Home Editorial Relay Rant: PS3 hackers and homewreckers

This week, Top Tier Tactics introduces a new feature, Relay Rant. The premise is simple: one writer per week gets to whine about whatever he wants. Then you, the audience, tell us which writer you want to see write next week’s Relay Rant and what it should be about! Since Xiant formed the basis of this idea… he’s going first. ~WiNG

A Symbol of Dread?

The Escapist mentioned that apparently the hackers who managed to get their hands on private PSN information are now trying to sell over two million credit cards numbers, including the security codes. Personally, I don’t remember which card I put on PSN, if I did at all. However, the reports are coming in of people seeing strange charges on their credit cards, numbering in the thousands of dollars. These may not be connected incidents, but if they are, things could get ugly real quick.

Now, I don’t know what your opinion of the situation is, and I know there are arguments defending both the hackers and Sony, but here are my two cents. First, I don’t mind that Hotz went and found out the root code to the PS3. It was his machine, he’s a hacker and they’re bound to do stuff like that. What I do take issue with is his releasing it to the whole motherfucking internet, which is filled with people who care nothing for their fellow man and for whom ruining a life is something to shrug about. Sony’s overreaction the affair did not help their cause either, and said internet was bound to go after them.

That said, I think the fallout following the recent PSN security breach is filled with overreactions from both sides, and I side with neither. The hacker defenders have their right to think Sony deserves one in the jewels, and maybe they do. The Sony defenders have a right to say that the hackers have gone too far. I couldn’t care for either opinion. What I do care about is the long term effects put into motion by GeoHot’s actions. I’m not talking about hacked PS3s with emulators or whatever. I’m not talking about Sony collapsing under its own weight. I’m talking about the people that Sony failed to protect and that the hackers are now going to run into the ground.

This issue now affects more than just the gaming market and the gamers that inhabit it. It affects their parents and families. It might affect the future of the children whose parents’ information was stolen. It might affect those whose livelihood depends on Sony. The damage could ripple outward quickly, starting with PSN and expanding from there. If things take a few more wrong turns, which they could, stories of thousands of people losing their jobs, reputations and maybe more are going to start popping up. I know that I for one do not want to find my checking account emptied or credit card maxed out because of this. I know I don’t want people around the world getting calls from credit help places and then get laughed at when they say that it’s the fault of the video game industry.

And I can’t help but wonder if this whole thing couldn’t have been avoided if GeoHot hadn’t released the keys to the PS3.

Would someone have done it instead of him? Probably. Was this whole scenario a time bomb waiting to explode? Perhaps. I’m just optimistic enough to think this isn’t the case. My optimism can’t change the facts, though, and I feel sorry for any and all who are adversely affected by the large-scale fraud that may occur. I worry about myself, certainly, but I don’t have much to lose, since I didn’t use my parent’s CC numbers. I have my own, and I’m a poor bastard. They can’t get much out of me that I care about losing. College is a debt machine, and I’m in the thick of it. But those parents who’ve worked for years building good credit, and whose limits are miles beyond my own, are at risk, and so are their children.

Pass judgment and pass the baton

What do you think about this week’s Relay Rant?
Who should get next week’s article, and what do you want to hear him rant about?

I’m not whining! My ideas are important. *sadness and tears* ~Xiant

20 replies to this post
  1. Ain’t no PS3. All I can say is that the whole incident is bad for us consumers, because, you know, bad people doing bad things to other people are, in fact, bad.

    As for next week’s article, I’d want to read something new and exciting, something that hasn’t been seen yet. Like, for example, how beards can disturb your gaming exprience. hyohyohyo hyohyoyoyo (:P)

  2. i feel so lucky that i had an xbox 360 instaed of ps3.

    I BET MICROSOFT WILL MAKE SO MUCH OF A PROFIT AFTER THIS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • They’ve already offered up a free 1600 Microsoft Points if you buy any new game of 29.99. Some of their older 9.99 games have the same offer attached.

        To be honest though, I don’t see this hurting Sony too much in the long run, so long as they play their cards right for the next few months. Stocks will slide and people are, understandably angry. E3 is coming up, and PSN is supposedly coming back online with much heavier security. The FBI, Homeland Security and other groups are helping out, so while this is a major fuck up, if anything, Sony might come out stronger from all this. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, they say. If it teaches a megacorp like Sony any humility, I’d go so far as to say this has several silver linings people aren’t thinking about (for Sony. Not for the people who’ve lost private information).

  3. Hello, I hope that this doesn’t come across as supporting or condemning either side, but most people writing about GeoHot in relation to the PSN hack seem to be confused about the relationship between hacking a PS3 and hacking Sony’s servers.

    The PSN database was not necessarily hacked as a result of the cracked rootkey. Said rootkey (as created by GeoHot and the Fail0verflow community) allows one to sign one’s own software on a PS3, effectively allowing the user to install and run whatever software they choose – from Linux to pirated games.

    This *could* allow the PSN hack to take place, since using Rebug or similar bootware one could enable a PS3 as a developer unit, and thus have access to a HUGE amount of functionality, including the ability to access certain core Sony networks (PSN quite likely included) because once you access the “trusted network” there are probably minimal further security measures, since Sony don’t expect their own Devs to hack them… which is normally a perfectly reasonable position. This type of intrusion is unlikely since I hope that Sony would limit Dev access to their networks after the rootkey was publicly revealed a few months ago. If they didn’t, that is a truly cataclysmic fuck up – like handing a thief the keys to your house and just hoping that he doesn’t work out where you live.

    Therefore, it’s equally (if not more) likely to be a “conventional” hack by a group like Anonymous (who have declared such an intent in response to Sony’s legal action against GeoHot), probably an SQL injection or a variant thereof. I have no knowledge of hacking so I can’t speculate further on this.

    Ultimately, this attack is *probably* in response to Sony suing GeoHot, but not necessarily *enabled* by his work. Cheers.

    • While I’ll grant you it’s payback, Anonymous declared publicly that they had nothing to do with this intrusion. Also, without knowledge of how closely the PS3 hardware was connected to the PSN information I can’t say further.

      Regardless, my point here was that the hack happened, there is no one side without some blame, and that the after effects will be much larger than just the gaming world. The argument over who’s right and who’s not, how it happened and why is, at this point, worthless. I think the bigger thing to worry about is the future now that the number is up to 10 million possible credit card leaks.

      • True, true. For all we know it’s some organised crime syndicate with no interest in IP/personal property debates.

        You are, of course, right: 10 million people having their credit card information stolen and 90 million (iirc?) peoples’ personal details missing causes serious concern for pretty much everyone involved in… well… anything where you have to register a product.

        It’s scary stuff. The fact that it’s not happened before would suggest that Sony are at some fault; and their taking a week to alert people is *extremely* disturbing.

        Fingers crossed that Steam isn’t next.

  4. Strangely enough, my Xbox account was hacked, and my money was stolen, which happened like a week or so before all this PSN stuff. (I still don’t have my account back.) I feel your pain, PS3 users.

      • To be fair, the hackers still had to CHOOSE to steal people’s info. The hackers could have just gotten into PSN, shut it down, and given Sony the finger, but they chose instead to also ruin peoples’ privacy and try to profit from it.


      • See, if it were Anonymous, that probably would have happened. Because they claim to have had no hand, collectively in this, simple greed is too much to overcome. Morals aren’t the hacker-net’s strong suit, and I don’t think anyone’s trying to profit anymore. They already have. It’s just how much they can continue to before the hammer finally drops.

  5. I’m glad I haven’t placed my credit info in Sony’s hands yet. XD
    I agree with you. It’s devastating to realize how many lives have been or will be ruined in this incident. But there’s always that risk. There’s hackers everywhere and I want to say…most, if not all, are greedy. I wonder how Sony wound gain back the trust for their users. I, for one, don’t really find it safe to place my credit info on psn anymore. I guess there’s is the option of buying those pre-paid psn cards. It seems like such a hassle thou.

    For next week rant? D: Maybe like a list of something the writers would want to rant about would be nice. And letting the readers choose from that list? It’s hard coming up with something out of the blue.

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