If you are a reader of the corners of the Internet currently dedicated to the game industry, you have probably heard the many twists and turns regarding the tale of of George "GeoHot" Hotz, who, after his successful run as "the guy who jailbroke the iPhone," moved onto hacking of the PlayStation 3 firmware and getting sued by Sony for it. It's been an amusing, interesting story up to this point, with blogs frantically tracking GeoHot's out-of-country sojourns and rap video legal statements like he was the game industry's version of the Hipster Grifter, or something.
Over the course of this week, this story has gotten markedly less amusing and decidedly more uncomfortable, thanks to the actions of notoriously dogged and frequently butthurt hacker group Anonymous, who put out a really adorable threatening statement declaring Sony's civil suit against GeoHot and fellow hacker Alexander "Graf_Chokolo" Egorenkov an affront to hackers everywhere, and warning that they would get their DDoS on with the PlayStation Network as a result of Sony poking their hornet's nest.
Now it appears Anonymous is making good on its threats, with a variety of reports regarding connectivity issues on the PlayStation 3 popping up all over the place. Sony, for their part, has remained relatively mum on the subject, with a moderator forum post on the European PlayStation forums simply offering up a series of known error codes, and a statement that read, "We are currently looking into this and I will update the thread as more information becomes available." Translated from legally approved corporate speak, that roughly translates to, "Uhhhhh...crap?"
== TEASER ==Oh, but that's not all. According to the blog PlayStation Lifestyle, a splinter sect of Anonymous, calling themselves "Sony Recon," has vowed to take things several ominous steps further by digging up all sorts of personal info on Sony executives and their families--including Sony bigwig Sir Howard Stringer--and doing mean stuff with it. That would include the following Internet equivalents of flaming dog crap on a doorstep:
Craigslist – Make a ad in the “free stuff” section, or in “erotic services” and “casual encounters” as is evident here there are many horny men who will relentlessly pursue someone who they believe to be 19/f.
STD Postcards – send one of these e-postcards notifying the target that one of their previous sexual partners has a STD. Makes for an uncomfortable wait for them. Alternatively call an AIDS hotline and ask them to anonymously tell the target they could have HIV, thats a 6 month wait until the test comes back.
Free UPS Boxes create an account and order the target a couple of hundred boxes & labels, fedex also offer free boxes.
Google Maps use Google maps to locate local businesses to mess with the target.
Skype – Use skype to call the target. When you first register a skype account you get one free call…
IP Relay – Ask the operator not to announce at the start of the call. This is a service only available to people in the USA.
Things got even more surreal today when a writer for PlayStation Lifestyle was allowed into the group's inner sanctum--an IRC channel, natch--and given the opportunity to talk to a bunch of these computer-lab Tyler Durdens directly. The resulting story reads a lot like that one time that ABC reporter interviewed Osama Bin Laden in Afghanistan, except like a bajilliondy times less intimidating.
What does any of this mean to you, the player of games? Well, for starters, because of some dudes with an anarchistic streak and a slightly overbearing sense of "protecting their own," you may be having some issues with getting online with your PlayStation 3. Anonymous has made it clear that they have no intention of screwing with average consumers or doing anything malicious with any hacked account information--but they pretty much already are screwing with the average consumer. Nobody within Anonymous seems to be too concerned with inconveniencing console owners, because let's face it, when hackers get on their "noble thief" high horse, consumer inconvenience comes second banana to taking down "the establishment."
Anonymous has also stated that they have no intention of messing with journalists who write about them, citing the need for free speech over any desire to control how their "message" is spread. Regardless, I just went ahead and canceled all my credit cards and changed all my passwords, just in case.