GeoHot on the Sony and 77 million compromised users

Fun & Games

GeoHot on the Sony and 77 million compromised users…

One of the things I was contemplating back in early January was a PSN alternative, a place for jailbroken consoles to download homebrew and game without messing up anyone else’s experience. Unfortunately events led me off of that path, but gamers, if I had succeeded you would have a place to game online with your PS3 right now. I’m one of the good guys. I used to play games online on PC, I hated cheaters then and I hate them now.

Also, let’s not fault the Sony engineers for this, the same way I do not fault the engineers who designed the BMG rootkit. The fault lies with the executives who declared a war on hackers, laughed at the idea of people penetrating the fortress that once was Sony, whined incessantly about piracy, and kept hiring more lawyers when they really needed to hire good security experts. Alienating the hacker community is not a good idea.

…And let’s talk about Sony’s use of the word illegal. It is illegal, criminally so, to break into someone else’s servers. But when the same word is used to refer to streaming a song from a non RIAA approved website, or to *gasp* playing a homebrew game on your PS3, respect for the word and those who say it is lost.

Weighing in quickly on the whole hacker vs cracker thing. I am a hacker. Whoever did this were hackers also. The media will never start using the word cracker. To me, a hacker is just somebody with a set of skills; hacker is to computer as plumber is to pipes. And the same ethics should apply, if you want to mess with the pipes in your own house, go for it. But don’t go breaking into people’s houses and messing with their pipes. (Note that I do not endorse water piracy).

Good read, all of it.

192 thoughts on “GeoHot on the Sony and 77 million compromised users

  1. Kenneth Woodruff says:

    There is nothing noble about this. My plumbing isn’t licensed to me with a specific set of rules; it’s my plumbing. If I shoved a bomb down those pipes that are “mine,” set to explode when it hit the sewers, surely the police would be interested.

    This is terrible justification for his causing so much ire, regarding a tired, trumped-up concept of a world of open software that will somehow magically protect itself from maliciousness.

    Only some people are inherently good. We prove that to ourselves over and over. Some things need to be closed. Some things need to be “owned.” I suggest that he gets off his high horse, because he is providing more grist for the legal mill.

    1. Anonymous says:

      this isn’t a justification, it’s the person (george) who sony was suing, talking about the biggest ID theft in history. i think it’s an interesting perspective from someone who fought and won against sony recently. he allowed to have an opinion, he just agreed not to hack sony stuff :)

    2. Josh LeClair says:

      If you tossed a bomb down your pipes intentionally set to blow up the sewers below than you aren’t messing with just your pipes. What part of his example is beyond your understanding? As per his example, if you feel the desire to open up your walls and lay new pipe for a new sink or take away old pipe for an old sink, you have the right to do it as they are your pipes.

      You may argue that the analogy is weak, that they aren’t the same thing but don’t come up with some asinine example to try and prove your point.

      He argues the same for the PS3. Breaking into someone else’s network (PSN) and tampering with it is wrong, however, screwing with MY PS3 is my right. Would you see no problem with buying a car where the car maker refused to let you do any upgrade to the car? If they refused to let you put in a new stereo? A cover for the steering wheel?

    3. Anonymous says:

      kenneth, your comparison doesn’t make sense, sorry :( people should be allowed to “jailbreak” their PS3s, just like they are allowed to jailbreak their iphones, legally.

    4. VRAndy says:

      I don’t understand, What part are you disagreeing with?

      Are you saying that the city water-works shouldn’t worry about sabotage?
      Are you saying that the plumber who installed your pipes should take responsibility for your cherry bomb?
      — Or the hardware store that sold you a pipe-wrench? Or even the pipes?
      Are you saying that the city water-works should own even the pipes in your house and merely lend them to you?

      Or, to dispense with your metaphor, who are you angry at? The people who broke in and stole the data? Yes, everyone is angry with them, but we’re also angry at the shoddy security that allowed it to happen. (After all, everyone knows that only some people are inherently good! There’s no excuse to be unprepared for the people who aren’t inherently good)

      As you say, a system will never secure itself by magic, but that’s irrelevant to the system’s “openness”. Any properly designed security system should work 100% even if someone reverse engineers the clients, because it’s only a matter of time before someone does.

    5. johngineer says:

      I can’t respond to your first paragraph, because frankly, I don’t understand what you are trying to say. As for your second point: yes, a system can be open and still be secure. PGP, for example, is an open system which is secure. Everybody understands how it works and what it does — this is well documented. The only things which are kept secret are the keys. So it could be with Sony’s network.

    6. geohot says:

      It’s just an analogy, not a particularly great one I admit.

      Closed and Open aren’t mutually exclusive. In general the more open someone is with their security, the more closed the system is.

      1. Kenneth Woodruff says:

        I will resist the urge to get into a discussion about hacking with you, as I’m sure we’ve both covered all the bases before. As someone who dabbled in hacking, cracking and phreaking before there were any movies about them, I have personally come to the conclusion that, more often than not, it is just another form of entitlement. That might not be the case for you—maybe you are someone with good intentions. But this is (perhaps unintentionally) providing the means for others to stand on your shoulders and do bad things. You say you’re one of the good guys, but this is also enabling (and stoking) the bad guys. I digress.

        What I really don’t get is this: “Unfortunately events led me off of that path, but gamers, if I had succeeded you would have a place to game online with your PS3 right now.”

        Does that imply that your alternative to PSN would be up while the PSN is down, or that this whole affair would never have happened? My issue with this entire commentary is that it has an air of “I told you so,” and that is ignoble at best. This happened (how directly or indirectly is arguable, depending on your position) because of the shitstorm generated by all this legal fallout.

        1. Anonymous says:

          when the iphone didn’t have an app store and folks wanted to run apps on their own phone, jailbroken iphones were around (geohot was around for that) – and now jailbreaking phones is completely legal. same thing, i never saw anything involving geohot other than wanting to run his own software on a ps3 (homebrew, linux, etc).

          i’m sure there will be a lot of “i told you so” from people who actually looked at sony’s designs and strategy. wait until this becomes a massive court case, i’m sure there are memos and memos warning the sony execs about this while they were harassing makers and wasting resources (all just my opinion)…

        2. geohot says:

          Eh, I just like to mess with stuff and talk about it. No noble goals, no evil goals. Piracy is boring to me, the system can already play those games if you just buy them. It’s what people create that’s cool.

          Post updated to clarify, I meant an alternative hacker made PSN.

          And probably not, the whole thing is looking like cyber thieves now.

  2. VRAndy says:

    If this post is right, and Sony had improper client/server security because they believed their clients were trustworthy, then they were insanely negligent, and should be held 100% responsible for any damages caused by this.

  3. SoffMouf says:

    I agree with your use of the word “hacker”, but how on earth can you say “whoever did this were hackers also” in the same breath? Those who did this have screwed over a TON of people who didn’t deserve it, just to teach somebody ELSE a lesson. Doesn’t sound like any hackers I know. I have no respect for those people.

    I also have no respect for those who blame Sony executives. Yes, they were being d-bags about their war on the hacking community, but THEY didn’t screw over millions of innocent users. These “hackers” did. Way to go getting people to sympathize with your cause. You may want to give puberty a try.

    1. Anonymous says:

      i think the sony executives put their users and their company at risk, they spent their time and resources in the wrong way and i’m pretty sure we’ll see many courts will find them negligent. just a guess though…

    2. geohot says:

      I’m just saying to me “hacker” is a descriptive word devoid of “goodness” or “badness”. And the top of my post isn’t here, read the whole blog post first.

      1. Anonymous says:

        woo! geohot in the comments!

      2. SoffMouf says:

        I get it. Personally I’ve always thought hacker = good and cracker = bad, but you’re right about the media never using the term cracker so it’s a moot point.

        I stand by what I said though. People never want to take direct responsibility for their actions. To directly blame Sony for this incident is just as ridiculous as directly blaming you for it.

        As for Sony, yeah their security was a sham, and heads need to roll big time. But that still isn’t justification for this BS. If you’re walking down the street and see somebody’s door open, do you just go in and ransack the place? I don’t, because I’m not an asshole. Some people would however, and their supporters would blame the owner of the house for not locking their door.

        And on a topic more related directly to you, I haven’t heard a single argument that justifies what you did. You had to have known that your actions were going to set off a shitstorm of epic proportions, but you did it anyway. Was it ego?

        Jeez I just want to enjoy my PS3.

        1. Anonymous says:

          since we’re all coming with flawed analogies tonight… soffmouf, imagine sony living in your city and suing everyone with keys because some of them “could” be used to open one of their doors. meanwhile sony executives went on vacation, again.

          lastly, do not attack geohot in the comments – he doesn’t need to justify anything to anyone, in fact he and sony agreed he didn’t do anything wrong (that was in the public statement). of course he also agreed not to touch their stuff again, i don’t blame him.

          i think it’s cool geohot is here in the comments, if you can keep your comments and tone civil maybe he’ll stick around.

          1. SoffMouf says:

            Flawed analogy? So I take it you would blame the homeowner? *sigh* I’m not defending Sony, but I’m also not blaming them. It’s not like *they* went “haha we have your info, now we’re going to spread it around!” No, some other freedom fighter took that crown. Thanks guy!

            And if having geohot here is considered cool by the people in charge, I should probably just bail. I’m not going to hide my anger in the hopes that the person worshiped by the same hackers who stole my personal info will /stick around/.

          2. Anonymous says:

            having someone who fought sony and won (my opinion) is cool. sony has gone after makers for years, for silly reasons. you should be allowed to jailbreak your ps3 – geohot did nothing wrong, sony had to even agree with that in the public statement issued by sony.

          3. SoffMouf says:

            I agree, you should be able to hack your own PS3. If he had stopped there, that would have been the end of it. But why publish the info when so many people worked so hard to keep it locked up for so long, to keep fraudulent activity off their own network so developers could be confident in the environment’s behavior and users could be confident in the legitimacy of their gameplay? Oh right, considering how your actions affect others is so old-school.

          4. Anonymous says:

            @SoffMouf – if you agree that you should be able to hack your own ps3 then what geohot did shouldn’t be an issue for you.

          5. SoffMouf says:

            Did you.. not read the rest?

          6. Anonymous says:

            i did! if you agree that you should be able to hack your own ps3 then what geohot did shouldn’t be an issue for you.

          7. SoffMouf says:

            ..The part about publishing the key and screwing over users & developers who use the network? Really? Because you don’t seem to realize that’s the part I have a problem with. Not the hacking.

          8. Anonymous says:

            what you’re talking about now has nothing to do with geohot

          9. SoffMouf says:

            Am I being punk’d?

          10. Geoffrey Wagner says:

            How…I don’t understand that? Did he not tell the world how to do this, opening the door, so to speak, for those who would use the information for malicious purposes? Is that not akin to telling the world how to bypass security at Ft. Knox?

            Shame on Sony for not also looking into this and patching the hole, but shame on geohot for opening the door for everyone to walk though. That statement issued is nothing more than legal maneuvering.

          11. Anonymous says:

            @geoffrey, what you’re saying has nothing to do with sony vs geohot, you really need to do some research.

          12. Geoffrey Wagner says:

            Okay, it has nothing to do with “sony vs. geohot,” but it does have everything to do with what geohot did, which led to “sony vs. geohot,” or is my research leading me astray? Please do more informing rather than giving a backhandedly polite statement that I am ill-informed or misinformed.

          13. Anonymous says:

            you’re ill-informed and misinformed, geohot had nothing to do with sony’s issues

          14. Seth Bundick says:

            You sir are completely blinded by your arrogance and are completely full of shit.

          15. Geoffrey Wagner says:

            …and apparently lacks in reading comprehension. I’m sure this will get moderated, but oh hell.

          16. Anonymous says:

            seth, this is the MAKE site, we celebrate people’s right to hack and mod what they own – you really will not find any support for giving up those rights here.

          17. Seth Bundick says:

            What I am trying to show you, is that makers do not have support outside of your own little elitist clique. What about the rights of everyone else not to have makers ruin everything? What about the rights of people to want to game online in a fair and hack free environment? What about the rights of people who do not want their info stolen off of their PS3 because some asshat with a grudge decided to post an exploit online for all of the other toerags to use and abuse? You do not speak for all of us, geohot does not speak for us, and anonymous does not speak for us.

          18. Jenna Villegas says:

            Wait, isn’t Geohot the guy who accepted donations for help with his legal defense against Sony and then used that money to go on vacation?

            So Geohot, lies and uses people and becomes a hero?

            Awesome standards you “Makers” have.

          19. Anonymous says:

            jenna, that is not correct – geohot did not use any of the funds to go on vacation. this is your only warning before i ban you from the comments here.

  4. George Nelson says:

    The malicious will be malicious and to do something that gives them free reign is to be just as malicious as them. You caused all of this GeoHot. You could have taken a different route to showcase the integrity of a system that was not yours to begin with but nope, you decide that you would force your ideals on the consumers of the PSN with this sense of digital entitlement that is nothing sort of a classroom full of toddlers claiming ownership of the new toy.

    1. Anonymous says:

      @george nelson – “You caused all of this GeoHot” – c’mon – that’s not true and this this will be your only warning before i start moderating comments. please do not accuse geohot of the largest ID theft in history, thanks.

      1. George Nelson says:

        I never said that GeoHot was responsible for the largest ID theft in history, you did. I said he was responsible for the whole mess that allowed for the maliciousness.

        1. Anonymous says:

          george nelson, you said he caused “all of this” he had nothing to do with “the maliciousness” – do not say that again in the comments, last warning.

          1. George Nelson says:

            Consider the front door to your home. It is your home and your door right? Now consider someone who buys the latest deadbolt and is not happy with the design because he can’t add his own design to it so he releases the specs and details on how to bypass the deadbolt security over the internet. (Forget the heat from the deadbolt company for the time being) Who do you fault? The burglar who uses the information or the person who opened your door, opened all of our doors? You can block me if I am saying stuff that you disagree with but I ask that you leave my comments for the rest of the internet to see as well. I thank you for the opportunity to chime in on this. With so much information, I am glad to have a place that I can share my thoughts on this and have it possibly read by the person without whom none of this would have been possible.

          2. Anonymous says:

            hi george, this comment is fine. keep the personal attacks and false accusations off this site and you’re all good. we can disagree, you just can’t personally attack someone here. geohot had nothing to do with this.

            as far as your door analogy goes – geohot, and anyone else should be able to jailbreak their ps3, just like they can install linux on their pc or write their own software. they bought it, they own it.

            sony didn’t have a case against geohot and it’s why they ultimately agreed to issue a joint statement with him, with their approval that says geohot didn’t do anything wrong. if sony had a strong case they wouldn’t have basically given up, this is just my opinion.

            back to locks – you can go to any tech conference or lock picking event and get all the info you need on any lock – freedom of speech and press allows this, you might not like that there are detailed tutorials for defeating your lock out there, but that’s part of being in a free society. yes, there are secrets, not everything is freely available – but if you’re going to talk about locks i’m going to tell you how it is regarding locks. google for lock picking, it’s all out there – you can even buy a kit. it usually says for personal use / education. just like cracking open a ps3 to run your own software.

          3. George Nelson says:

            I guess I am (not being a hacker) someone on the outside looking in but what is it we are looking in to? This blog/post is ripe with analogies and it just seems that my initial analogy of a classroom full of toddlers claiming ownership of the new toy is apt and was glossed over.

            There is more to this sense of entitlement than just the sad precedent of the jailbroken cellphones. It isn’t just about the hardware. When I buy a PS3 or any console/technology for that matter, I am buying the hardware not the software. My initial (and only) contention that anyone who is aware of holes in security, lack of customization etc. (a.k.a. software that is not owned but shared/rented/agreed upon) could have gone a different route to expose this still stands. Releasing the root key was a conscious decision and not some higher purpose endeavor as we are led to believe. My opinion, not a slight on anyone.

            I do apolgize but when someone says I am a nice guy but holds the door open for others to wreak havoc? Yeah not such a nice guy in my opinion.

          4. Anonymous says:

            george nelson, if you buy a ps3 do you own it? should you be allowed to run you own software on it or install linux?

          5. Ken says:

            No, we are all serfs and can’t actually own any property. Didn’t you get the memo?

          6. George Nelson says:

            I am trying to delineate between hardware and software. I own the hardware since that is what we pay for isn’t it? Software isn’t a simple sale, it is an agreement that is entered into by clicking on the TOS and I should note that most TOS has even has the word Agreement right there for you to see before you click “Agree”. LOL An episode of South Park comes to mind but I am digressing.

            I get what you are saying, “I bought the PS3, it is mine.” But that line of thought is flawed in that that we aren’t buying the software, we are buying the box that runs the software. PSN users don’t get a share from Sony with the purchase of a PS3, neither do XBL users with the purchase of a 360. If this was the case then I would have no issue now would I? We would be co-owners of the software and as such, the PSN hack and release of the root key wouldn’t even be an issue.

            It wasn’t the hardware that was released over the internet, it was code and that is software. Software as it pertains to the gaming industry is not “owned” as people would like but shared and administered by Sony, Nntendo or Microsoft who actually do own the software.

            I can agree to disagree but you keep coming back to what I consider to be a fundamentally flawed argument. Hardware sales do not equal software sales. It isn’t the consoles that make money, it’s the games. Games that people aren’t playing at the moment because greed and identity theft is now at the forefront of the matter.

          7. Anonymous says:

            george nelson, are you saying people should not be allowed to install linux on their PCs or jailbreak their iphones?

          8. George Nelson says:

            Jailbreaking their phones is a grey area for me. The cellphone is still very much hardware is it not? Jailbreaking if I am correct is way to circumvent the system to get stuff for free isn’t it? I thought stealing was still a bad thing? I guess it is there that the debate is muddied up because hackers can say they stole nothing, they bought the PS3, it is theirs so in reality, the letter of the law is that ‘nothing’ was stolen. Good ol written law and interpretation for the sake of the individual. The cellphone company dropped the ball on that one. I guess in this day and age, the definition of “illegal stealing” has been altered to include “legal jailbreaks”. I don’t get it, it is a very contradictive term.

            Hackers are forcing their egocentric ideals on the populace and there are some real world implications they are not taking into account. People are suffering because of this and it isn’t just the PSN users. What about those people who work everyday to ensure that we even have a service to game out on? Help them sure but to do it is such a manner that their livelihoods are threatened? I don’t get that either.

            As for PC’s and installing operating systems on it, that is what they are built for so that is a moot point and really has no merit in discussing the root key hack, the release of the root key and the subsequent hacks of the PS3 and identity thefts that occurred later on for the PSN.

            So I guess yes, I am saying that people should not jailbreak their phones because there are people who rely on the sales of those apps and games for their livelihood but the ship has sailed on that already hasn’t it? The precedence is there and I guess future developers can count on their hard work being being thrown out because someone doesn’t want to pay for something yet still be in a position to afford such high end technology? It’s just too crazy and I fear I have derailed here so I will just post this now. =)

          9. Anonymous says:

            george nelson, jailbreaking iphones is perfectly legal and apple just had $1B quarter – you’re really not making a compelling argument as to why people should not be allowed to jailbreak their iphones (or ps3s). jailbreaking allows people to choose other carriers and run their own software, assuming it’s about “stealing” is incorrect – please do some research before you say incorrect things here.

          10. George Nelson says:

            Of course it is *emphasis*now but it wasn’t about that in the beginning was it? You know I have rather enjoyed the debate but I am finding it difficult to ignore that you seem to only look at the end result rather than the lead up which I feel is equally important to the debate. My argument may not be compelling to you but it is complelling to that family that is now in dire straights because “no one is buying our software.”

            Sure you can say that GeoHot and Sony have released a joint statement that says he did nothing wrong AND that he states he will leave their stuff alone but why leave out the process that led to that statement being made in the first place? The end should not justify the means when so many people are hurt by all of this.

            It doesn’t matter what buzzword is being used (hack, jailbreak, homebrew) it still points to software being circumvented for personal benefit, The PC world lent itself to this notion as well as Microsoft and Sony by making their gaming consoles very similar if not better than PCs used for gaming.

            There are many other implications that I don’t need to go into because you will not nor do I think that with your youth, you will be able to see but I will reiterate that I have enjoyed your page tonight and the discussion.

            My bottom line: People are hurting because of this and it is my hope that one day, hackers face a situation where they are put in a position of uncertainty because someone else’s selfishness outweighed theirs. Then again, I don’t know if I would wish that on anyone.

          11. Anonymous says:

            what family is in dire straights because no one is buying their software?

          12. George Nelson says:

            Dammit, I didn’t do my research did I? I just made an arbitrary statement and acted on it? Sorry?

          13. Nick Day says:

            You misunderstand jailbreaking. It isn’t about circumventing the software to get “stuff for free.” It’s about removing _arbitrary_ restrictions the manufacturer tries to place upon something you bought. It’s possible that could result in using hardware in ways that are not so nice, but then it also makes it possible to use it in ways that are more awesome than its creators’ vision.

            Imagine buying a hammer and only being allowed to use it on gold-clad nails and lumber? If you ignore that, sure you could use it to go bash someone’s head in, but then you could also use it to build your kid a treehouse out of scrap. Who would want to follow such a dumb agreement, especially if you didn’t know about it before purchase, and all the hammer makers have them?

            I don’t want the world I live in to be one in which _corporations_, of all entities, are attempting to tell me right from wrong.

            The most interesting part of your confusion, though, is also the most sad. There are plenty of people out there that want something for free, that want piracy to thrive, and to take money away from those ‘poor programmer families’. How disturbed is our society when those of us that just want to do cool things with stuff we bought have to throw in with them and basically support their goals of stealing just to spur the research and progress of circumventing restrictions?

          14. George Nelson says:

            Interesting and confusing at the same time…kinda like your use of, “…removing arbitrary restrictions”. Look at those words that you chose to use. Who are you to say what is arbitrary? Where do hackers, crackers, jailbreakers and in general DECONSTRUCTIONISTS get this percieved power of saying what are arbitrary restrictions. Those restrictions are there to ensure that the populace has a machine that works not to piss off a fringe subculture of technophiles who take pleasure of being different. Have you guys not gotten out of high school yet??

            I’m sorry but this perceived power that hackers weild just leads to self righteousness and I know I am pissing you [by you I mean hackers who frequent this site et. al.] off by saying this but if hackers continue to act without any regard to the real world implications and the extent of those implications, I’m sorry but it is time to ignore the tantrums. Yes in my aged years (going on to 42), I have resorted to being condescending and I only do that because it is clear to me that any argument that a hackers provides now is still going to come down to, “…they took LINUX away from me, now they’ll pay.”

            I have a function to attend this evening but I will be back later.

          15. Anonymous says:

            georgenelson you wrote “Those restrictions are there to ensure that the populace has a machine that works not to piss off a fringe subculture of technophiles who take pleasure of being different” – really? jailbreaking iphones is legal, and ultimately doing the same on a ps3 will be legal too, this is why sony basically lost against geohot and dropped the case. please do some research before you continue to say things that are not accurate about this “subculture”. the only tantrums i see here are from people who do not understand how fair use works, reverse engineering and who/what makers actually are.

          16. Seth Bundick says:

            “the only tantrums i see here are from people who do not understand how fair use works, reverse engineering and who/what makers actually are.”

            We know who makers are, by what they do. What they do, in my eyes and in the eyes of the people who makes the products that makers exploit, is unethical. You are not heroes or champions of the people, you are not Robin Hood or V.

          17. Anonymous says:

            ok seth, you’re on the make site and you’re not going to insult makers – that’s your last comment on this post, thanks.

          18. Seth Bundick says:

            You are obviously a thin skinned hypocrite, or I touched a nerve. Perhaps you do have a conscience in there, but I doubt it. When the things that makers screw with violates other people who want nothing to do with their little hobby, it is unethical and wrong. In my opinion, it should be criminal.

          19. Anonymous says:

            ok seth, you’re done here.

          20. Geoffrey Wagner says:

            I get you, George. Every bit of software comes with some sort a EULA which states what that software can and cannot be used for, even open source stuff. The software on the PS3 is no different.

          21. Anonymous says:

            geoffrey, you should watch the latest south park – you’re a perfect customer for the new human-connected ipad if you like signing bogus EULAs :)

          22. Geoffrey Wagner says:

            Well, if you bought MS Windows or Mac OS, and installed it on a computer, you signed a “bogus” EULA. If you own an iAnything, you signed a “bogus” EULA. If you bought a PS3, and updated it’s firmware, you signed a “bogus” EULA.

            My point, which you seemed to have missed, is that when you bought and used these products that have any kind of software on them, you agreed to use that software as the developer intended. Whether you think that agreement is bogus or not doesn’t matter, you agreed to it when you bought it and started using it (or upgraded it). Case in point with the PS3, jailbreaking the PS3 OS is a breach of the EULA. You claim that it is legal to do so on an iPhone, so I guess with an iPhone it is not a breach.

            Futhermore, if you upgraded your PS3’s firmware to a version which removed OtherOS, then you agreed not to hack/crack/whatever the system in order to restore the feature. Sony NEVER prevented anyone from installing another OS, stating that if you still wanted the feature, you didn’t have to upgrade to that firmware. This came with drawback that you couldn’t use the PSN, but those were the choices you were given. And if all that was available to you were slim PS3’s, then you didn’t have to buy one if you didn’t like the licensing agreement that came with it (oh no, no OtherOS).

            What I’d like to know is what gives you or anyone the right to overlook whatever EULA you signed/entered into? By what standard do you call a EULA into which you entered bogus and start doing what you please; therefore, by what standard do you justify your actions? Is there a higher power you answer to that states that you can do these otherwise illegal activities? How, then, can you not expect the consequences to your actions?

            No, I wouldn’t be a candidate for this mythical South Park device. If I think a EULA is bogus, I would not enter into it, refuse it, thereby refusing to use the software that it would otherwise license me to use.

          23. Anonymous says:

            geoffrey, if you buy something you own it and in the case of the ps3 you should be able to run your own software on it if you want. if you have a problem with this, you really need to re-think participating on the MAKE, this is kinda what we’re all about. enjoy your human centipad, you signed the agreement :)

          24. Jenna Villegas says:

            ptorrone, why not answer the questions Geoffrey asked above in his 4th paragraph?

            I have the same questions and would like to understand your thinking on this matter.

          25. Anonymous says:

            who said “big bad corporation” – if you buy something you own it, you should be able to run whatever software you want on it.

          26. Jenna Villegas says:

            Interesting how you once again avoid answering any of the questions.

          27. Anonymous says:

            which specific ones?

          28. Geoffrey Wagner says:

            Hi, I’m back.

            Anyway, help me to rethink my participation here. Tell me why I (or anyone) should be able to run whatever software I want on my ps3? The PS3 is designed with a specific purpose and with terms for use which prohibit this MAKE activity. Saying, “Because we can on the iPhone,” is apples and oranges. Saying, “Because we want to,” is childish and not far removed from vigilantism (and, let me remind you that vigilantism, while good-intentioned, is still illegal).

            I genuinely want to know, as I genuinely want to know the answers to my questions in my response above. I’m not merely asking them to be argumentative.

          29. Anonymous says:

            geoffrey, if you bought it – it’s yours. you should be able to run the software you want. keep in mind sony sold this as a feature with “otheros” and then took it away from their customers.

          30. Geoffrey Wagner says:

            To me, your answer sounds too much like “because we want to.”

            I buy a lot of products, they are all mine, and many of them even have warnings on them that say that using them in any way other than the intended use can be criminally prosecuted. This is more than just electronics and/or video game consoles. This includes over the counter medications, cooking utensils and instruments, and lawn care equipment, among other things. Why is the PS3 different?

            And, as an extreme example, if I were to buy a gun, I own it, I should be able to use it however I see fit, right? No, I can’t shoot anyone or anything without just cause.

            And, maybe I said it here, I’m sure I’ve said it elsewhere, OtherOS wasn’t forcibly taken away; you didn’t have to upgrade the firmware.

          31. Nick Day says:

            Frankly, the spirit of protests against this sort of action by Sony isn’t just “because we want to”, but more “because we SHOULD BE ABLE to” use our hardware both as originally advertised and in whatever ways the original producer did not anticipate.

            I like your examples on how things you purchased have restrictions upon them. Specifically, I like them because these are all examples with which I agree — Governing bodies, i.e. entities in which the public has a voice and who are supposed to balance interests of both producer and consumer, make those restrictions for the better of all. EULAs and the like are introduced only by the producer, and as I also stated before, I’ll be darned if a corporation whose primary motivation is to extract as much money as possible from the market is going to tell me what I should and shouldn’t do.

            OtherOS was not taken away because a kid injured themselves or because someone stuck a cooking fork in someone’s leg, it was taken away because Sony’s network was insecure and they saw it as a _potential_ means of exploiting that, in lieu of actually fixing the problem. If you find you’ve made a car whose brakes don’t work, you fix the brakes. You don’t decide that the car’s no longer allowed to accelerate, even if a subset of owners are totally okay with it.

            Also, OtherOS was taken away forcibly, contrary to your insistence, because my fully-functioning device was suddenly held hostage by them and I was forced to choose between either using one or another major features of my console. Your statement that I did not have to upgrade my firmware is correct (if I wanted to lose the option of playing new games or using PSN), but I also didn’t have to keep OtherOS; it was stating the obvious.

            The point is that I was forced to settle on which half of the system I wanted to remain functional, which is complete BS and a decision whose reversal or circumvention I eagerly await.

          32. Geoffrey Wagner says:

            Thank you very much for your answer. And, while I don’t agree with it in its entirety, I appreciate that someone actually took the time to answer the question with some sensibility and intelligibly.

  5. Seth Bundick says:

    I , for one, do not want hackers or homebrew makers messing around with my system of choice. Online PC games are virtually unplayable due to people using exploits, etc and I do not want the PSN to mimic that in anyway.
    For the sake of the millions of people who just want to play our PS3’s as they were intended, please respectfully leave it the hell alone.

    1. Anonymous says:

      seth, the MAKE site might not be for you – “homebrew makers messing around with their systems of choice” is what we celebrate. makers have nothing to do with this PSN hack, don’t confuse things.

      1. Seth Bundick says:

        I said MY system of choice, the PS3. I was happy when Linux was removed as it lessened the chance of some jack-ass with too much time on his hands, and too little real world responsibilty, to exploit the system. I don’t want homebrew allowed on the PS3. I do not want jailbreaking allowed on the PS3. I don’t want people screwing with something that has worked just fine, and I enjoy very much. I applaud Sony for going after Geohot, and was upset that they did not push it farther.

        If people want to make their own software for a console, make your own goddamned console, and stay the hell away from mine.

        1. Anonymous says:

          seth, it sounds like MAKE isn’t the site for you – you should likely avoid posting here. you will find we celebrate people’s right to install linux on their devices, jailbreaking their iphones and use technology how they choose. sony, in my opinion, lost against geohot, you need to carefully read their joint statement. geohot is a hero for standing up to sony and even they had to basically agree that he didn’t do anything wrong. if sony would have kept going they would have lost in court, this is the only reason they stopped, at least, again – that’s my opinion.

          1. Seth Bundick says:

            He is most certainly no hero in any way shape or form. The PSP was ruined by custom firmware, cheaters, glitchers, and the like and I do not want the PS3 to meet the same fate.

            MAKE most certainly is not the site for me, because I feel that “makers” as you call them ruin things for the rest of us that just want to enjoy them as they are. None of it is done for the “greater good”, but for the egos of the people doing it. The majority of PS3 owners just want to play our games as they were intended, on the system as it was intended, without other people screwing it all up, which is what hackers/crackers/makers do.

          2. Anonymous says:

            seth, all ps3 owners i know want to be able to run linux on their ps3 – sony sold this as a feature and then took it away.

          3. Seth Bundick says:

            That is due to the circle you run with. You people do not represent the majority of users, and the rest of us detest your actions.

          4. Nick Day says:

            I have yet to see a maker-type-person say anything at all about wanting to screw with online games, about wanting to steal data from the playstation network, about wanting to mess up anyone else’s experience of their systems. There are people that want to do this, and people that make online gaming hell for others, but we are not those people, and neither is Geohot. You are directing your anger in the wrong way. The truly detestable people are those that would have cracked this system (and may have much longer ago anyway) and kept it to themselves, for that very purpose.

            In fact, though, the whole point of breaking the restrictions is to maximize everyone’s enjoyment of their hardware. There are a whole group of PS3 owners that have been burned time and time again by Sony. I ran Linux on my PS3 everyday as a media server and cheapie livingroom PC, now it mostly just sits there awaiting the day that I get to use the machine I purchased again, all because Sony decided to force me to choose between keeping a feature I loved or playing the hot new game titles. I cannot WAIT for the day that either Sony says “we’re sorry”, or someone finds a way to restore my system. I don’t know about you, but I know which of those for which I’d be less likely to hold my breath, heh.

            Furthermore, who are you and these other misinformed fellow PS3 owners to look down upon my efforts to get back the machine for which I paid a great deal of cash, too? Just like you don’t want anyone ruining YOUR experience of your PS3, why shouldn’t I be mad at all the Sony fanboys playing online and complaining about griefers and hackers and encouraging Sony to take away from MY experience just to suit you? I recognize who’s at fault in that picture, though, and it’s not you guys despite some resentment at the comments you all make towards us. The people at fault are those ruining online gaming, stealing information, and Sony who has been negligent and allowed it all to happen.

            – Accept that jailbreaking is going to happen.
            – Celebrate the awesome uses of it.
            – Properly attribute blame to people that misuse that freedom.

          5. Seth Bundick says:

            Sorry, but you are wrong. Makers and jailbreakers open to the door to let the criminals in.
            Sure, you didn’t actually steal anything but you are an accomplice to the crime and frankly should be tried and prosecuted as such. Plus, Sony did not take away Other OS. You could have kept it, but forfeited your right to use the PSN.

            All I hear from your side is wah wah wah, Sony did us wrong. Get over it Francis. The rest of us don’t give a god damn about Linux, don’t want Linux, and want to keep people like you off of the PS3.

          6. Seth Bundick says:

            “How disturbed is our society when those of us that just want to do cool things with stuff we bought have to throw in with them and basically support their goals of stealing just to spur the research and progress of circumventing restrictions?”
            You want to know why? It is because you are one and the same.

          7. Anonymous says:

            seth, if you’re a maker, some one who is curious about things – yes, there’s more to technology than just being a consumer.

          8. Seth Bundick says:

            Curiosity killed the cat.

          9. Anonymous says:

            but satisfaction brought him back…

          10. Anonymous says:

            seth, you should probably stop posting in this comment thread, thanks.

          11. Anonymous says:

            +1 nick day!

          12. Kraphty says:

            Upon further reflection I choose not to post. Take me back.

  6. Anonymous says:


  7. Anonymous says:

    So, you can lock Seth out and you can lock me out but Sony cannot lock you out.

    …nice! For one who is so up on consumers freedoms and whatnot, you sure fall behind in the freedom of speech category.

    Or perhaps we didn’t follow the “Make: Online has a “be nice” commenting policy.” Well isn’t that just bogus anyways?

    Now how would you like it if we hacked this site (sure in a way it is your forum but why should we care?) unblocked ourselves and then changed the site to be as we see fit and also made it so you could not use it at all. Doesn’t that sound like a blast?

    I will not be commenting here anymore, not just because I was blocked, as you can see there are ways around that, but you Makers seem to be set in your childish ways. You answer no questions to support your way of thinking and are complete hypocrites. The blocking of people proves this more than anything.

    Your making/hacking/cracking has an effect on more than just you. Stop being so selfish and grow the hell up.

    1. Anonymous says:

      hi jenna, if you’re going to call makers criminals please do not comment on the site here, thanks.

      1. Geoffrey Wagner says:

        If I may borrow a page from your book, ptorrone, where did Jenna in that post call makers criminals?

        Seriously, though, it appears she revealed a mindset here: “Do do unto us what we do unto others.”

  8. Anonymous says:

    From the article: “Weighing in quickly on the whole hacker vs cracker thing. I am a hacker. Whoever did this were hackers also. The media will never start using the word cracker. To me, a hacker is just somebody with a set of skills; hacker is to computer as plumber is to pipes.”

    Excellent. Hacking can be used for good or ill, and making up other words like “cracker” is useless.

  9. Zephyr Prusinski says:

    haters gonna hate, makers gonna make.

  10. A Burns says:

    I know its neither MAKE nor Geohot’s job to explain how (A) the largest dataloss in history on Sony’s servers and (B) the desire to run a feature Sony sold the PS3 with and later removed are not the one and the same.

    Nevertheless I would like to ask them to consider posting it online, if only so that everytime someone is misinformed or illinformed can be pointed to it and told “Look, read this. These is the facts and the proof. Read them, and you just try to explain why A was caused by B. Enough with blaming the wrong people for this.”

    Documenting it would really force anyone disputing it to have to move beyond arguments built on vague or bad metaphor; Sony can afford to lose a case like they did against Geohot and still announce via yet another lawyer a PR piece some bad circular logic about how they are delighted with the result, but the reputation of hackers doesn’t have that luxury, and even though documenting stuff is not as fun as building it, it can be as important to leave behind a resource like that, if only because this can be expected to happen again and again.

  11. Lacrossestar Eighty-three says:

    geez, what a strange comment thread.  i wonder how many of them work for sony

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