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Sony comes down hard on PS3 hackers

Sony has filed suit in US District Court, in an attempt to stop PS3 hackers from breaking in the gaming console.

By Matthew Shaer / January 12, 2011

PlayStation 3 has been hacked. And now, Sony is going after the hackers. At left, a Sony PlayStation 3 controller.

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Last week came news that hackers had successfully busted into the Sony PlayStation 3, effectively allowing users to create and load their own software onto the PS3. "The complete console is compromised – there is no recovery from this," pytey, a member of the fail0verflow band of hackers, told the BBC. "This is as bad as it gets. Someone is getting into serious trouble at Sony right now."

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Fail0verflow, the BBC reported, claims to have developed the hack so it could create community-written software on the high-powered PlayStation 3.

Today comes news that Sony has filed a lawsuit against several members of fail0verflow and George Hotz, a well-known American hacker who published details of the PS3 jailbreak on his blog. The defendants, Sony lawyers argue, have "circumvented effective technological protection measures" employed by Sony to "protect against unauthorized access to and/or copying of... PlayStation 3 computer entertainment systems."

Sony wants the hackers to cease and desist; meanwhile, the company is asking for legal fees and damages, and for hackers to hand over any devices used to jailbreak the PS3. So will the lawsuit work? Some analysts have their doubts. Over at PC World, Matt Peckham runs down a laundry list of the hurdles that Sony must hop in order to prevail – and the list is long.

Others say that even if Sony does get the hackers to desist, it may be damaging its image among gamers. "Sony can do more in creating awareness of IP laws by using the mass media," Al Hilwa, program director at the firm IDC, told the E-Commerce Times this week. "They can be more responsive to their consumers by providing usable backup mechanisms for disks or cartridges. I would rather see that than lawsuits."

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