Sony sues over PS3 encryption hack



PlayStation 3 hackers have been hit with a lawsuit from Sony for publishing details of how to bypass the security features on its game console.

Sony claims that disclosing this information has caused "irreparable injury and damage" to the company because it now allows people to run pirated games on the PS3.

The PS3 was once considered invulnerable and the most secure games console ever built. It was the only one to have consistently withstood hacking attempts. But in December 2010 at the Chaos Communication Conference in Berlin a group of European programmers calling themselves fail0verflow revealed they had finally broken specific lower levels of the PS3's encryption system that let them run their own programs on the console.Shortly after this, George Hotz, a US-based hacker known as geohot, who gained notoriety in 2007 for unlocking Apple's iPhone, built on fail0verflow's method to gain complete access to the PS3 by obtaining the master encryption key.

Crucially, Hotz then published a decryptor key for Sony's master key and released "jailbreak" software to allow others to run unauthorised programs and pirated games on their PS3. The hack comes as a huge blow to Sony, which produces and licences its own video games for the console.

Every file that is authorised to work on a PS3 uses a digital signature that is generated by Sony using a pair of keys, one of which is created by the firm, while the other, the "root" key, is encrypted within the console itself. By discovering this root key, Hotz was able to trick the PS3 into applying Sony signatures to any file, allowing unauthorised programs to be run on the system."

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