Why was the PlayStation Network hacked?

By mentalfloss
April 29, 2011
PlayStation Network presentation
PlayStation Network presentation -TMG
Sony tried to get some hackers arrested (George Hotz aka geohot, graf_chokolo) earlier this year for hacking their PS3s. This had nothing to do with the network infrastructure. There was a feature that Sony removed from the PS3 in a somewhat recent firmware update (3.21+) - called "OtherOS" - which they believed was causing rampant piracy and therefore it needed to go.

Well a lot of people weren't too happy about this, and there is still an ongoing court dispute about this wherein many claim that the removal of the feature is like some sort of misleading advertising. Anyway, one hacker in particular has been targeted by the company in this dispute, and a hacker group called Anonymous has also made some statements about the removal of this feature - claiming it is unwarranted.

It could be that this intrusion into their network infrastructure was in part due to the backlash from this earlier feature removal.

The Anonymous group has come out and said that they had nothing to do with this latest attempt, so if Sony can find these guys only time will tell. But if they can't, then this will be one of the most successful disturbances of business we've ever seen.

The Anonymous group is also well known for their attempts at Distributed Denial of Service attacks or DDoS. They aren't known for stealing credit card information nor have they demonstrated an ability to make such attempts.

I'm pretty sure from here on in, Sony will make damn sure they have a good anti-piracy schema in place from the beginning of their system's hardware cycle. People have proven time and again that they will go to great lengths to cause civil unrest or corporate disruption if they feel they've been treated unjustly.


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Comments (25)
mentalfloss's Avatar
mentalfloss    Apr 27th, 2011
Yea, apparently Sony could be out $24 Billion because of this.
EagleSmack's Avatar
EagleSmack    Apr 27th, 2011
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Wow. What a bummer. Hacks should really be penalized severly. They think nobody gets hurt but they cause so much financial damage.

There should be a new law just for hackers.
DurkaDurka's Avatar
DurkaDurka    Apr 27th, 2011
Quote: Originally Posted by mentalfloss --

Yea, apparently Sony could be out $24 Billion because of this.

No doubt, there will be some serious repercussions to this.
mentalfloss's Avatar
mentalfloss    Apr 27th, 2011
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Quote: Originally Posted by EagleSmack --

Wow. What a bummer. Hacks should really be penalized severly. They think nobody gets hurt but they cause so much financial damage.

There should be a new law just for hackers.

Not to side with the hackers on this one, but the company should also bear some of the blame for their security measures.
DurkaDurka's Avatar
DurkaDurka    Apr 27th, 2011
Quote: Originally Posted by EagleSmack --

Wow. What a bummer. Hacks should really be penalized severly. They think nobody gets hurt but they cause so much financial damage.

There should be a new law just for hackers.

They should be hung out to dry but at the same time Sony has some serious explaining as to why some of this data is not encrypted. Leaving subscriber info in plaintext is retarded.

I'm pretty sure the hackers who did this were looking for a financial kickback, many of these sophisticated hacks are backed by mafia these days, so I have read anyways.
EagleSmack's Avatar
EagleSmack    Apr 27th, 2011
Quote: Originally Posted by mentalfloss --

Not to side with the hackers on this one, but the company should also bear some of the blame for their security measures.

They will in the tune of their losses. But guys are always going to hack and find ways around defenses. If a great security team gets beat by a brilliant hacker... wtf?!
Unforgiven's Avatar
Unforgiven    Apr 27th, 2011
Quote: Originally Posted by DurkaDurka --

They should be hung out to dry but at the same time Sony has some serious explaining as to why some of this data is not encrypted. Leaving subscriber info in plaintext is retarded.

I'm pretty sure the hackers who did this were looking for a financial kickback, many of these sophisticated hacks are backed by mafia these days, so I have read anyways.

Not as new a phenomenon as one might think. Brand destruction came along in the 80s.
DurkaDurka's Avatar
DurkaDurka    Apr 27th, 2011
Quote: Originally Posted by Unforgiven --

Not as new a phenomenon as one might think. Brand destruction came along in the 80s.

From a company's own fault or via outside sources?
mentalfloss's Avatar
mentalfloss    Apr 27th, 2011
Quote: Originally Posted by EagleSmack --

They will in the tune of their losses. But guys are always going to hack and find ways around defenses. If a great security team gets beat by a brilliant hacker... wtf?!

There's a backstory to this as well.

Apparently Sony tried to get some hackers arrested earlier this year for hacking their PS3s. This had nothing to do with the network infrastructure. There was a feature that Sony removed from the PS3 in their latest firmware update - called "OtherOS" - which they believed was causing rampant piracy and therefore it needed to go.

Well a lot of people weren't too happy about this, and there is still an ongoing court dispute about this wherein many claim that the removal of the feature is like some sort of misleading advertising. Anyway, one hacker in particular has been targeted by the company in this dispute, and a hacker group called Anonymous has also made some statements about the removal of this feature - claiming it is unwarranted.

It could be that this intrusion into their network infrastructure was in part due to the backlash from this earlier feature removal.

The Anonymous group has come out and said that they had nothing to do with this latest attempt, so if Sony can find these guys only time will tell. But if they can't, then this will be one of the most successful disturbances of business we've ever seen.

I'm pretty sure from here on in, Sony will make damn sure they have a good anti-piracy schema in place from the beginning of their system's hardware cycle. People have proven time and again that they will go to great lengths to cause civil unrest or corporate disruption if they feel they've been treated unjustly.
DurkaDurka's Avatar
DurkaDurka    Apr 27th, 2011
Quote: Originally Posted by mentalfloss --


I'm pretty sure from here on in, Sony will make damn sure they have a good anti-piracy schema in place from the beginning of their system's hardware cycle. People have proven time and again that they will go to great lengths to cause civil unrest or corporate disruption if they feel they've been treated unjustly.

Mental, Sony had the most sophisticated DRM on any of the consoles, the fact that it took over 5 years to crack it looks pretty good in their regard. The lawsuit against geohot for cracking the system was a farce though, by the time the court ruled, the source code was all over the net.

The problem with Sony or Microsoft for that matter is that they assume the majority of people who "crack" their systems do it in order to run pirated games... false. these systems have so much potential to do things these companies could never dream of or dream of but dont because they cater to the lowest common denominator. I have ran various cracked system in the past (PS3, Iphone, Android, 360) and it was solely to get the machine to do what I want.

They'll learn one of these days