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"Anonymous" Deems Sony's Hacker Litigation Totally Uncool, Goes to War

If you can't connect to PSN today, it's because your strict, disciplinarian principal and that weird kid who likes making pipe bombs are having a spat.

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.


Cue teary-eyed guy sobbing "LEAVE PLAYSTATION 3 ALONE!"


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.

Call them:

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. Alex Navarro on Google+
301 Comments
Posted by rndmtask
@LiquidS said:
" Anonymous balances out the shit from the main stream/corporate a little...
Not saying everything they do is right but I am glad they exist.
"
Well said. There will always be the complete opposite of any one side. It may be an inconvenience to us, but this keeps mega-corporations like Sony on their toes, and maybe rethink their business strategies. 
Posted by cordialsnail
@Rmack: I doubt anything of this magnitude is capable of coming from 4chan anymore.  They're a lot like a bunch of ferrets thrown in a burlap sack.
Perhaps some of them have been associated with 4chan in the past.  That's probably being generous,
Posted by EgoCheck616

Good thing I'm a PC / PS3 enthusiast.

PSN is down? Meh. I've got 160+ games on Steam. Oh, and RIFT!
Posted by SethPhotopoulos
@alphanull said:
" I love people spouting shit they don't understand and are butthurt because of some free service down time.Get over yourselves, what is going on here is bigger than you and your couple games of Black Ops tonight.Christ, people and their entitlement issues. "
Like anonymous' entitlement issues?
Posted by Hourai

Yeah, Anonymous are a bunch of idiots. But we all knew that. 

Posted by ryanwho

It must be nice just chillin in mom's spare bedroom, telling people you're totally looking for a job, then dicking around on the internet as "anon" and thinking you change the world.

Posted by yyZiggurat
@WrenchNinja said:

" @Jeffsekai said:

" Anonymous is not 4chan, calling them the same thing is fucking retarded. The whole point of taking down the PSN so the average person gets pissed off and bitches at Sony, thats the fucking point. People questioning how this will help anything need to look at the bigger picture."
How is bitching to Sony going to help at all? It really seems like they're the ones missing the bigger picture here. I don't think threatening judges, lawyers and Sony dudes is going to be helping Geohot's defense. "
 I agree.  If anything I think people blaming "hackers" for not being able to connect to PSN is the bigger picture.
Posted by Sackmanjones

I havent had any PSN issues at all

Posted by TwoOneFive

if these losers spent all their time and efforts on making something new and cool, they'd actually serve a purpose. but for now, they're just a bunch of a dorks with no lives. 

Posted by Brendan
@OmegaPirate said:
"
 Am i the only one thinking that it isnt really newsworthy press? and by making this an article it's making a bigger deal out of the situation than there actually is, and maybe letting them think they are 'winning' some kind of 'war'?

Meh, they are about as threatening and effective as corgis

Oh shi....
"
I FOR ONE WELCOME OUR ADORABLE OVERLORDS.
Posted by McDunkin

Calling Anonymous a hacker group of any kind is pretty dumb considering everything they do is the internet equivalent of retard strength.

Posted by iWonder
@Hailinel said:
" @extremeradical said:
" I don't like Hotz, I don't like Sony's lawyers, and I don't like Anonymous.

At this point, I just want this cute little stunt to end, presumably in a way that doesn't directly empower any of the above stated three factions.
"
Yeah.  This is more or less Romance of the Three Cock-ups. "
This reminds me of when Gene from KISS got butthurt over music piracy, then Anon got involved... I came away hoping both would lose somehow.
Posted by scarace360

Why not just freezes sonys bank account instead come on i bet that would fuck with them alot more.

Posted by Agent47
@ryanwho: I know right it's like they don't have enough spark in their normal lives that they think they can start a Hacker revolution or some shit.Yeah right go back to looking for jobs ya bums.
Posted by Duder_Me

They sound like Al Quaida when they say they are not doing anything wrong lol. They are screwing up my free time, of course they are doing something wrong!

Posted by KaosAngel

I don't get how people are siding with Sony on this.  I mean, this is coming for a "hardcore Sony fanboy", according to users here, and I'm all for George winning this case and owning the shit out of Sony.  Kinda hope Anon does worse and Sony wakes up.  

Sony had FIVE YEARS OF PIRACY FREE GAMING, the longest compared to any console in history, the next console generation will kick in sooner or later so everyone will bail for the PS4 when the time comes.  


Sony isn't right on this.  They're tracing IPs of users who look at George's site, videos, etc.  You know what Microsoft did when George got the trials?  They sent him a god damn WIndows 7 Phone and told him to hack it, that's how you do it.  

All the crimes that Sony has done due to this whole fiasco is all on them.  How are people even taking sides with Sony on this?
Posted by yyZiggurat
@Seppli said:
" I got to read a book today because of their shennanigans. Was well entertained by it. Reading Dark Tower at the moment.Other than that - leave PSN alone please. "
Which book in the series are you reading?  I'm currently 75% through DK1.
Posted by SethPhotopoulos
@KaosAngel said:
" I don't get how people are siding with Sony on this.  I mean, this is coming for a "hardcore Sony fanboy", according to users here, and I'm all for George winning this case and owning the shit out of Sony.  Kinda hope Anon does worse and Sony wakes up.  

Sony had FIVE YEARS OF PIRACY FREE GAMING, the longest compared to any console in history, the next console generation will kick in sooner or later so everyone will bail for the PS4 when the time comes.  

Sony isn't right on this.  They're tracing IPs of users who look at George's site, videos, etc.  You know what Microsoft did when George got the trials?  They sent him a god damn WIndows 7 Phone and told him to hack it, that's how you do it.  

All the crimes that Sony has done due to this whole fiasco is all on them.  How are people even taking sides with Sony on this?
"
We aren't siding with Sony.  We fucking hate anonymous for fucking with us because they are so damn pissy.
Posted by Gabriel

The best way for this to end would be for members of Anonymous to mysteriously disappear, and Sony be indited for first degree murder charges.

Edited by Dallas_Raines
@KaosAngel: 

Online games being inaccessible because of glorified trolls = Boredom and frustration, which in turn leads to hatred of all things anon

Is it so fucking hard?
Posted by 234r2we232
@Gabriel said:
" The best way for this to end would be for members of Anonymous to mysteriously disappear, and Sony be indited for first degree murder charges. "
I vote for this.
Posted by KaosAngel
@Lord_Yeti: Stop QQing and complain to Sony then.  I'm all for it, and I hope they keep the pressure on it.  George is going to ace his trials and has the community of millions behind him the entire time.  It's not my fault if you can't find other things to do when PSN is going down, it's Spring for one...so go outside and be active, or read a book, or countless other things.  

Still down?  Complain to Sony for not having better protection.
Posted by Skald
@aurahack said:
" This is ridiculous. Neither party is winning here. Both the hackers and Sony are just coming off as internet assholes. 

It's like an e-penis contest in court and it's fucking annoying.
"
I don't even understand how it's come to this. Hotz is coming off as a cocky asshole and Sony is coming off as a faceless, power leveraging mega-corporation.

It's a fucking nightmare for both sides, but neither side wants to admit it, so here we are, the proverbial pissing contest.
Posted by Dallas_Raines
@KaosAngel: 

Right, the guy with a Dante fanclub is telling me to get a life.
Posted by SethPhotopoulos
@KaosAngel said:
" @Lord_Yeti: Stop QQing and complain to Sony then.  I'm all for it, and I hope they keep the pressure on it.  George is going to ace his trials and has the community of millions behind him the entire time.  It's not my fault if you can't find other things to do when PSN is going down, it's Spring for one...so go outside and be active, or read a book, or countless other things.  Still down?  Complain to Sony for not having better protection. "
When you want to use a service and its down because of hackers I'm going to blame the hackers not the service.  If it goes down because its shitty service then I'll blame the service providers.  But it isn't Sony's fault its down.  Its the hackers.  I'll do something else if its down but I should have the option of using the service that was promised to me.
Posted by jrsmaster411
@KaosAngel:  are you complaining about people complaining? If so, I would like to complain about you complaining about people complaining
Posted by KaosAngel
@Lord_Yeti: The funny thing is, I do.  I go bar hopping with friends, I go to the movies, I go to law school, I do countless other things.  My nights aren't based on if PSN is online or not, if PSN is down during the night...then I just go on Steam and play the list of 100+ games I have, if nothing interests me I go on Netflix, nothing there?  Why not drive around the area and enjoy the spring weather, or even better...call up some friends and chill by the delaware river while we eat burgers.  

See?  PSN down?  Who cares, it's a free service that I'm not paying for...I'm not bummed out that I can't sign on.  No games are out that I play online at the moment, and even if there was...it's not a big enough deal for me.

If PSN being down is that important to you, tell Sony and tell them to fix it.  
Edited by ch13696
@SethPhotopoulos said:

" @ch13696 said:

" I suggest people actually read the interview with Anon.
http://playstationlifestyle.net/2011/04/06/the-worst-is-yet-to-come-anonymous-talks-to-playstation-lifestyle/

As Alex fails to point out. There will be no harmful attacks on anyones family. Actually, there won't be any harmful attacks at all on anyone. So, I don't see any problems here.
"
So finding out private information on execs isn't illegal and morally questionable to say the least? "
If it means hacking into emails and such then of course it's wrong. However, I'm sure they will find information that is open on the internet.

EDIT: Actually let me rephrase that. I say welcome to the internet. If you have the ability to hack into any sort of domain and receive any sort of information, then go for it. Apparently what Anon wants to do is publicly humiliate the Sony execs and I'm all for it.
Posted by Everyones_A_Critic

Aw man, that article got snark all over my hands...

Posted by Rydemption
@Laketown said:
" @DystopiaX: in fact, to get over 4chan you have to develop class. "
would that class be of the retarded nature?
Posted by sopachuco13

If this is a "news" story maybe there should be less punditry and more neutral news. I think the punditry belongs more on your blog than in a news story.
Posted by ArbitraryWater

Silly internet hacker gangs and their misguided internet hacking. Why can't they ever bother to do DDoS attack on like... iraninan nuclear reactors? Yeah, I know that's probably impossible, but don't they have anything better to do?

Posted by LiquidPrince
@sopachuco13 said:
" If this is a "news" story maybe there should be less punditry and more neutral news. I think the punditry belongs more on your blog than in a news story. "
Is this your first day visiting Giantbomb? You don't seem to know what this site is about... These dudes report what they want, how they want based on what interests them.
Posted by the_OFFICIAL_jAPanese_teaBAG

havent been on the PS3 all week so to be honest it's not that big of a deal to me.  once i get on it ill begin complaining.  i dont get why Anon even bothers to do all this...  what are they trying to accomplish?  superiority over everyone because of anonymity and free speech?  i probably think this is wrong because i have different views compared to these people.  i wont judge them though because im not the kind of person that judges someone that i dont know

Posted by LiquidPrince

Hackers...

Posted by FCKSNAP

The funny thing is Geo Hot didn't hack the iPhone, he just made an installer with someone else's hack. :/

Posted by KaosAngel
@Snapstacle said:
" The funny thing is Geo Hot didn't hack the iPhone, he just made an installer with someone else's hack. :/ "
Semantics.  Hackers share their information, so it's just apples or oranges.
Posted by Chadster

Dear diary,

Today I learned what "natch" means.
Posted by fox01313

Imaginary magic 8-ball & myself are not surprised on this news.

Posted by Icicle7x3

  

Online
Posted by MrQuizmo

Anon, those guys! Publicly humiliating a group of business men! Comic hilarity ensues! 


Honestly, Anon is a group of computer folks that hate that business models exist. I get that it's crazy that you have to sign some crazy contract to do anything technological. Yeah, it sucks that I don't technically own the video game that I have on my shelf, but instead have some kind of wacky license to play the game, provided I don't break a bunch of specific rules I don't have the legal degree to completely understand. 

But, I dunno, it just feels weird that the response to have is to basically prank a bunch of business dudes. I mean, I understand the feeling that capitalism is screwing up the purity of human communication and scientific advancement. That's a philosophical question you could tackle in a three day weekend with a bottle of brandy and an intelligent partner.

But Anon could do better than this. Educate people about the alleged transgressions Sony has perpetrated. Maybe follow a similar pattern to that Scientology spat they had, minus the pizza delivery part. Propose some alternatives to Sony's decisions. Maybe promote Open Source stuff? Just something constructive.

And, to honor my 4chan days,

inb4 4chan is bunch of internet babies
Edited by Milkman

Fuck everyone involved here. The only people being hurt is innocent consumers. What the fuck is attacking PSN going to do besides inconvenience the people that Anonymous claims they're standing up for? What a pathetic bunch of self-righteous assholes. 

Posted by Gerhabio

Wasn't there a forum thread about this? Someone link this.

Posted by Tim_the_Corsair

Lol @ people criticising the tone of the article, because nothing GB publishes is ever slanted, right?

Right?

As for the topic itself, I supported what Anonymous was doing regarding Scientology, as I personally believe that cult is dangerous and a blight on the world.

However, whilst Sony have done some distasteful things in their pursuit of people hacking the PS3, they have a right to protect their property and their commercial interests by taking people to court if a case exiss. Those people have the right to defend themselves, and in so doing potentially smack the evil corporate overlords down.

To everyone defending the actions (and potential future actions) of these hackers, what are they accomplishing here that is benefitting the consumer?

Posted by raiet

Alex you're my hero.

Posted by MrQuizmo
@Tim_the_Corsair:  I guess they're showing Sony whose boss?

Yeah, exactly the point. At the end of the day, nothing great is being accomplished, aside from perhaps making some computer dudes feel good. And really, don't they deserve to feel good? Don't we all want to feel like we're doing something worthwhile with our lives?

I mean, I don't. That's why I'm here, but people in general want to feel like they're doing something worthwhile.
Posted by Example1013

What I'm getting out of this is that Anonymous is basically a glorified botnet. DDoS? Really?

Posted by RecSpec

To think, all the time and resources used on stuff like this.

Posted by Skald
@example1013 said:
" What I'm getting out of this is that Anonymous is basically a glorified botnet. DDoS? Really? "
Actually, that's astoundingly accurate.
Posted by develin

Isn't it sad that the people that claim to be defenders of democracy don't feel like the boundaries of democracy apply to them. Not to mention that those script kids not only don't know what "hacker" actually meant but are 95% also just that - script kids with an exaggerated ego.