After four years of solid security, Sony’s Playstation 3 hacking defenses have fallen, and all the company can do now is try to snuff the hackers themselves.
Sony has filed a restraining order (and filed a lawsuit — see update below) against three named hackers — including George Hotz of iPhone jailbreak fame — along with two pseudonyms and numerous John and Jane Does, all of whom were involved in the latest jailbreak for PS3 firmware 3.55. It’s not a proper lawsuit yet, but Sony’s trying to get all information related to the PS3 jailbreak removed from the Web.
Hotz has posted the legal documents to his website’s home page, but it appears that he’s still hosting the jailbreak itself on an old page. He’s also still hosting a video of the jailbreak on YouTube. So anyone who’s interested in hacking the Playstation 3 now has fair warning to grab the files and documentation in case they’re removed from the source.
This is why the genie back in the bottle trick never works. If Hotz caves to Sony and removes all links to the jailbreak and its documentation, inevitably it’ll end up on BitTorrent anyway, and at that point it’s too late.
It’s worth noting, at least, that Hotz often mentions how he doesn’t condone piracy — this is Sony’s main concern with any PS3 hack — and the jailbreak itself doesn’t include any information on playing pirated games. The jailbreak simply allows hackers to install their own homebrew applications, which could include pirated games, third-party software or the “Other OS” feature that Sony removed in response to hacking last year.
According to Engadget’s legal maven Nilay Patel, we should find out today what the court decides on the restraining order, and lawsuit could follow in a matter of days.
Update: And now Sony has sued all involved, seeking damages and confiscation of the defendants’ computers. Should get interesting from here.