Sony targets GeoHot and team over PS3 root key hack

By on January 12, 2011, 7:01 AM
Sony has filed a legal complaint against famed hacker George “GeoHot” Hotz and the fail0verflow team, which earlier this month managed to crack the PS3 root key and began spreading a modified firmware that allows homebrew apps and pirated software to run on unmodded consoles.

As explained earlier, the key cannot be changed with a firmware update, only through hardware modifications, but even doing so would render current software inoperable. In other words, pirate games will continue to surface and there’s not much Sony can do about it.

The documents accuse Hotz and company of violating the Digital Millennium Copyright Act as well as the Computer Fraud and Abuse act after knowingly cracking the PS3 open to piracy. Hotz is also accused of taking financial benefit through unlawful conduct through his public PayPal account and attempting to exhort Sony into giving him a job by claiming: “if you want your next console to be secure, get in touch with me.”

Not that getting his expertise in security would be a bad idea but apparently Sony is not taking this gracefully. GeoHot is no stranger to the hacking community as he is renowned for the work he did on jailbreaking the Apple iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad and various PlayStation 3 hacks. It seems Sony isn’t letting this one slide without a fight. For now no formal lawsuit has been filed, only a restraining order to get the root key and modified firmware taken offline.




User Comments: 27

Got something to say? Post a comment
realista69 said:

If the root key is exposed then Sony best come up with a way to follow the market and make some profits from this embarrassment. It makes no sense to do anything but go with the flow, they have already lost. No matter the case their software/hardware has been jail broke.

the only thing they can really do is quit support for the PS3 which wont happen. Just create apps so the ones who are gonna play hombrew etc can do so without causing Sony's name to be drug through the mud, kinda like create a virtual environment and allow players to develop games. Nothing can be done but to acknowledge the failure and accept what future hackers are gonna do with you hardware. Curve the market don't slam against it, you will loose Sony and only create more havoc for your reputation.

Guest said:

PS4 due soon !

Guest said:

Sony should hire this guy!!!

foreverzero89 said:

apps? news flash: the ps3 isn't a smart phone, its a gaming rig.

Guest said:

This article is innacurate as currently no back-up manager works with Geohots jailbreak, meaning there is no piracy, Geohot is 100% against it.

Staff
Jos Jos said:

@Guest there's already a report about Castlevania: Lords of Shadow being run on a PS3 with GeoHot's firmware. I'm sure others will follow. Af far as the being 100% against piracy claim, it doesn't matter if that's true or just something to cover his ass, by making the root key public others can pick up from there and work on a back up manager.

Guest said:

My major concern is that these hacks will open the doors to cheaters in online games. Ruining highscore tables and griefing other players looking to have fun.

I understand the outrage over OtherOS, but instead of petitioning to get it back; these hackers have potentially opened the doors to ruining online gaming for ps3 owner's the world over.

It's really disappointing because PSN was a good thing.

Cota Cota said:

Like i said before, a bunch of guys cant fight all the hackers in the world, they should really hire guys like this one. Some companies offer a GENEROUS price if their products get hacked, SONY should stick to this plan.

Guest said:

This reminds me of the debacle that is the PSP. When it was released it was far superior to anything else that was out there, but Sony slowly killed it with the constant "upgrades" that prevented home brew. Now it looks as though they will do the same thing to the PS3.

Benny26 Benny26, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Guest said:

PS4 due soon !

Alot of rumours are saying 2011 to 2014...Feels way too early for my liking.

Guest said:

"Alot of rumours are saying 2011 to 2014...Feels way too early for my liking."

It's actually right on time!

Playstation: 1994

Playstation 2: 2000

Playstation 3: 2006

Nintendo: 1985'ish

Super Nes: 1990

N64: 1996

Gamecube: 2001

Wii: 2006

Xbox: 2001

Xbox 360: 2005

All the consoles have followed a 4-6 years life cycle for quite some time!

Benny26 Benny26, TechSpot Paladin, said:

"Alot of rumours are saying 2011 to 2014...Feels way too early for my liking."

It's actually right on time!

Playstation: 1994

Playstation 2: 2000

Playstation 3: 2006

Nintendo: 1985'ish

Super Nes: 1990

N64: 1996

Gamecube: 2001

Wii: 2006

Xbox: 2001

Xbox 360: 2005

All the consoles have followed a 4-6 years life cycle for quite some time!

Hmmm..Yeah ok ok, but the PS3 is far more sophisticated than the other PS consoles, and i don't think it's quite been "out lived" yet...

Trillionsin Trillionsin said:

Benny26 said:

Hmmm..Yeah ok ok, but the PS3 is far more sophisticated than the other PS consoles, and i don't think it's quite been "out lived" yet...

Sony did aim at a consol that wouldnt be outdated so quickly, but in the case of pirating, they may change their mind about that.

Guest said:

Also didn't MS and Sony say they are looking for a 10 year product cycle with the PS3 and Xbox 360.

Guest said:

Homebrew is a good thing for consoles but it opens up the system for piracy. I know Geohotz stated that its not his intention for piracy but he must have realized that other hackers will use his information and use it for Piracy. He should have just hacked his system, show it to the world that the system is hacked and running homebrew without releasing any information on how he did it. If he took that route, Sony would have gladly asked him to work for them.

For those who say, "Good Sony deserves it" probably owns a ps3. If piracy goes rampant on this console, you guys will also suffer because the PS3 will be useless to you once Sony stop supporting it and developer stop making games for it. When that happen there wont be any new games left for you to pirate.

Big Corp loves it when you expose the flaws in their products without compromising their cash flow that way they can improve on it. I hope sony only releasing a TRO and not try to sue these guys for money because if Sony choose the latter, we would expect Geohotz, and FailoverFlow to release Firmware that can screw sony over even more.

Words to the Wise Sony, Just get a TRO on these guys if you know whats best for you. You dont want to piss off people who can potentially screw you even more because they have nothing to lose where as you have a entire corporation to lose. The smart thing to do is to ask for their help on how can this be minimized. These are smart individuals, if they can hack your system they will know a way to fix it or minimize the damage.

Tanstar said:

So since it's now possible to pirate PS3 games, you think developers will quit making games for it? Lots more pirating on the PC and it still gets games. Just going to make games for the X-Box 360 and . . . the Wii? Ha!

Richy2k9 said:

hello ...

SONY can't hire GeoHot for would be like a government to surrender to terrorism !

GeoHot is paradoxically Intelligent & a fool (sorry i don't want to be rude here to anyone, not even to him) .. for like some said, if ONLY he showed he could crack the system without releasing anything to the world, then would have proved how great hacker he is but still a mature one, then i would have hired him if i were SONY or MS or any other gaming competitor...NOW he'll be seen as a public enemy & i personally feel like he should pay a big fine or be jailed for this.

Hacking for homebrew has always been a hypocritical definition for pirating a system, what kind of homebrew do we want on the PS3 when it's easier & free on PC, the best development & gaming platform ever! I said so on a Playstation related site, what are we looking for: fart , scanner & torch light simulators !? If homebrew brings a whole new OS for the PS3 without stealing from others & not just Linux distros, i would say great you know how to use this machine. If it brings games like the smallest indie ones, would still be cool, but we can still dream ... this hack will bring piracy & nothing else!

I wish SONY can control this, that Geohot do grow up & other hackers wannabe learns that it's not just to show off, but a big responsibility & in their place i would seek respect not fame, then both will come with wealth & support from the big companies.

chase them down SONY / MS / Nintendo & Games developers !!! I would advise all game developers to sue people owning illegal copies on their system & to each copy add a new case against any hackers involved in the process of letting this to happen ...

cheers!

Guest said:

it just a threat.

I doesnt violate a law. there are no modifications done. What he only did is to release the root key which isn't violating laws. Sony has the money to hire attorneys to make you feel like an ant in this world.

Guest said:

"I doesnt violate a law. there are no modifications done."

You have no clue what the Digital Millennium Copyright Act actually is, do you? Any means of circumventing system security, and that includes revealing the master key to the general public, is a violation of copyright law, and has been for over a decade.

Richy2k9 said:

hello ...

reverse-engineering a hardware or software is illegal ! you own the physical component you purchase & have the right to you it as intended by the inventors / publishers ... but in any way you own the concept, content or the right to exploit it!

cheers!

Burty117 Burty117, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

According to the BBC Sony has taken them to court:-

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-12171423

kakarot27 said:

Richy2k9 said:

hello ...

SONY can't hire GeoHot for would be like a government to surrender to terrorism !

GeoHot is paradoxically Intelligent & a fool (sorry i don't want to be rude here to anyone, not even to him) .. for like some said, if ONLY he showed he could crack the system without releasing anything to the world, then would have proved how great hacker he is but still a mature one, then i would have hired him if i were SONY or MS or any other gaming competitor...NOW he'll be seen as a public enemy & i personally feel like he should pay a big fine or be jailed for this.

Hacking for homebrew has always been a hypocritical definition for pirating a system, what kind of homebrew do we want on the PS3 when it's easier & free on PC, the best development & gaming platform ever! I said so on a Playstation related site, what are we looking for: fart , scanner & torch light simulators !? If homebrew brings a whole new OS for the PS3 without stealing from others & not just Linux distros, i would say great you know how to use this machine. If it brings games like the smallest indie ones, would still be cool, but we can still dream ... this hack will bring piracy & nothing else!

I wish SONY can control this, that Geohot do grow up & other hackers wannabe learns that it's not just to show off, but a big responsibility & in their place i would seek respect not fame, then both will come with wealth & support from the big companies.

chase them down SONY / MS / Nintendo & Games developers !!! I would advise all game developers to sue people owning illegal copies on their system & to each copy add a new case against any hackers involved in the process of letting this to happen ...

cheers!

wait jailbreaking is proven legal....so i dont really see how this is ilegal. they really dont have a case against him if its the same as much as i think it is :P. i mean jailbreaking also introduced cracked applications but its not exactly his fault people used it in this way. i don't really know but i would love someone to explain this to me! why are the different? "sue people owning illegal copies" whenever i think about this i think about how i get cracked things for free....do you really thing game developer have the time and money to sue everyone with ilegal copies???? do you know how many millions of people they would have to sue to get pretty much nowhere? i also remember how france tried something like this and just find that their piracy rate has gone up.

Richy2k9 said:

hello ...

@ kakarot27 - you are talking about the Hadopi law ! ...

yes it is having the Streisand effect, the developers can sue a few & still win cases for the sale / purchase or detention of an illegal copy ... it cost more yet but can be an example ..

Oh, i think it's about time people grow up & buy what they need & look for cheap alternatives if they can't .. stop stealing hard people work & be proud to play a game, listen to music or watch a movie...

all are pretext & hypocrisy ... nothing good in piracy

cheers!

Guest said:

geohot is not as hot as he would have other believe.he rides the backs of others and try's to claim fame.he is a wannabee..just like with the iphone he has added 1 or 2 little implemints to someone elses accomplishments ..and the runs screaming look at what i did!!

sony should hire him then expose him for the fraud he is!!

and dont you guys know that these major corps. love it when they get there stuff hacked dont you relize how much money microsoft generates from it pirates..everytime they do a bann wave ..75% of banned users go buy a new console..and what do it all again as towhere these users would not normally need a new console for a couple years where microsft has made it towhere a million banned a year go buy consoles. every year.. not mention the crippled hard drive- hard drive sales..

come on pepes open your eyes...do you know how many ps3's just got sold because of this..i know alot of xbox people are even running out and grabbing ps3's. at this very moment!!

Guest said:

As if the PS3's game market wasn't already small enough. Now no developer will make games they know will be easily pirated. Btw anyone played MW2 online recently? Instant nukes, infinite ac130, health, ammo, aimbots. erasing others stats, and gun classes. Mw2 online is completely ruined now. These individuals who hacked it have no lives, they aren't givers to society, just takers. **** you fail0verflow, and **** you Geohot

Guest said:

Are you kidding me? You're trying to say that the games we play are fun? Look...they are VERY fun in the first 6 months or so of playing online. All of the 'try-hards' are doing their very best to compete, and look good. What you're failing to realize is, is it's not about 'cheating'. It's about FUN. Have you ever been on MW2, and been in a kick *** Challenge Lobby? I doubt it. There are very stupid people who host, and make you mad by screwing up certain things, and taking some things away from you, and then there's the other ones who make it awesome. They're the ones who take gaming to an entirely new level. Get over yourself. Go buy a Wii, and GTFO.

Guest said:

They need to use cartridges for further game consoles because no one can burn them

Load all comments...

Add New Comment

TechSpot Members
Login or sign up for free,
it takes about 30 seconds.
You may also...
Get complete access to the TechSpot community. Join thousands of technology enthusiasts that contribute and share knowledge in our forum. Get a private inbox, upload your own photo gallery and more.