Archive for: Hacking

GeoHot Makes Good On Promise, Donates $10,000 To EFF.

  • April 18, 2011 10:18 am

During the entire Sony vs. GeoHot ordeal, donations from around the world poured in as sour PS3 owners and outright Sony haters wanted to see fair use trump an over-zealous hardware manufacturer. But as it turned out, no one actually “won” per say. Though, some would argue that we consumers still have the upper hand now that the dust is settling. As such, all that donation money didn’t end up being needed by GeoHot thanks to a no payment settlement. So where is it going?

As promised, GeoHot donated a cool $10,000 to the EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation) this past Saturday closing his story on the PS3 lawsuit while providing the EFF the necessary resources to help fight the “next GeoHot”.

As promised, all left over legal defense money, plus a little to bump it to a nice number, has been sent to the EFF. Thank you all so much for your support, without it, things could have been much worse.

This money goes to the EFF in hopes that America can one day again be a shining example of freedom, free of the DMCA and ACTA, and that private interest will never trump the ideas laid out in the constitution of privacy, ownership, and free speech.

At the end of the day, something I take comfort in. The PS3 got OWNED.
“Once the code works they’ll never be able to take it away from us.”

Look for other aspiring hackers to quickly take GeoHot’s place as he has both sworn off any and all Sony products for life as well as being required to not hack them as part of his settlement. Fair enough. Who’s next…?

Microsoft Explains: NoDo Self-Updater Prevents Future Updates To OS.

  • April 11, 2011 8:15 pm

We’ve already discussed the Windows Phone 7 NoDo self-updater, ChevronWP7.Updater, and the apparent effects it has on future upgrades. Microsoft has already come forward once advising users to avoid such tools until the ramifications could be better understood. Well, it’s later and Microsoft’s viewpoint has gone from unfavorable to do not use.

In very basic, none programming language, ChevronWP7.Updater does allow early self updates. After that, however, the tool prevents the phone from receiving any more updates from Microsoft. What isn’t clearly defined, though, is if a third part (such as another Chevron tool) could update the phone or push patches through.

This state of non-upgradability is actually pretty serious mainly because Microsoft doesn’t provide source code or individual ROMs for their WP7 phones. As such, the only true way to get phones out of the Chevron funk is to take said phones back to the official carrier and have them reflash the phones on site — definitely not a graceful or quick solution. Microsoft has stated that they are in the process of trying to reverse-engineer the ChevronWP7.Updater to “un-brick” the affected phones.

As the back and forth debate continues to wage over the usefulness and seriousness of self-updating WP7 tools, be sure to keep checking back with Gadgetsteria to stay on top of it all!

Sony Vs. George Hotz: Settlement Reached.

  • April 11, 2011 1:19 pm

The ongoing dispute between famed Playstation/iOS hacker, George Hotz (Geohot) and Sony has come to an end. Both sides were able to reach some sort of agreement, with Hotz agreeing to an injunction.

Sony Computer Entertainment America (“SCEA”) and George Hotz (“Hotz”) today announced the settlement of the lawsuit filed by SCEA against Hotz in federal court in San Francisco, California. The parties reached an agreement in principle on March 31, 2011. As part of the settlement, Hotz consented to a permanent injunction.

Both parties expressed satisfaction that litigation had been quickly resolved. “Sony is glad to put this litigation behind us,” said Riley Russell, General Counsel for SCEA. “Our motivation for bringing this litigation was to protect our intellectual property and our consumers. We believe this settlement and the permanent injunction achieve this goal.”

“It was never my intention to cause any users trouble or to make piracy easier,” said Hotz, “I’m happy to have the litigation behind me.” Hotz was not involved in the recent attacks on Sony’s internet services and websites.

In the action, SCEA accused Hotz of violating federal law by posting online information about the security system in the PlayStation 3 videogame console and software that SCEA claimed could be used to circumvent the security system in the console and allow the playing of pirated videogames. Hotz denies any wrongdoing on his part. Hotz’s motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction was still pending before the federal court in San Francisco but a preliminary injunction was issued requiring Hotz to take down the postings challenged by SCEA.

“We want our consumers to be able to enjoy our devices and products in a safe and fun environment and we want to protect the hard work of the talented engineers, artists, musicians and game designers who make PlayStation games and support the PlayStation Network,” added Russell. “We appreciate Mr. Hotz’s willingness to address the legal issues involved in this case and work with us to quickly bring this matter to an early resolution.”

Is Geohot done hacking the PS3 for good? Stay tuned…

[Update] Confirmed: Geohot In South America — For Vacation.

  • March 24, 2011 7:56 am

The ongoing Geohot vs. Sony lawsuit gets more interesting with each passing day. Yesterday, we were talking about Geohot’s apparent fleeing to South America. Today, Geohot himself has both confirmed and denied the rumor he fled the country saying:

Factually, it’s true I’m in South America, on a vacation I’ve had planned and paid for since November. I mean, it is Spring break; hacking isn’t my life. Rest assured that not a dime of legal defense money would ever go toward something like this. And of course Townsend loves the idea of painting me as an international fugitive. I have been in contact with my lawyers almost every day; I would not let the case suffer. That said, I also won’t let this ridiculous lawsuit run my life either. Then the fearmongerers win.

Fair enough. He does have a point — through all the drama that’s been going on, he probably does have a life outside his hacking hobbies. As for the claim that Geohot tampered with his hard drives, we’ll have to wait and see…


About those “tampered” hard drives — Geohot simply removed the controller cards. You stay classy, Sony.

HTC Begins Locking Down Android Phones.

  • March 24, 2011 6:22 am

Fans of HTC’s longtime developer friendly handsets are getting an abrupt end to their party. Starting with the HTC Thunderbolt on Verizon and again witnessed with the upcoming HTC Incredible S, HTC has begun making use of signature checks. These checks spring into action when a custom recovery image is flashed, and lock things down if a stock HTC key isn’t found. Basically, HTC has turned their back on the developer community.

There are a couple reasons for this. One scenario could be HTC (and carriers) getting tired of people bricking their phones with failed rooting attempts and as such are trying to stem the flow of returned handsets. Another according to HTC is simply “carrier interests”. However, the latter doesn’t quite pass the BS test as the Incredible S is an unlocked GSM device.

Whatever the cause may be for HTC’s new heavy handed approach to rooting, it’s not a good one. Previously, HTC was the defacto standard Android manufacturer to support if you were into rooting/custom ROMs. Now that they’re no better than the other big competitors who also have used signature checks and anti-rooting measures (Samsung and Motorola), why choose them?

Hopefully HTC reverts back to their previous ways, because we aren’t fond of this new way of doing business at all.

RIM: “Disable Javascript To Remain Safe On Mobile Web In OS 6″

  • March 16, 2011 6:19 am

If you aren’t the type to follow Pwn2own and the various trickery that the contest caters to, you should. It is there that some of the world’s most talented hackers crack their way into the gadgets we love and use every day, ultimately making our lives (and gadgets) safer and more secure. However, part of that added safety is dependent on the hardware manufacturers and mobile OS developers actually implementing fixes for said hacks in a timely manner. With that said, RIM’s response to the recently exploited BlackBerry browser on OS version 6 is hardly reassuring — they recommend you completely disable Javascript to stay safe. Seeing as how countless web forms, login forms, and general web browsing overall requires some level of Javascript, this pretty much ruins your whole mobile browsing experience. Add in the fact that RIM isn’t the fastest with OS upgrades/updates (and carriers are even slower to approve and push out said updates) and you’ve got a problem brewing for BlackBerry users.

RIM has the ability to push upgrades OTA themselves. Seeing as how this would be a relatively small update, now more than ever RIM should take advantage of the included feature to keep BlackBerry users’ mobile browsing experiences up to par. BlackBerry users: Thoughts?

The Current Best Reason To Jailbreak Your iPhone: MobileNotifier

  • February 28, 2011 9:32 am

Of all the things many would list as iOS’ largest shortcoming, notifications and their intrusive nature would likely take the win. When first unveiled, iOS lacked any dedicated 3rd party applications that could alert you. But even then, many people who received tons of text messages began raising concerns with Apple’s approach of notifications — you have to deal with each one as soon as it arrives. Since 2007, more notification-capable apps have been added to iOS as well as the market seeing three new competitors in the likes of Android, webOS, and Windows Phone 7.

While jailbreaking your iPhone has always allowed a better notification experience, the latest attempts of Peter Hajas’ MobileNotifier beta 3 is in and of itself, reason to jailbreak your iPhone. As seen above, it’s a very good looking solution that feels at home on iOS. But we’ll stop short of spoiling all the fun prematurely. Hop on past the break for a nice litter gallery and a quick video showing MobileNotifier in action.

Sony’s Next Failure: The “Unhackable” PS3.

  • February 22, 2011 6:15 pm

If Sony has their way, the next PS3 refresh will be “unhackable”, thanks to a larger included hard drive and a thus far undisclosed “anti-hacking system” — this according to IGN. It would be interesting to see how Sony plans to temporarily suspend PS3 hacking, but any hopes and claims to be able to permanently stop it just shows how utterly disconnected and incompetent Sony management really is. Piracy — yes, it’s bad. Throwing all your resources behind the endless game that you’ll never win — also bad. At some point Sony needs to realize that the tougher the DRM and “anti-piracy” measures become, the worse off general users will be. Because, in the end, the only people that will get around Sony’s anti-hacking antics are the dedicated hackers themselves.

Snowbreeze 2.2′s Greatest Feature: Pac-Man While You Jailbreak.

  • February 7, 2011 7:02 am

Normally when you wait for Snowbreeze (or your favorite jailbreaking tool of choice) to do its thing, you have to stare at the screen and generally count the seconds by. But with the latest Snowbreeze 2.2 (release date unknown), you can now play an old classic while you wait — Pac-Man.

Other important updates with Snowbreeze 2.2 include the ability to preserve your baseband for the path to 4.2.1, enabling users to continue jailbreaking the new firmwares. Stay tuned.