Sony takes legal action against PS3 hackers
On their web sites, George Hotz, who became known for his iPhone and PS3 hacks, and the fail0verflow hacker group, have published three statements of complaint made by legal representatives of Sony Computer Entertainment America (SCEA) against Hotz and four alleged members of fail0verflow at the District Court for the Northern District of California in San Francisco. In their motion, Sony's legal team accuse the hackers of having successfully bypassed the PlayStation 3's copy protection and of having released various software tools and the "metldr root key".
This apparently allows unauthorised parties to decompile, modify and renew the signature of the PS3's firmware. It allegedly also allows any type of software to be signed for non-modified PS3 consoles, which causes this software to be recognised as legal and enables it to be played back on such consoles. The first PS3 games that were copied illegally, based on the hack, have allegedly already appeared and are circulating. The motion says that this has caused SCEA considerable economic damage and loss, although no figure was stipulated.
While the members of fail0verflow didn't directly publish the security key, they were accused of releasing detailed instructions on how to extract the key at the latest congress of the Chaos Computer Club, recently held in Berlin (video footage). This information and further conversations with the hackers allegedly enabled Hotz to extract the metldr root key and publish it on his web site. The hackers reportedly also shared their information via such services as YouTube and Twitter. According to Sony's motion, this constitutes a violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA).
Sony has proposed a restraining order to prevent the circulation of the instructions on how to bypass its security system, and an order to impound all of George Hotz's computers and storage devices which allegedly contain this information. Although George Hotz reportedly shared the software tools and keys free of charge, he allegedly asked for donations to a PayPal account and has, therefore, also been accused of deriving financial benefit through his actions. Hotz and fail0verflow said that they bypassed the PS3 security system because of a Linux installation option that was officially provided by Sony. They said that they didn't collect any donations or payments, and that such requests were bogus and put on the internet by scammers.