problem. Regardless, the lawsuit is over so far. They weren't seeking damages, just a restraining order over the information. GeoHot decided to put the information back up on his site, so we'll see what happens there.

Re:LOL, DMCA (3, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#34846968)

I smell the "substantial non-infringing use" defense, and Sony has handed him a credible argument to use with it: Removing OtherOS.

Re:LOL, DMCA (5, Interesting)

scubamage (727538) | more than 3 years ago | (#34847128)

And removing emulation. Both of which are features printed "on the box." I wonder if they press it if Geohot could begin a class action lawsuit? I know there's a ton of nerds out there who'd be foaming at the mouth.

Re:LOL, DMCA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34846972)

Mirror mirror on the wall....

Re:LOL, DMCA (5, Interesting)

millennial (830897) | more than 3 years ago | (#34847042)

Not to mention... This is the company that fought for fair use copying rights back in the Betamax decision. They invented a device that enabled movie and TV piracy, and fought vigorously to defend its use. How the times have changed...

Re:LOL, DMCA (1)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 3 years ago | (#34847472)

You're thinking of Sony the hardware company, as it was back then. Sony today is a Frankenstien's monster of media interests (the guys who fought against fair use), an old hardware company, and a name tag that reads "Sony".

Not a lawsuit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34846976)

Sony has filed for various motions and requests to have the material removed, but has not yet filed a lawsuit for damages.

Just wondering (1)

dtml-try MyNick (453562) | more than 3 years ago | (#34846986)

How is publishing information from/about a device you own a legal offence?

Re:Just wondering (0)

jgagnon (1663075) | more than 3 years ago | (#34847020)

There is no spoon?

Re:Just wondering (0)

91degrees (207121) | more than 3 years ago | (#34847046)

It's an offence when you're doing so primarily in order to facilitate a further criminal act. There are a lot of situations where this is the case, although it being explicitly spelled out as in the DMCA is less common. For example, drawing maps of banks, and collecting firearms, and acquiring a high performance car is perectly legal. Doing so in order to rob a bank is not, even if you don't actually get round to robbing the bank.

So the defence in this case is for the defendant to show that the purpose of publishing this information is not primarily to facilitate crime but for legal purposes such as alllowing homebrew development.

Re:Just wondering (4, Funny)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 3 years ago | (#34847076)

The DMCA makes it illegal, in the USA, to circumvent copy-prevention mechanisms on a device, or to remove copy-prevention from a piece of media, or to distribute equipment to do the same. There are a few enumerated exceptions. Initially, this meant encryption researchers could perform this work with the explicit consent of the manufacturer on the condition that they immediately inform the manufacturer if they are successful. There are now a few fair-use and accessibility provisions too. None of those apply in this case.

In simple terms, it's illegal because they passed a new law to make it illegal.

Re:Just wondering (1)

scubamage (727538) | more than 3 years ago | (#34847162)

Is having a copy of a key circumvention of copy protection? If someone leaves the key for a house that I own on my doorstep with a note saying "this is the key to the house you have purchased." Using the key wouldn't be circumventing anything. Breaking in through a window on the other hand would be. Crappy analogy, but I hope it gets the point across.

Re:Just wondering (1)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 3 years ago | (#34847208)

You're circumventing my restrictions on entry (door) by doing that. I should've mentioned, the DMCA protects restrictions on user action.

Re:Just wondering (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 3 years ago | (#34847252)

I was wondering that as well.

http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/html/uscode17/usc_sec_17_00001201----000-.html [cornell.edu] (A) to "circumvent a technological measure" means to descramble a scrambled work, to decrypt an encrypted work, or otherwise to avoid, bypass, remove, deactivate, or impair a technological measure, without the authority of the copyright owner; and
(B) a technological measure "effectively controls access to a work" if the measure, in the ordinary course of its operation, requires the application of information, or a process or a treatment, with the authority of the copyright owner, to gain access to the work.

The work is not descrambled or decrypted without permission of the copyright holder (unless someone does use this for piracy, but the defendant is actively discouraging this) and I'm not sure this is circumventing a technological measure as per this definition. Although my skill at legalese simply isn't up to the task. There are also exceptions for reverse engineering "interoperability of an independently created computer program with other programs". Once again lack of legalese skill means I have no idea whether this applies.

Re:Just wondering (1)

Errol backfiring (1280012) | more than 3 years ago | (#34847356)

Sort of. If it's a public / private key pair, you already have the public key so you can use the device, but I think it is the private key that is discovered. So you could install a copy protection circumvention application on it. Nobody says you will do so, however.

Re:Just wondering (1)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 3 years ago | (#34847168)

if you paid attention to the DMCA at all, being able to crack something basically makes its protection ineffective, there's also the argument of substantial non-infringing uses such as enabling other OS's and things like that.

so in simple terms, if geohot can afford the lawyers, they will easily win this in court.

Re:Just wondering (1)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 3 years ago | (#34847358)

The non-infringing uses that you mention are enumerated in the Act and court decisions since, and are very specific, and many of them were not continued after last year. None of the current ones apply, and the only expired one that applied was in relation to obsolete video game systems.

Re:Just wondering (1)

musikit (716987) | more than 3 years ago | (#34847282)

you know... in my mind (dont know about the legal system's mind) he didnt remove copy protection. all he did was discover a way to copy protect things that normally required sony to copy protect them. so while IANAL to me that argument doesnt hold water.

Re:Just wondering (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#34847118)

Because of the DMCA. You probably own books and music too, but that doesn't make it legal for you to re-publish them.

Re:Just wondering (1)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 3 years ago | (#34847134)

Technically 'reverse engineering' works out to be 'publishing information from a device you own'. Decompiling code to see how my competitors are doing it is also illegal.

So yeah it could still be pretty illegal - not really related to this case - but even if you 'gloss it over' in that manner, it still works out the same.

Re:Just wondering (1)

millennial (830897) | more than 3 years ago | (#34847136)

That's a damn good question, and part of the motion Sony filed tries to argue that we're only allowed to use our property the way its makers want us to:

"[GeoHot] intentionally accessed the PS3 System without authorization..." "FAIL0VERFLOW ... broadcast detailed instructions for their circumvention method ... and promised to divulge information and proprietary code they obtained by unlawfully accessing the PS3 System." (Unlawfully accessing their own property? They needed authorization to dig into their own hardware? What the hell does it even mean to own something anymore?)

There's also this funny bit: "Defendants Bushing, Hector Cantero, Sven Peter and Segher formed FAIL0VERFLOW, a hacking group, with the purpose of circumventing the technological protection measures in the PS3 System and accessing and obtaining SCEAâ€s proprietary code from within the System." Apparently, an encryption key - a NUMBER - is proprietary code. This is just like the AACS key debacle [wikipedia.org] all over again.

Re:Just wondering (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34847292)

Uh, have you not read the EULA that comes with a PS3?

You don't own a PS3, it's impossible to own a PS3. Your money constitutes a one-time payment for a perpetual rent. The hardware remains the property of Sony and they can demand you send it back to them at any time.
This is the same way the XBox 360 works.

Re:Just wondering (1)

whiteboy86 (1930018) | more than 3 years ago | (#34847182)

How is publishing information from/about a device you own a legal offence?

Sony view this as facilitating in copyright infringement (helping others in any way to do so).
Peter Sunde should be able to confirm that from prison.

Re:Just wondering (1)

Obyron (615547) | more than 3 years ago | (#34847258)

a device you own

What a trite, 20th century concept. Devices are no longer owned. They are leased from the manufacturer for the life of the product, and subject to you following their Terms of Use. Things got a lot easier after they coopted their EULA into the legal system. Welcome to the new world order.

Sore losers (1)

sprins (717461) | more than 3 years ago | (#34846990)

Big corporations are such sore losers when their DRM/lockdown/lock-in systems are broken.

If SONY were a good sport they'd be proud their signing/encryption took this long to crack.

Re:Sore losers (5, Informative)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 3 years ago | (#34847138)

From all that I have read and followed the ONLY reason it has not been cracked earlier was because OtherOS existed and removed the need to crack it from those that actually had the skill to do so. The second they removed "OtherOS" they gave a huge number of experts a reason to crack it.

Sony did it to themselves.

Re:Sore losers (1)

alexandre_ganso (1227152) | more than 3 years ago | (#34847148)

It only took so long to crack because you could tinker with the hardware using linux just fine. They shot their own foot with a bazooka by removing that capability.

Bit late now, but... (5, Insightful)

RogueyWon (735973) | more than 3 years ago | (#34846996)

A lawsuit was pretty much inevitable; Sony needs to show its shareholders that it's doing something. To be honest, I find it hard to imagine that they won't succeed in making Mr. Hotz's life very... expensive indeed. Of course, with the cat now well and truly out of the bag on PS3 security, anything they do now can't really be more than a mixture of revenge and deterrence.

The real question for Sony (and other console developers) is how they pitch the longer term response to this. With hindsight, it now appears that the long-legendary PS3 security set-up wasn't so stellar after all. Prior to Sony's removal of OtherOS, there were only tiny cracks in the wall and Sony could reasonably have expected it to last several more years. Following the removal of OtherOS, the demolition of Sony's safeguards was swift and ruthless.

One possible inference, therefore, is that Sony's decision to grant PS3 users a "walled garden" in which they could - to some extent - do what they wanted with the system was what really provided the PS3 with its 5-year immunity from piracy. The commercially-minded piracy people, and the bored teenagers who wanted to play pirated games, just weren't good enough to break a console's security (even if major flaws did exist) and the people who were good enough; they weren't interested, as they could already do what they wanted with the system.

If I were Nintendo, Sony or Microsoft, I would now be urgently investigating the possibility of incorporating a similar "walled garden" OtherOS equivalent into my next generation hardware. Yes, the numbers who might actually use it would probably be small - and yes, said users aren't worth much commercially as they probably don't buy many games, but 5 years of no piracy on the system is a pretty big payback.

Re:Bit late now, but... (1)

Durzel (137902) | more than 3 years ago | (#34847230)

Your inference argument conveniently forgets that the original PS3 hack (by Geohot too if memory serves) used OtherOS as an attack vector, so the argument that preserving OtherOS would've somehow immunised the PS3 against piracy is fallacious.

If anything I would infer that Sony's reaction to the original hack (i.e. removing OtherOS feature completely) was what frustrated the black hats. I agree it was dumb and likely to result in more focus on restoring it but let's not delude ourselves that the hackers and pirates kept away because OtherOS was available, especially when there is clear evidence that OtherOS facilitated these hacks.

Re:Bit late now, but... (3, Informative)

RogueyWon (735973) | more than 3 years ago | (#34847274)

Not forgotten at all. The original exploit by Geohot was an awfully long way from producing something that was actually usable as a means of playing pirated games on the PS3. It was one of the small cracks that had appeared in the wall and as a pay-off for 5 years of effort, it was pretty poor. The nature of the attempts to break through the PS3's security barriers changed dramatically following the removal of OtherOS. I don't deny, however, that the sheer, brazen anti-consumerism that Sony manifested in yanking the OtherOS feature from all PS3s will have had a massive "red flag to a bull" effect.

Re:Bit late now, but... (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#34847242)

Prior to Sony's removal of OtherOS, there were only tiny cracks in the wall and Sony could reasonably have expected it to last several more years. Following the removal of OtherOS, the demolition of Sony's safeguards was swift and ruthless.

The commercially-minded piracy people, and the bored teenagers who wanted to play pirated games, just weren't good enough to break a console's security (even if major flaws did exist) and the people who were good enough; they weren't interested, as they could already do what they wanted with the system.

Actually, IIRC, GeoHot started working on the PS3 just before they removed OtherOS. That seemed to be the entire reason why they removed it. Then after they did remove OtherOS, GeoHot gave up and it took a long time for any real cracks to come out. It was hardly swift compared to iPhone jailbreaks and the like.

I definitely think providing Linux was a good thing to do. I'm happy with them requiring official games to be signed too to at least give us a few years with no fscking wallhackers etc. I'm not sure there was too much point blocking off the 3D though. If they hadn't done that, there wouldn't really be any incentive to crack the system. Also I don't think they'd lose out on that many sales just because of 3D homebrew and ports of Quake III or whatever. If anything they'd probably get more sales as more people appreciate that Sony are trying to renounce their douche-nozzley ways.

Re:Bit late now, but... (1)

Seth Kriticos (1227934) | more than 3 years ago | (#34847250)

I don't think Microsoft has to worry all that much about this. The PS3 is interesting because of the Cell broadband engine and as such, has a lot of potential. It's also quite reliable. The XBox 360 has very average hardware with high failure rates, and therefore has little attraction to be opened. The WII was broken long ago, as it only has marginal security measures.

Re:Bit late now, but... (1)

RogueyWon (735973) | more than 3 years ago | (#34847294)

The 360 has also been comprehensively broken since its early days. That said, MS does seem to be able to pick up and ban modded 360s when they connect to Xbox Live, and you could argue that Live is such a large part of the 360-package that this is a reasonably large barrier to modding for most people.

Re:Bit late now, but... (1)

Eponymous Coward (6097) | more than 3 years ago | (#34847276)

The problem with the original OtherOS option is that the garden was too small. Hackers wanted access to the more specialized components (like the GPU), but they were walled off. This is enough incentive for somebody to start tinkering, to try to find a way out of the garden. Either way, the console was doomed.

Help GeoHot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34847004)

Vote with your feet. Don't buy any more games until Sony withdraws the lawsuit.

Re:Help GeoHot (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#34847268)

Compared to Sony actually removing OtherOS and other things, this IMO is not something to protest about.

If GeoHot had actually committed to re-enabling OtherOS properly then I'd be more in support of him, but he did a very half assed job and gave up pretty quickly.

They wouldn't have even disabled OtherOS in the first place if he hadn't made such a big deal about how he was going to crack the PS3!

I don't owe GeoHot anything, and Sony are not doing anything immoral here. Not going to protest anything.

Re:Help GeoHot (1)

ledow (319597) | more than 3 years ago | (#34847350)

People still buy Sony stuff? Really? Wow.

I can't name a single item I've ever owned myself that had a Sony badge on it and that I paid money for (someone gave me a Playstation once - it's in a cupboard somewhere and only got used about twice).

not only geohot is sued (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34847052)

at least, according to http://www.redmondpie.com/geohot-sued-by-sony-over-ps3-jailbreak/ (sorry, no link due to slashdot/chrome paste bug)

Fix coming... (1)

alexandre_ganso (1227152) | more than 3 years ago | (#34847058)

They will release the playstation 4. That will just speed them up into a half-baked solution, as they were expecting the ps3 to last a little longer.

I would hire this people who broke the ps3's security to help me make the new version if I were them. Hotz even talked about it.

Re:Fix coming... (1)

Abstrackt (609015) | more than 3 years ago | (#34847176)

I would hire this people who broke the ps3's security to help me make the new version if I were them. Hotz even talked about it.

Would you really hire the guy handing out copies of the keys to your kingdom? Don't get me wrong, I think it's absolutely fantastic that those keys are out there but I don't think Sony would trust him not to do it again.

Re:Fix coming... (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 3 years ago | (#34847306)

And would they want to work for Sony? I imagine they're likely to have ethical issues with developing DRM, and a belief that effective measures are impossible.

Re:Fix coming... (1)

Koby77 (992785) | more than 3 years ago | (#34847406)

Speeding up the PS4 could cause it to jump the gun, much like the Sega Dreamcast couldn't compete against the next-gen of consoles. That's not to say that the Dreamcast was a bad system, or that the PS4 would be a bad system, but the cost would be too high could be quickly surpassed by higher-performance and lower-cost hardware. Speeding up without a good reason to do so could really hurt Sony, as if the early PS3 days didn't hurt Sony's bottom line enough.

Select complaint quotes (1)

eddy (18759) | more than 3 years ago | (#34847072)

"Unless this Court enjoins Defendants' unlawful conduct, hackers will succeed in their attempts to ensure that pirated software can be run on the PS3 System, resulting in the destruction of SCEA's business."

"The explanation was broadcast live through multiple video and audio streams on the Internet [...] including in California"

There's also the bit about Californian jurist. because someone used github. It's like if I would claim jurist. on an american because they use IKEA furniture.

Re:Select complaint quotes (1)

hjf (703092) | more than 3 years ago | (#34847296)

"Unless this Court enjoins Defendants' unlawful conduct, hackers will succeed in their attempts to ensure that pirated software can be run on the PS3 System, resulting in the destruction of SCEA's business."

Ah, but sony continues to make PS2s, which have been cracked for years. So piracy doesn't destroy their business, does it?

100 "Does"? (1)

alexandre_ganso (1227152) | more than 3 years ago | (#34847086)

I do not understand the u.s. legal system. Who are the 100 "Does" mentioned in the lawsuit?

Re:100 "Does"? (1)

Even on Slashdot FOE (1870208) | more than 3 years ago | (#34847130)

They are 100 people to be named later when Sony figures out who they are. You know, the ones who were harder to identify before filing the lawsuit.

Re:100 "Does"? (1)

tophermeyer (1573841) | more than 3 years ago | (#34847308)

They are 100 people to be named later when Sony figures out who they are. You know, the ones who were harder to identify before filing the lawsuit.

That description makes it sound a little more shady than it is. It's more that Sony suspects activity from what they think are 100 different people. Sony needs the lawsuit in process before they can subpoena to figure out who these people are.

Of course, the oddly round number of exactly 100 does make that sound very shady.

Re:100 "Does"? (1)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 3 years ago | (#34847150)

A John Doe is an instance of a person you are unable to identify. Its pretty much a placeholder.

Like if you're going to sue 100 people for downloading your show - and you only have their IPs, you issue a lawsuit against 100 John Does, then fill out the information when you subpoena it.

Re:100 "Does"? (1)

RingDev (879105) | more than 3 years ago | (#34847172)

They don't know. They are list as "Jane Doe" and "John Doe" usually when the claiment wants to start things up before they know who they are sueing. RIAA cases are often like this when they are seeking injunctions/information from ISPs. They'll sue the "Does" so they can get a court order for the ISP to turn over the identities of people associated with the IP's they do have.

-Rick

Send in the Flying Butt Monkeys... (3, Insightful)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 3 years ago | (#34847096)

Leave it to a MegaCorp to do the wrong thing.

Dear Sony, All you are doing is now causing this information, that you want kept secret, to become mainstream news. Remember DeCSS? It was a minor thing until the Last batch of idiots sued the guy and it became wide spread and copied 800,000 times overnight.

So I suggest you hire some competent people to run your legal department, as they really do not know what that are doing.

Re:Send in the Flying Butt Monkeys... (1)

thomst (1640045) | more than 3 years ago | (#34847364)

Leave it to a MegaCorp to do the wrong thing.

Actually, leave it to Howard Stringer, the man who destroyed CBS News, to do the wrong thing.

Larry Ellison notwithstanding, a bigger putz you will not find.

He's basically enabling people (1)

Rosy At Random (820255) | more than 3 years ago | (#34847112)

... to do illegal things more easily (despite being personally against it). Sony should sue themselves for having such weak protection that it enabled him to enable them.

Re:He's basically enabling people (1)

GigaplexNZ (1233886) | more than 3 years ago | (#34847366)

And they should sue themselves for making devices such as DVD burners et al.

For the people who think numbers are not copyright (1)

leuk_he (194174) | more than 3 years ago | (#34847122)

Sony sues them for distributing circumvention methods and (?) devices. That is illegal in the DCMA

"Pffering to the public, posting online, marketing, advertising, promoting,
installing, distributing, providing, or otherwise trafficking in any circumvention technology,
products, services, methods, codes, software tools, devices, component or part thereof,
including but not limited to the Elliptic Curve Digital Signature Algorithm (“ECDSA”) 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 co ....

I would think however that part of the PS3 is not an effective measure since it is not an good implementation of de ecDSA algoritm. Number might not be copyrightable (maybe?) but circumvention devices are.

There are however some circumventions allowed [copyright.gov] (notice that on that page jailbreaking is legal on phones but not on video game consoles???)

If i was Sony i would scramble now to re-enable other-OS, to take away the "i am only re-enableing otherOS"argument that reverse engineers are now using.

Wait, you mean THIS key? (5, Informative)

renek (1301131) | more than 3 years ago | (#34847142)

erk: C0 CE FE 84 C2 27 F7 5B D0 7A 7E B8 46 50 9F 93 B2 38 E7 70 DA CB 9F F4 A3 88 F8 12 48 2B E2 1B

riv: 47 EE 74 54 E4 77 4C C9 B8 96 0C 7B 59 F4 C1 4D

pub: C2 D4 AA F3 19 35 50 19 AF 99 D4 4E 2B 58 CA 29 25 2C 89 12 3D 11 D6 21 8F 40 B1 38 CA B2 9B 71 01 F3 AE B7 2A 97 50 19

R: 80 6E 07 8F A1 52 97 90 CE 1A AE 02 BA DD 6F AA A6 AF 74 17

n: E1 3A 7E BC 3A CC EB 1C B5 6C C8 60 FC AB DB 6A 04 8C 55 E1

K: BA 90 55 91 68 61 B9 77 ED CB ED 92 00 50 92 F6 6C 7A 3D 8D

Da: C5 B2 BF A1 A4 13 DD 16 F2 6D 31 C0 F2 ED 47 20 DC FB 06 70

Sorry Sony, don't know how that happened. My cat jumped on the keyboard.

Contradiction Much? (0)

kevinNCSU (1531307) | more than 3 years ago | (#34847178)

Look, I don't like Sony or the PS3 but even I can see it'd pretty contradictory to claim the PS3 is a "poorly defended system" while at the same time calling the keys the "long sought-after holy grail". Either they were easy and poorly defended, or all the Nazi's that made you look for it got their heads all sorts of chopped off or turned into crumbly skeletons by the myriad of defenses. Pick one and stick with it.

Re:Contradiction Much? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34847302)

Similarly, the DMCA talks about the requirement of "effective protection". Can it really be called "effective" when it's broken? I'd call that ineffective, and therefore not covered.

Re:Contradiction Much? (1)

ledow (319597) | more than 3 years ago | (#34847316)

Nobody really started looking until OtherOS disappeared. By that standard, even DVDCSS lasted longer.

Re:Contradiction Much? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34847334)

They are the long sough-after holy grail of the PS3. I think you can agree on that regardless of the rest. They're the holy grail in the sense that with them you completely own the system and can make it do whatever you want, and they're long sought-after for the fact that it's taken 5 years to get them, which is a lifetime in console years.

At the same time it's a poorly-defender system because, once the people with the know-how decided to do so (Sony's removal of Other OS), the system was cracked very quickly. Playstation 3's cachet of having serious security only lasted as long as the people with the know-how to break it didn't care enough to. The final question then becomes whether or not paying bribes in the form of Other OS and emulation of older hardware can be considered a form of "defense."

Console Manufacturers.. Sony, Nintendo, Microsoft. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34847186)

They've got it coming to them. In a society where we buy new cell phones every few months, new computers every year, and new cars every 3-5 years on leases, it's egotistical of console manufacturers to go about thinking their hardware should have lasted this long to begin with.. They're just squeezing what they can out of a dying market.. I honestly wish there was a stronger focus on a lot less, WAY more impressive game titles, rather than hundreds of POS titles and a handful of winners over a lifetime of a console, drug out 4x5 longer than it ever should have been.

Geohot's identity (1)

Aggrajag (716041) | more than 3 years ago | (#34847222)

I don't understand why geohot, US citizen, posted all this information with his real name known to everyone? I would thought that he is aware of the DMCA.

Re:Geohot's identity (1)

ledow (319597) | more than 3 years ago | (#34847290)

Because he has nothing to hide?

He may have "facilitated" copyright infringement (and even that's a matter of opinion) but he's not involved in it in any other way. But facilitation is a bit of a problem - do I "facilitate" theft of cars when I learn that their remote keyfobs codes are insecure? Do I "facilitate" theft / criminal damage if I show someone that you can break a glass window with a hammer? It's all pretty subjective.

Fact is, he found existing security flaws and published them, like a thousand security researchers do every day. He did not condone, endorse, or assist copyright infringement (to my knowledge). So why would he *try* to hide his name and make himself look guilty? To a court, they may be suspicious enough that they look a lot more closely than they otherwise would. At is stands, on the face of it, he was pretty open about what he was doing but at no point condoned copyright infringement. So he actually comes out looking like a good guy, even in court.

Re:Geohot's identity (1)

Antisyzygy (1495469) | more than 3 years ago | (#34847340)

Unfortunately for him, looking like or actually being the good guy doesn't matter to the US civil court system.

EULA involved (4, Interesting)

igorthefiend (831721) | more than 3 years ago | (#34847234)

What's interesting if you read the complaint is that some of it is predicated on enforcing the EULA that's presented when logging into PSN and when downloading firmware updates. Have these ever been tested before in US courts?

As an owner of a PS3, I say this to GeoHot (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34847288)

FUCK YOU!

I WANT a walled garden where hacks cannot be added on to multiplayer games, and where players cannot cheat in the game to make high scores in the game.

E.g.

1. when I see someone doing amazingly fast times in Lemmings, I can be quite sure he did not cheat and that time is actually doable.

2. when I got shot by someone in an FPS game, I can be quite sure I was not a victim of an aimbot

3. when I play GT5, I can be sure no one will be cheating in the race

Now, when hacks and addons like aimbot become possible on the PS3, ruining the game for everyone, I have GeoHot to thank.

FUCK YOU, GeoHot, if you are so good, why don't you create your own company and make a better console, rather than pissing into other people's walled garden to show how 1337 you are. FUCK YOU again.

Re:As an owner of a PS3, I say this to GeoHot (2)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 3 years ago | (#34847368)

If you're playing a FPS on a console, then everytime you get shot you are the victim of an aimbot.

I said this earlier... (3, Insightful)

Suzuran (163234) | more than 3 years ago | (#34847414)

I stand by my earlier comments. Sony must either enable homebrew or it will be enabled later without their consent. This is not difficult:

First, make a homebrew/hobby developer package and sell it. The SDK and hardware provided ABSOLUTELY MUST be absolutely identical in every way to that supplied to commercial developers. Pricing should be high enough to make a direct profit (Since there will be fewer games sold for these units), but low enough to be obtainable. Say, $1500-2500 or so. There should be no software support entitlement (to control costs), and a non-disclosure agreement on any proprietary technologies in the SDK.

Second, make a homebrew/hobby version of the PSN. There is already a developer version of the PSN, and this would ensure that everyone stays separated. Access to the homebew/hobby PSN must be conditioned upon acceptance of the non-disclosure agreement. Then create some message boards or forums in the PSN. This would enable the hobby/homebrew programmers to communicate with and support one another while being assured they are in compliance with the NDA. Consider allowing commercial developers access to the hobby/homebrew PSN as well, so if we find anything interesting they get access to it too.

The third item is the only item that is really new. There should be some sort of release mechanism where games can be released from the homebrew/hobby community to the rest of the world running retail hardware. This shouldn't be free - Sony needs to pay their bills, and it would discourage releasing crap that sucks. Homebrew releases should be prevented from generating profit for the programmer, to keep commercial developers from using the homebrew SDK as a cheap substitute for the commercial SDK. The homebrew developer would pay Sony's QA costs, and once the QA passes, the release is cryptographically signed and becomes a free item in the PSN online store. If the game has serious commercial potential, perhaps an agreement could be made between Sony and the programmer for a full commercial release, with Sony keeping the majority of the proceeds. This is so there is an incentive for upgrading from the homebrew SDK to the commercial SDK if you are interested in making a profit.

It is of EXCEEDINGLY VITAL importance that the only difference between a commercial SDK and homebrew SDK be the software support entitlement and ability to generate a profit.
If there are ANY technical limitations in the homebrew SDK that are not present in the commercial SDK, people will be motivated to jailbreak, and we will have the present situation all over again.
As long is there is no reason to jailbreak the machine other than piracy, everyone wins. (Except the pirates, and nobody important cares about them.)
In addition, the presence and popularity of this homebrew/hobby SDK would also give Sony more credibility when prosecuting pirates.

This is going to be an interesting case (4, Interesting)

headhot (137860) | more than 3 years ago | (#34847462)

Because of the removal of the "OtherOS" option, Geohot can claim he was just restoring functionality that people were already licenced to have. It can be circumvention, if its restoring a feature you paid for. He could claim he was repairing the system.

This is going to throw a serious kink into the case, something that Sony has never had to deal with before in court. They may not even want to see it get to court.

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