PS3 Running Linux Serves Up LOIC in Sony DDoS Attack

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

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Sony Computer Entertainment America announced it is investigating intermittent downtime at several of the company's domains, including several PlayStation-related websites.

"We are currently investigating, including the possibility of targeted behavior of an outside party. If this is indeed caused by such an act, we want to once again thank our customers who have borne the brunt of the attack through interrupted service," Sony said  in a statement released Tuesday.

The outages are thought to be caused by the rogue hacktivist movement known as Anonymous who had issued a statement Monday announcing a coordinated distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack against the company, dubbed "OpSony".

The Anonymous press release announcing the attack indicated it is in retaliation for recent "legal actions against fellow Internet citizens GeoHot and Graf_Chokolo."

George "Geohot" Hotz is responsible for the well publicized "jailbreak" of Sony's PlayStation3, which allows non-approved software to run on the gaming system. 

Alexander "Graf_Chokolo" Egorenkov drew the ire of Sony for his work in enabling the PS3 to run the Linux operating system.

The PS3 had previously offered the "OtherOS" feature, which would allow users to run software like the Linux OS and FreeBSD, but the option was eliminated in the most recent versions of the gaming console,and Sony issued firmware to disable the feature in older models.

The elimination of OtherOS inspired enterprising hackers like Hotz and Egorenkov to take it upon themselves to produce exploits that would essentially restore the feature for those with enough technical savvy.

Their efforts spurred legal action by Sony, which in turn prompted the anti-copyright movement Anonymous to target the company's domains with a DDoS attack this week using a downloadable tool called the Low Orbit Ion Cannon (LOIC).

Some Anonymous supporters are apparently using PS3's running Linux to serve up the LOIC attacks, as evidenced by the following screenshot provided by a source familiar with the OpSony assault:

Anon PS3 Linux Sony Attack

"Somebody posted this on #radiopayback showing an attack with LOIC using a PlayStation3, and YellowDog Linux running Python LOIC client in an xterm," the source noted.

There is more than a touch of irony to the notion that a "jailbroken" PlayStation3 running an unsanctioned Linux operating system, the very impetus for the legal action brought by Sony against Hotz and Egorenkov, would be employed in a DDoS attack against Sony domains.

Also surprising is the overwhelmingly negative response to the DDoS attacks from the PS3 gaming community - those who might most benefit from the return of the OtherOS feature. Anonymous may have ultimately alienated a healthy percentage of their support base in their battle with Sony.

The politics of hacktivism, it seems, are as complicated as in any other realm.

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Denial of Service Linux DDoS Headlines Anonymous Hacktivist LOIC Sony PS3
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Bo Allen The general gaming community just wants too play their games and get what other people fight for as long as the fight doesn't affect them.
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