Sony on the trail of a hacker who has gone to ground

24 Mar 2011

George Hotz, the 21-year-old hacker who reverse engineered the Sony PlayStation 3, is believed to be hiding out in South America. He is alleged to have destroyed evidence in the form of hard disks rather than hand them over to Sony.

Hotz, erstwhile known as GeoHot, is alleged to have written software code that circumvented the security code on the PlayStation 3 to make it capable of running unauthorised software and games.

The case is key for manufacturers like Sony who need to set an example in preventing hackers from providing users with the tools to play pirated video games.

Sony was suing Hotz for violating the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and the Computer Fraud Abuse Act by distributing tools for jailbreaking PS3s.

Hotz was ordered by a federal magistrate to hand over his console, computers and hard disks to Sony’s lawyers.

Did Hotz have a PSN account?

Sony is accusing Hotz of declaring under oath that he did not have a Sony PSN account. However, Sony tracked down an IP address to Hotz’s New Jersey home.

Under the username Blickmanic, Hotz is alleged to have publicised his jailbreaking software on a prominent site for PlayStation hackers and gamers.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years