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Sony: protecting our IP got us hacked

Taking Geohot to court, in other words.

PlayStation Network was hacked because Sony took George "Geohot" Hotz to court, Sony emperor Howard Stringer has implied.

It's the first time Sony has acknowledged, at least publicly, any link between the PlayStation 3 Jailbreak case and the gargantuan PSN data breach and ID theft.

"We believe that we first became the subject of attack because we tried to protect our IP (intellectual property), our content - in this case video games," Stringer told shareholders during a meeting, reported by Reuters.

"These are our corporate assets, and there are those that don't want us to protect them, they want everything to be free."

Sony took Hotz to court because he worked out how to modify PS3 code so the machine would accept homebrew software and, therefore, pirated games. Sony deemed this against the law.

While the court was trying to decide what grounds Hotz should be tried on, infamous 'hacktivist' group Anonymous declared war on Sony, citing the company's "wholly unforgivable" actions towards Geohot. A week after that, Sony and Hotz quietly settled in court. A week after that, PSN went down.

Anonymous denied having any hand in the PSN ID theft, but Sony later claimed to have found a file on a compromised server that named Anonymous and used the group's familiar motto of "We Are Legion".

Howard Stringer could also be referring to LulzSec, the group that shot to fame after a string of high profile hacks and DDoS attacks. These included Sony's websites but not, it seems, PSN.

Back in May, however, Stringer expressed confusion about why someone would want to attack a free service such as PSN. "It didn't seem like the likeliest place for an attack," he said.

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Robert Purchese avatar

Robert Purchese

Senior Staff Writer

Bertie is a long-time writer and now podcaster for Eurogamer. He loves telling a story and listening to them.

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