Sony sues PlayStation 3 hackers

Sony has filed a lawsuit against hackers who recently uncovered and posted the root keys to the PlayStation 3.

The complaint, which was filed yesterday in the US District Court for the Northern District of California, alleges that George Hotz, Hector Cantero, Sven Peter, two individuals known as “Bushing” and “Segher”, and up to 100 others are “computer hackers” and that they “individually and in concert … bypassed effective technological protection measures” in the PlayStation 3.

A number of the defendants are part of a hacking group called fail0verflow, which claims that it does not condone or support piracy and that it did not publish any code or keys on its website. 

That accusation lies with Hotz, who published the root keys on his website. He said he does not condone piracy, but the keys in question are what makes the PS3 recognise software as authentic and could be used to bypass security measures so that pirated or unsupported software can be played.

“I am a firm believer in digital rights,” Hotz told the BBC. “I would expect a company that prides itself on intellectual property to be well versed in the provisions of the law, so I am disappointed in Sony’s current action.”

He said that after speaking with his legal team he believes Sony has no basis for this lawsuit.

That may be so, but currently he and the other defendants are levelled with a number of serious charges, including: accessing confidential information on a computer; intent to defraud and obtain value; knowing the transmission of code; intentional and reckless damage and loss; trafficking in password; and intent to extort.

All of the above is deemed by Sony to have caused it “irreparable injury”, including monetary and reputational loss, not to mention the loss of control over the security measures on its device, which it says it has invested millions of dollars on.

The defendants were also issued with temporary restraining orders, orders of impoundment and orders of show cause.

Sony is apparently working on a way to counteract the hack, but some believe that it will be impossible for the company to use an update to the firmware, as removing the illegitimate software  runs the risk of removing the legitimate ones also.