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Sony sues PlayStation 3 root key hackers

David Ludlow
12 Jan 2011
Sony takes PlayStation 3 hackers to court
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Says the revealing of root key infringes copyright and is computer fraud.

Sony is taking the hackers that circumvented the PlayStation 3's security to court, saying that the hack infringes copyright and computer fraud.

The move comes after George Hotz (known as GeoHot and famous for jailbraking the iPhone) and hacker group Fail0verflow found out the root key used by all PS3 consoles. This key is used to sign software to prove that it's genuine and remained, until recently, a Sony secret. With the key divulged, any software, including pirated games, could be signed as official and work on any PS3 console.

After Hotz posted the key on his website, Sony decided that enough was enough and resorted to using its lawyers bringing a court case against Hotz and more than 100 other hackers. In its case, Sony asks for an injunction against the defendants, asking that they be prevented from further hacking, distributing any software using the root key. Sony has also asked for all hardware involved in the hack to be destroyed.

Both Hotz and Fail0verflow have denied any wrongdoing, stating that they don't condone the piracy of computer games and that the hack was done entirely to allow third-party software and operating systems to be run on the console.

In the meantime, Sony has said that it can fix the problem with updates to the console, although Fail0verflow says that this is impossible without new hardware, because changing the root key on older consoles would prevent legitimate software from working. Time will tell.

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