PS3 hacker arrested in landmark sting op

It was history in the making in Johannesburg, South Africa when the first raid of its kind took place in a residential home.

But there were no drugs, illegal weapons, or any of the illicit materials that are usually at the center of such a resource-intensive police action.

Instead, officials stormed the home for jailbroken PS3s, illegal hacking software, and pirated copies of games. In total they took about 100,000 rands ($14,000) worth of property, according to South African gaming blog Egamer.

The official report specified that officials grabbed “computers, circumvention software packages, jailbreak USB devices, PS3 consoles and hard drives.”

The resident whose name was not released, was taken into custody and arrested for software piracy among other charges.

The whole episode brings back memories of George Hotz, the subject of the most infamous PS3 hacking case in the US. Hotz was sued after Sony traced him to online forums in which he instructed people on how to break their PS3’s digital security.

That led to a whole flurry of media attention, controversy, and an exhaustive amount of legal resources that ultimately wound up with Hotz simply promising he would stop.

This incident is different, though, because unlike the more civilized, by-the-book process of finding and subpoenaing Hotz, police in South Africa swarmed the home without warning, catching the suspect completely off guard. Hotz was also never arrested.

Sony had argued in legal filings that Hotz doctored and destroyed evidence in his home before it ever got into the court’s possession, something which obviously isn’t an issue here.