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Tech Tuesday – Sony Sues Hacker, Gets His PS3 (Updated)

George Hotz, aka geohot, was one of the many people who worked on the jailbreak for the Apple iPhone, which allows iPhone owners to load apps and software on the phone not approved for the iTunes App Store. He’s now hacked the Playstation 3 and Sony is not pleased. Sony has posted a response.

Based on the work of another hacker group, Hotz wrote software that would allow the loading of a custom firmware that would allow the PS3 to run not only home brewed games, but pirated software, without any physical modifications. The work was based on a flaw in the PS3’s security that is supposed to keep this from happening.

Once Hotz released his code on the internet, along with videos on how to use the software, Sony filed a lawsuit under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, to have the software and videos taken down. Hotz has complied with U.S. District Judge Susan Illston’s order telling him to, but software and videos are still out there, downloaded by people before the order was issued, and is showing up on different websites.

Photo: Alex Grimm/Getty Images

Also in the suit, Sony has demanded that Hotz turn over all hardware, his PS3 and his smartphone in connection with the case. According to a story on Wired, Judge Illston granted the motion, but with the order that Sony “is only entitled to isolate the information on the computer that relates to the hacking of the Playstation”. Hotz’s attorney Stewart Kellar, argued that this would be giving Sony the ability to look at every file on Hotz’s computers, the judge responded

with “That’s the breaks”.

Sony has also asked the court for subpoenas for various PS3 hacking sites, for the real names, account info, IP addresses and other information, to start building cases for other lawsuits it plans on bringing to try to stop the hack from spreading any more.

The court denied this request, but it’s expected Sony will appeal. For all the effort Sony is putting into this, it’s not making much of a difference. I did a few searches and was able to find and download the software, pretty easily. I deleted it afterward because I don’t own a PS3 so it’s no use to me. But it proves that once something is on the internet, it’s very hard to get it off.

Here is a link to Sony’s response to the hack.

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