Several Sony PlayStation sites are unavailable this morning thanks to what looks like a distributed denial of service attack launched by Anonymous. The hacktivists have left the Scientologists alone in order to harass the console-makers because of Sony's action against two lads for jailbreaking PS3s. In a strangely self- …
Getting a bit breezy, Sony?
"They that sow the wind, shall reap the whirlwind"
I don't see Sony being as stupid as ACS:Law was. I expect Sony to appear to ignore the ddos, and not bait anon any further, whilst working with the authorities to get the hacktavists on charges.
Must say though it couldn't have happened to a more deserving company.
"Must say though it couldn't have happened to a more deserving company" - Why?
Why say that? What has Sony really done wrong other than pursue legal action against a couple of idiots who infringed their intellectual property, caused (or attempted to cause) significant harm to one of Sony's core product lines as well as harming their business partners (the game developers); promoted piracy and inconvenienced millions of legitimate PS3 customers all over the world?
Oh yes: "allegedly".
I for one, really hope "Geohot" gets the book thrown at him in court - he thoroughly deserves it. I'm also very much against these "Anonymous" f**kwits (can I say that on El Reg?) and their DDOS attacks because really, the only people they hurt and inconvenience are all the completely innocent consumers who might actually quite like to access Sony's websites or play a few games on their PS3s.
I just don't get the schadenfreude over Sony's situation - they make consumer entertainment products; they're nothing like the Scientology or Wikileaks stories (or ACS: Law for that matter) and unless you're a hacker who engages in practices of dubious legality, this legal action has little adverse effect on you.
abc and/or 123
"Anonymous" f**kwits (can I say that on El Reg?)"
Regrettably, you can; I believe the correct word is "fuckwits".
What have they done?
Take away linux from the ps3. Or online gaming. You now have a choice of one of those two advertised features.
Sue kids who are hacking their ps3s, that they own. Sue them for a lot of money. Chokolo in particular was interested in linux only and is on the receiving end of a million euro suit.
Rootkit people's PCs
Be a major part of the MPAA and RIAA and their campaign of lawsuits and misinformation.
is any more needed?
At what point
Just a question, but at what point does it stop being (the recently legalized) jailbreaking and start being (the still illegal) DMCA removal of copyright protection features?
If Sony were only going after those who were pirating software, fair enough, but this is not the case. They are going after people who have re-enabled an advertised feature of the console that Sony (arguably unfairly, in the 'unfair contract term' sense) removed. As far as I am aware, these people are not promoting piracy any more than manufacturers of blank CDs, etc. If I recall correctly, many of those involved have been at pains to distance themselves from pirates.
Also, they have not 'inconvenienced millions of legitimate PS3 customers'. I own a PS3, and since I don't use Linux on it, I have been inconvenienced not one jot. In fact, the only PS3 users that have been inconvenienced by the whole saga would appear to be those who have been inconvenienced by Sony, who now have to choose between using their console for Linux, or using it for games.
By the way, I think this is a good opportunity to reiterate the difference between a hacker and a cracker. When you talk about hackers, you almost certainly mean crackers (those who break into systems illegally), rather than hackers (those who find creative uses for software and/or hardware*). As a professional software developer, I am proud to be a hacker, and also proud to not be a cracker.
*Actually the precise meaning of the term comes from a derivation which is not even related to computing, where 'hackers' would find ways of getting to areas not normally accessible to the publi, such as roofs and steam tunnels. The term originates from the activites of a group at MIT in th '60s and later gave its name to a group of early home computer pioneers.
Still everyone's forgetting
You own the hardware NOT the firmware and NOT the software, you license that the same as any other commercial code-based product.
SONY shouldn't really have rescinded the OtherOS option IMHO but it's their prerogative. If you want to run Linux that bad just get a cheaper-than-a-playstation3 secondhand PC for god's sake. What the obsession with some imagined right to run Linux on a PS3 is I don't know. Does it really do something magical that Linux on any-other-platform doesn't do?
Watch the thumbs-down icon counter go for gold...
Rootkits, for one.
Be careful ...
You can say "fuckwits", but you'll get a two-story ban for swearing if you do.
Thanks to g e
...for pointing out the blindingly obvious difference between "hardware" (which is yours to with what you like) and firmware / software which are Sony's intellectual property and which you are most certainly NOT allowed to mess around with to your heart's content.
With the greatest respect, Loyal Commenter, if you really are a software developer, I would have thought you'd understand that the actions of these hackers / crackers involve making unauthorised changes to software / firmware which the relevant rights owner has every entitlement (some would say obligation) to defend. The rootkits saga... fair enough, but that wasn't the reason Anonymous started this whole farce, was it? And it has nothing to do with the PS3.
As for the loss of OtherOS on the PS3... I would be fairly confident that 99%+ of PS3 owners didn't even notice, let alone care. Yes, it was a shame that it happened, but the person to blame for that is our friend George Hotz because he was the one that pushed too far against the boundaries of the playpen Sony had provided.
It was a sad move, but it was perfectly legal - yes Sony offered the choice of OtherOS or online gaming, but they are perfectly entitled to change the terms of access to PSN (which is, after all, a free service) and if you didn't want to accept them (and the firmware update they required) then that's your choice.
Sony owes an obligation to games developers and publishers to take steps to protect its platform against piracy. I know people would love to believe that hackers are all acting in their own hobbyist interests but that's patently not the case. Why did Hotz take such delight in publishing the PS3's root keys on the internet? Is he really so stupid that he didn't realise this was like waving a red flag at a very, very big bull? Of course not - he's living off his own massively inflated ego and delusion that he's somehow above the system. He did it because he knew it would be picked up by pirates and damaging to Sony. The sooner he and people like him are cut down to size, the better for everyone involved in the gaming, software and technology industries.
You forget, _at_its_time_, the cell was (not is... since they pretty much killed it now) a pretty remarkable processor, despite its quirkiness. At a time when multicore intel chips were costly, you could get a PS3 and mess with asymmetric multiprocessing. It was/is still quite fun.
That is why I bought my first PS3. But indeed I take your point, Intel PC's have since advanced.
Still there are people who would want to mess with PS3's however. I am one of these.
Reasons? Probably same reason some people do airfix models or model trains or jigsaws. I see these other pursuits as pointless but I respect that from another persons point of view they may feel otherwise. Anyway, to continue...
Maybe there is something in small print somewhere that says Sony have the right to change their firmware at any given time. But understand this, initially Sony openly supported and encouraged OtherOS. This has been argued before as a reason why the platform was finally hacked so late. Most were content with the hypervisor exposed model we were given, which was just about good enough to boot a linux and mess with the cell.
Now Sony tells us: Linux xor PSN/new games. How do you think we feel?
When you circumvent copy protection it becomes illegal.
Removing restrictions on what your console can load is not circumventing copyright so long as the process doesn't also allow the device to boot copied software.
Hire them not jail them.
Such "hackers" have skills that would be useful to governments and companies. They should be hired not jailed.
Fast forward a few years and you have some data you need to access in an obsolete DRMed format. The maker of that DRM is out of business or doesn't want to help you. Who are you going to turn to?
Getting digital data off old hardware is hard enough, look at the 1980s Doomsday Book for an example of that. So throw DRM into the mix as well and it's a bit difficult.
People who are experts at hacking such DRM will be invaluable for such things in the future.
Not Sony. Get it right folks. BMG is responsible for the Rootkit fiascos. Yes, Sony owns BMG, but BMG operates on it's own. The software was not developed by Sony, it was a third party anti-piracy solution that BMG purchased without really understanding the implications. Not a huge surprise since BMG is a music company, not a technology company.
But, let's not let facts screw up some perfectly good rationalizing.
BTW, GeoHot isn't in trouble for reenabling OtherOS. That was already done. He's not in trouble for modding his hardware, Sony doesn;t give two craps about someone frying their PS3 in an attempt to modify it. GeoHot is in trouble for obtaining the metldr key and publishing it. If all he or Grafchokolo wanted was OtherOS they already had it, long ago. all they needed to do was not update their firmware, or even stick to a firmware that was jailbroken. Taking things beyond that point and hacking and publishing the metldr key goes well beyond defending OtherOS and tramples all over the Intellectual property and network security of the PS3 and PSN.
36 for me...
Geohot and graf didn't violate the terms of the psn, as neither of them cared about it or used it. Sony are still trying to prove Hotz had a PSN account *at all* but it looks like he didn't.
Geo is in trouble for all sorts of stuff. The metldr key hasn't even turned out to be all that useful AFAICT. Sony are suing him for everything from DMCA violation to extortion. Yes, extortion. He jokingly said that if MS, Sony or Nintendo wanted to secure the next console generation, maybe they should give him a job. Sony included that as evidence of threats to continue breaking systems unless he was paid, rather than a half-joking offer to work as a security consultant.
As for what geo and graf want... Geo seems to want fame and Graf wants to learn and share, gaining full control of the system in doing so. Neither of these things is a crime.
And as for your wonderful weaselly excuse about OtherOS not really being removed... really, you can stop white-knighting for the huge multinational now, they don't need you and they aren't going to give you any free stuff.
"firmware / software which are Sony's intellectual property"
Now, I see that as bullshit right there. If I paid for a product, I see it as my right to do what the hell I want with it, without regard to whether that product is hardware, software or a bit of each. The code might be Sony's IP, but the copy of it inside my (hypothetical) console is MY COPY, with which I will do as I please. Now, that doesn't include passing it off as mine or duplicating it and selling it on to other people - the law rightly forbids me from doing so. If I want to modify it for my own use however, I do not see any moral reason why I should not be able to. Sony might say I can't but, honestly, fuck them.
It's about time corporations were reminded that once they have sold something they have no control over what the customer does with it.
Anonymous might be a bit out of line in DDOSing Sony's sites, but I'm not going to shed any tears over it.
"Why say that? What has Sony really done wrong other than pursue legal action against a couple of idiots..."
Clearly you either have the attention span of a goldfish, or you've only recently started paying attention. Look back at Sony's antics over the past several years. Asking 'What has Sony really done wrong' is likely to produce more answers that 'What have the Romans ever done for us?'
Don't antagonise them, just ignore them. Warn staff about potential social engineering / security breaches, double check your firewalls & failover arrangements, have a plan to respond to breaches. I'm sure a few sites might get taken down and maybe some of them breached so prepare for it. But publicly just ignore them. The ADD brigade will find a new target for lulz after they grow bored.
Who should ignore who?
Apologies, who ignore who? Sony ignore Anon, or Anon ignore Sony?
Anon versus the Scientologists only worked when they picketed and made their case. Plaquards informing people of things like the disconnection that broke up families and all that stuff. The Anon electronic attacks didn't do much other than get Anons in to trouble and the Wise Beard Man brought home that method of doing business.
If Anon want to hurt Sony, then it should be picketing their shops with leaflets outlining Sonys attitude towards customers; the bios fail on laptops that wrecked XP Comp mode; the root kit that installed silently on customers machines; I mean, there is a whole archive of Sony fail attitude towards their customers. If Anon want to hurt Sony, then that is the way to go. It'll draw a lot more news presence than picketing scientology ever did!
A good point, Michelle, partially
We are still pretty much in the "Wild West" stage of the internet's development and the LOIC script-kiddie 4chan dwellers are going to be around for a while in this environment. Likewise it's no surprise that Anon's street protests against the Scientology cult were much more effective than DDOS and defacements.
However with the emergence of things like WikiLeaks and the subsequent HBGary affair hacktivism is growing up and finding its political feet: whichever side one takes it is impossible to dismiss as the pranks of some sad "mom's basement" dwellers. Personally I beleive that the material revealed by Anonymous with their HBGary hack gave a pretty scary glimpse of state+corporate dirty tricks on-line and the more light shed on that the better.
Traditional campaigning is important but grown-up hacktivism at its best can play a similar role to investigative journalism, not merely on-line civil disobedience and graffiti agit-prop.
Anonymous of course
The people who pick some target DDOS them a bit and then get distracted and move onto something else. Just ignore them. Let them flail against the firewalls if they want, collect logs but just ignore them.
As for picketing sure let Anonymous do that. It's certainly a more legal form of protest. Not sure how you think some things that happened and resolved YEARS AGO like the root kit are worth picketing though.
It's worth it
Those were two examples. The entire argument is about corporate attitude as a form of greed.
I mean, every organisation has to work towards a profit, but for organisations to treat their customers the way that Sony (and others) are doing, is pathetic. That's why I don't buy Sony, stay away from Microsoft, don't own Apple (well, that's a lie I bought two Apple TV2's and jailbroke them) and I think that the general public don't really know the battles that are being fought in the IT arena.
When people I know are told about the PS3 mess, they're shocked; it never crossed their mind that they couldn't do what they liked with kit they had bought. When they considered that they were buying a licence rather than buying a product, the cogs whirred.
Some of them said, fair enough, if the device does what they want, then it isn't a deal breaker, but most of them really didn't like the thought; especially when it came to Sony changing the ruels and deleting the other OS option ... of Amazon, Apple, Google, etc. deleting books or apps that they had paid out good money for; even the prospect of being refunded didn't sit well with them. They wanted the product.
I do believe that if the public in general actually sat and thought about this, then there would really be hell to pay.
You know, the more I sit and think about what you've written, the more I'm starting to realise that at the moment, Anon firing the LOIC at Sony is more likely to make the news. Has anyone told the BBC News desk about this?
Sony have been total dicks - this is true (and not just with the PS3, anyone remember that rootkit?)
However, is out-dicking Sony really a good strategy?
I was all for Anonymous when they were attacking cults like Scientology and actually performing a social good by their actions.
I really hope the courts drop one on Sony from a great height, but I can't see these actions of Anonymous helping matters any.
I saw the stickies far and wide...
The day that failchan died.
I remember when anon was feared, and not the butt of every internet joke.
Trolls trolling trolls trolling trolls.
Oldfags despair, newfags rejoice. The internets are dead.
Much as I usually enjoy the actions of Anonymous
Their bombastic "Thou hast gained our attention, tremble brief mortals" spiel does make them look bloody stupid.
I was thinking that too
I mean it's clearly not the same people who wrote the earlier 'We Are Legion. Expect Us' style messages. They had style, presence.
This lot, though, actually SOUND like they're from 4Chan.
Based on the deterioration of their messages, I'm pretty sure Anonymous' core people have left over the years, and it's now just the up-and-coming whippersnappers who've taken over. People who missed the original message and now just go "You're a dick, I'm calling a LOIC! LOLLORZ".
I'm not saying I disagree- Sony are dicks, no question- but Anon has just lost it's cool edge.
Fighting for gamers rights and freedoms, by removing gamers right and freedom to play their consoles online.
Great job guys, really endearing yourselves and Hotz to the consumer here.
Satan will be ice skating to work
Before I buy Sony again. From root kit's on CD's to puerile legal actions, they are just another scum company.
what happened to the rights of GAMERS?
like the right to access PSN, the right to play games, the right to not have pikey pirates ripping off software and destroying investment and creativity in the gaming industry.
They are not protecting gamers, they are just publicity seeking whores, and thanks to El-Reg you grant them their wish... **Sigh***
I'm guessing this is nothing more than a DDoS attack by a bunch of "anonymous" (nothing on the Internet is truly anonymous) upset Xbox fanboys, now their console is sat in last place in the "console wars" (war?) with no decent games coming out and Microsoft rolling around in their money laughing at them.
Not anonymous at all
The ringleaders might be anonymous. The morons running Low Orbit Ion Cannon (the DDOS tool) are not. Their IP addresses will be gathered and logged. I expect the resulting IP addresses will be sorted by frequency and locale and then handed out to local law enforcement to process.
You may as well write your name and address on a brick and throw it through a shop window, hoping that so many bricks will be thrown that the police won't have time to follow them all up.
@A/C 09:25 **Sigh**
Let's not confuse the issues of childish console fanboyism/rivalry with the more important issues as stake.
I don't agree with this bit of action by anonymous, or the tone of the message they posted. I do agree with your first paragraph.
However, there are serious issues at stake here with regard to corporate rights vs individual rights, the merit (or lack of) of online forms of protest, your rights to do what you wish with property you have purchased, the rights of a manufacturer to take away advertised features of a product you have purchased.
If you side with Sony on these issues, that's fine, you're entitled to your opinion. If you don't agree with the actions of "Anonymous", likewise.
But don't sneak the "I'm guessing this is [...] upset Xbox fanboys, now their console is sat in last place in the "console wars"." crap into this debate, it doesn't have a place here.
The UK sites working fine at the moment 09:17 - GMT.
I really wish they wouldn't do this.
I couldn't care less whether the Sony sites are up or down - but by taking this sort of action, Anonymous have turned Sony into the victim.
They'll play on that. They'll use it to garner sympathy. This will help their court action. They now have an "ooh look at the nasty hacktivists" story to tell the Judge, and they'll use that to back up their assertions that there is a criminal conspiracy behind Geohot's actions.
Anonymous really haven't helped here.
It's even worse than that; Sony can now claim - with some legitimacy - that the hackers were not acting alone or for fun, but were conceivably part of a larger conspiracy to defraud Sony.
Anonymous should have stuck to protest signs outside Scientology; all they've done here is commit a blatant criminal act that will do nothing to help the people they're claiming to act for.
Doubt there was a larger conspiracy
But hackers were directly or indirectly defrauding Sony by circumventing copy protection. I think if I had potentially hundreds of millions, even billions to lose through people facilitating piracy on my platform that I would unleash the lawyers on them too.
> But hackers were directly or indirectly defrauding Sony by circumventing copy protection
There's nothing to show that anyone defrauded anyone else of anything.
It's an allegation that Sony have made to support their need to force Geohot to travel right across the country to defend himself. They haven't proven it.
They almost certainly won't prove it, either, since most of the work of breaking the copyright protection happened when Sony themselves released most of the private key.
Someone appears not to realise that every bit of a key you release halves the task of breaking the rest...
 Unless you consider Sony's removal of a key selling point to be fraud, of course. The class action does...
Regardless of the morality or legality of Anonymous's actions
...that's a great letter of explaination....
It's about time
Given Sony's lawsuit-happy actions, this come as no surprise. The only thing that surprisd me is that it hadn't happen sooner.
I don't get
why people are upset about Sony for protecting their IP, or why idiots bring up Sony BMG rootkit that affected a few thousand people 10 years ago...
Get a life, move on. you the one losing out ny not buying Sony.
You don't get it..
Because you possibly haven't thought about it?
You sound like the kind of person who is all for the extension of copyright (because, like, dude, it's all about the IP man). Despite the fact that this is actual theft from the public domain (getting it legally sanctioned is a tactic worthy of the robber barons of old).
Realistically, Sony aren't protecting their IP (nobody is copying it, nobody is repackaging it and claiming it as their own). What they're trying to do is make your purchase of an item an effective lease (which they don't really push home in consumer friendly bites, probably because most people aren't really interested), where they try and dictate what you can do with what you've bought.
Want to hit it with a hammer? Fine. Want to place a bit of solder in it? Not fine.
Advertise something (I bought a PS3 because it supported Linux/other OS, which I thought was a great idea, so purchased by putting my money where my beliefs are), and then remove the functionality later? Now that's making a mockery of consumer relations, and fair dealing.
When you look at this dispassionately, a company has sold an item, on the merit of performing tasks A and B.
The company then decides it doesn't want you to do A anymore, so removes that functionality from the device, allowing you to do either A or B (and if you do B, you'll never be able to do A again). This reduces the value of the item to everybody affected. Company does not offer restitution for the devaluing of the product, and the reduction of functionality.
Now, a person comes along, and says "This is unfair. I bought to do A and B, and I will find a way to do A and B". This person works out how to do both A and B again, restoring functionality to that initial agreement you made when you purchased the item.
This restoration to the original terms of the deal lands the person in court with life destroying fines and a criminal record.
What's to get?
You don't get it...
...probably because you have confused the concept of "Intellectual Property" with the concept of "Bait and Switch"?
"Anonymous hacks Sony PS3 sites" and yet "what looks like a distributed denial of service attack" which does not involve any hacking at all.
Getting fed up of these getting confused in the press!
Thats it screw up my gaming!
Really messed up gaming last night as some US friends kept losing connection.
Get back to annoying the reptile worshippers and leave people who could be your allies alone!
PSN was very flakey last night.
PSN was flakey last-last night for me and a few others, don't know if it's related, don't know if they're targeting relevant doo-hickeys.
Not sure where I stand on this, sure I want my PSN running smoothly but Sony removed other OS capability and it's not like it was an "optional update", either you installed it or you couldn't go online, utter pricks, you can't blame the homebrewers from trying to break it and they shouldn't be quite so harassed as they are by Sony, why not work with them to find a solution that both fights piracy and allows homebrew content?
This goes to the long running "do you own the hardware you just payed a fair wad of cash for" debate. If I bought a CD player and a year later I was forced to update the firmware so that I couldn't play non-authorised CDs (remember the rootkit scandal :D) I'd be pretty pissed off, not all burnt CDs are pirated, it might be my own music, a friend's music, free (beer) music.
tl;dr fight the powa
I ummed and ahhed about Other OS
But got the update before I decided.
TBH I am happy using it as a media hub and games console, not the original though - that failed (YLOD) and the repair did not last, so got a Slim and transfered data.
I still think Sony should work with Homebrew people.
CDs - I used to have a Sony DVD player which would not play any non red book but would play burnt discs - usually rips of the aformentioned non red books. (Used to laser wore out)
Well, Sony have plenty of those.
Come on Reg, calling DDOS hacking is something for the tabloids, not this site.
Great approach by the way..
Can't play for free, take down the network for the users who did pay for their games.
anon, to post in style :)
Guess this means...
They've been watching Steven Colbert!