Sony, a company famous for creating dangerous computer viruses, is attacking a security researcher (George Hotz) for “circumventing some of their technological protection measures”. A few days ago it was announced that their request for a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) has been granted, which basically means that George Hotz is not allowed (for now) to distribute the information he acquired by looking into the PS3 System. For all we know, his research could have helped finding something even more dangerous than Sony’s rootkit, that they don’t want their customers to know about.
“Technological Protection Measures” (TPMs), more widely known as DRMs (Digital Restrictions Management) are a series of computer technologies/software aiming at restricting the way consumers use their products. DRMs are a very specific type of malware used by some companies such as Sony to protect copyrighted content. The positive effects of DRMs have never been visible (DRMs have never reduced piracy, they barely postpone it), while their negative side effects, impacting honest customers, can be experienced on a daily basis (I’ll write more about this… one day).
In many countries such as the USA, it is (in most cases) illegal to circumvent DRMs (despite them being very similar to malware), and even more to explain people how to bypass them. This is why Mr. Hotz is currently being sued.