Sony Fires Back At PlayStation 3 Hackers

Sony Fires Back At PlayStation 3 Hackers

After having the PlayStation 3 opened up to hacks, custom firmware and software piracy, Sony is firing back—legally—at the groups responsible for cracking the console wide open.

According to documents featured on the web sites of hacker George “geohot” Hotz and hacking group fail0verflow, Sony Computer Entertainment America is seeking a temporary restraining order against all involved in circumventing the PlayStation 3’s “technological protection measures.” The motion for that restraining order seeks to yank those circumvention devices offline—which seems to have been effective, at least on Hotz’s and fail0verflow’s now stripped bare web sites—and restrict the accused hackers of accessing the PS3.

The motion for the restraining order against the defendants argues that Hotz’s rootkey release and other circumvention devices violate the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, knowingly opening up the PS3 to piracy.

Hotz is accused of gaining “financial benefit through his unlawful conduct” via his PayPal account. The motion names group fail0verflow as “Bushing,” Hector Cantero, Sven Peter and “Segher,” as well as numerous John Does.

The motion is also seeking impoundment of “computers, hard drives, CD-ROMs, DVDs, USB sticks and other media” that contain circumvention devices.

You can read the documents in PDF format below.

Sony Computer Entertainment America reps confirmed the filing of the temporary restraining order, but said the company does not comment on litigation.

(Thanks to everyone who sent this in!)


  • You know, this security flaw may not have been found if Sony took away OtherOS. Why did they take away OtherOS? Oh yeah, geohot. Good job there.

    • You actually believe those hacker’s excuse?

      I’m pretty sure Geohot was deep into hacking the PS3 when OtherOS was still around, only to have resurrected his previous work upon the discovery of the Jailbreak.

      Suffice to say, the hacking would have continued with or without OtherOS.

      • I can’t speak for geohot but I’m almost positive failoverflow only started hacking the console after the OtherOS feature was taken out. And as they make clear multiple times throughout their presentation they are only interested in hacking the console for homebrew and not for piracy, to the point where they did not bother hacking some functionality as it would only be useful for piracy, not for homebrew.

        As for the article, I find it kind of funny that Sony says that they can and will combat the hacks that have been found and then just take legal action. Seems to be the equivalent of ‘telling on’ them.

      • Geohot was deep into hacking OtherOS, then started showing off that he’d done it. A couple of months later, Sony pulled OtherOS.

        I think, and think many other people may agree, that the PS3 stayed secure for such a long time because homebrew enthusiasts had Linux to use homebrew, and as such, weren’t motivated to hack it. Once they had no homebrew, they started to dig in and find a way to get homebrew again, which is what failoverflow did. So yeah, I suppose ‘Nice One!’ is kinda right.

    • Sony stopped selling OtherOS capable PS3s long before George Hotz’s first attempts. Isn’t it just as likely that this act encouraged him to start poking around at the hypervisor security in the first place?

      We now know that there was no technical reason why slim PS3s couldn’t run Linux, so removing support from older consoles could just as easily be seen as a way to get rid of a legacy support burden.

  • Well done Sony.

    There’s no way that’ll be ineffective.

    Sony consumer electronics… must use the same legal team as Sony music.

  • This must be the “network” fix that Sony was promising would correct the key signing bug. I’m not sure that the legal network is going to be any more effective at plugging the security breach. Oh well, they’re a corporate entity, it was inevitable they would try.

  • Didn’t fail0verflow mention in that presentation video that there was a Paypal scam going on? If so, the “financial benefit” charge could fall flat.

  • My mate is already playing pirate copy of Castlevania: Lords of Shadow due to these hacks – its a good game apparently …

  • Circumvention devices? All the JIG clones are obsolete now that we have the keys. What are they hoping to impound, then? Basic algebra that failoverflow used to start this whole mess?

    • It is basically just a case of applying laws that weren’t written specifically for software to the case.

      Sony claims that the software and keys that have been released are Circumvention Devices. Impounding those devices basically means confiscating all copies of that information.

      It won’t put the genie back in the bottle, but if the injunction is successful it does make it difficult for others to legitimately use the information (see the DVD CSS case from a few years back).

  • I’m surprised people still release these kind of things under American flags. We’ve all seen how detrimental the DMCA is to freedom of speech, why continue to do things that just ask for it to be thrown at you?

    If I was in the fail0verflow team I’d be seeking a “press release” member who could release this kind of information without having to worry about the DMCA. There are numerous countries that allow this king of information to be published, get a member from one of those countries and have that as you “base of operations”.

  • I honestly don’t know why people still want to defend these so called hackers.

    So they want homebrew but can’t get it other than hacking. Have a cry. You expose a possible crack for piracy and affect all of us JUST because you want your stupid homebrew?

    You know this will eventually lead to even more closed up systems and ridiculous DRM.

    Teach these guys a lesson before my PS4 requires a retina scan before I can play..

    • I am not sure how we got to the point where people not only believe that they have no rights to do what they want with what they buy (not lease or rent) but actively defend those that have bought their laws for no consumer benefit.

      You have bought your console – if you want to paint it pink, put another console inside or wire other chips to it, it is yours to do with as you please.

      Can people just take a step back and look at the situation we are now in? Do you all really insist on being told what you can and cannot do with the things you have purchased? Maybe you defend region locking too as a positive step forward for the consumer?

      Each time these steps are accepted, then the corporations go a step further in reducing your personal freedoms and lobbying governments for the increasing of the penalties opposing them. It does not make one look forward to the future.

      • If you actually read the T&Cs that you agree to when you first set up your PS3, and again when the firmware gets updated, you’ll see that these people have broken a big chunk of the agreement they voluntarily entered into. If they didn’t agree with the conditions they shouldn’t have agreed to them. They are NOT occupying any kind of moral high ground here, and fully deserve to have a very heavy book thrown at them.

        • People like you should go to hell!

          T&Cs are not the law and they sold it before showing the T&C and in doing so making it invalid!

          • Actually, it’s people who make agreements then blatantly, deliberately violate them that should go to hell because those people are scum. Whether that’s a legal contract or just a verbal agreement doesn’t make much difference as far as I’m concerned. Don’t agree to something if you’re not going to stand by your agreement.

            And if you don’t like the T&C then don’t agree to them – return it to where you bought it.

          • The T&Cs only state that you void your warranty should you break it. If somebody chooses to take that risk, then that’s their own prerogative.

            In that situation, they can choose to do whatever they wish with said purchase. That said, they certainly won’t be getting any tech support. ^^

          • No, it’s not the warranty. It’s the software licence agreement for the PS3 firmware itself. And section 2 of it makes it pretty clear that you agree not to do exactly what these people have done.

          • Well done at being the only person who has actually read the T&Cs… I wonder if that makes you the only person beholden to them?

            I hesitate to reply as given the responses on nuclear factories out of shoe boxes… but it does pay to remember that it is only a prison when you can see the bars.

      • No, you and everybody who agrees with this argument is wrong.

        I think you should take a step back instead. If I buy a shoe factory in a residential area and turn it into a nuclear waste plant, is it ok? I bought it and its mine so why can I not do what I want with it.

        If the counter argument is “LOL of course you cant, that would affect everybody in that area LOLOLOLOL!!!!!!!!one”…

        then there you have it. Doing something that affects only YOU is fine, but when it extends to others directly or indirectly, it should be stopped.

        Why increase the chance that corporations would spend more money into security, with the ultimate cost paid by consumers? Why increase the chance that they experiment with more and more ridiculous DRM? So yes it affects me and you, just because some people you don’t even know wants their homebrew.

  • If you don’t want a Sony ps3 then don’t buy a ps3. Seriously I don’t know what you buy a ps3 for but I bought mine as a gaming console and a blue ray player which it does fine without linux… These people are pretentious bell heads who have actively made it easier to break the law. In this case the ends does not justify the means.

  • We are truly inspired that @geohot and his fellow visionaries have such benevolent intentions when circumventing various firmwares. They cant help it if certain ne’er-do-wells utilise their kindness for illegal activities. Nor that the rest of the world views them with such ignorant disdain.

    If it can be done, then science- in this specific case, computer science- demands that it MUST be done. Knowledge for knowledge’s sake.

    Yours in megalomaniacal cackling,

    Drs Victor Frankenstein, JR Oppenheimer and Alphonse Mephisto.

    • Dude, welcome to the real world. Everything that can be done by science is done by science. Sometimes it’s done in different countries to avoid bans. Sometimes it’s done under the cloak of secrecy. But it’s always done.

  • I want to use the emulators that have popped up because of this jailbreak stuff.

    But Sony finally pulling the lawsuit card on these guys is Sony’s version of “oh shit, we can’t fix this, so it’s time for the law to step in”

  • Let’s understand Sony here. We don’t buy our consoles. We pay our flat out fee, a few hundred dollars, then that covers all the rental costs of our consoles.

    Sony owns the consoles and so they have the right to sue anybody that tampers with their property.

    We are in the wrong here, thinking that the console is ours. We can’t just do as we want with rented property, that’s just stupid.

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