Anonymous threatens Sony over Geohot suit

The infamous hacking organization Anonymous is reportedly turning its attention to Sony following the company's legal battle with alleged PS3 hacker Geohot.

Don Reisinger
Former CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger
3 min read

Anonymous is now dedicating itself to Sony, according to an open letter allegedly from the infamous hacking group known for its WikiLeaks-related attacks last year.

"You have now received the undivided attention of Anonymous," the open letter to Sony reads. "Your recent legal action against our fellow hackers, Geohot and Graf_Chokolo has not only alarmed us, it has been deemed wholly unforgivable."

Earlier this year, Sony filed for a restraining order against a group of PlayStation 3 hackers, most notably George Hotz (known as Geohot in hacking circles) for jailbreaking the console and allowing people to run custom packages on the device. At the time, Sony said that Geohot's alleged actions violated the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and the Computer Fraud Abuse Act. Graf_Chokolo is another person being sued by Sony for alleged hacking.

Top of the apparent letter from Anonymous to Sony.
Top of the apparent letter from Anonymous to Sony. Screenshot by CNET

Although Hotz denies that his activity in jailbreaking PlayStation 3 firmware violates the DMCA, Sony was awarded a temporary restraining order. Since then, Hotz and Sony have been battling it out in court to determine if the U.S. District Court of Northern California, where Sony wants to try the case, has jurisdiction over Hotz, who resides in New Jersey.

But it goes beyond that. Subsequent to the temporary restraining order, Sony has requested and received access to Hotz's social media accounts, as well the IP addresses of those who accessed his personal Web site. Last month, Sony also gained access to his PayPal account to find out if anyone from Northern California donated money to help him in his alleged hacking efforts.

All of that apparently has prompted Anonymous to turn its attention to Sony, the group's apparent statement claims.

"You have abused the judicial system in an attempt to censor information on how your products work," Anonymous writes in the letter to Sony. "You have victimized your own customers merely for possessing and sharing information, and continue to target every person who seeks this information. In doing so, you have violated the privacy of thousands."

Though Anonymous is considered a hacking group, the organization doesn't necessarily see itself that way. As it was attacking the Web sites of financial institutions and other organizations last year over the WikiLeaks scandal, it attempted to explain itself and its intentions.

"Anonymous is not a group of hackers," apparent representatives wrote in a statement at the time. "We are average Internet citizens ourselves and our motivation is a collective sense of being fed up with all the minor and major injustices we witness every day."

The group said at the time that it was trying to "raise awareness about WikiLeaks and the underhanded methods employed by the above companies to impair WikiLeaks' ability to function."

The anti-Sony "operation," dubbed OpSony by Anonymous, will likely include some of the techniques that Anonymous employed with the WikiLeaks situation. The release claims that Sony has only been "renting" its Web domains, and the consumer electronics company will "now be trodden on."

"If you disagree with the disciplinary actions against your private domains, then we trust you can also understand our motivations for these actions," the organization apparently wrote to Sony. "You own your domains. You paid for them with your own money. Now Anonymous is attacking your private property because we disagree with your actions. And that seems, dare we say it, 'wrong.' Sound familiar?"

Anonymous even took aim at the "judges and complicit legal entities who have enabled these cowards." It didn't specifically say what it has planned, but it said that they are "no better than Sony itself."

As of this writing, Sony's Web sites are still up and running.

"Now you will experience the wrath of Anonymous," the group apparently wrote Sony. "You must face the consequences of your actions--Anonymous style."

Sony did not immediately respond to CNET's request for comment.