Recently mist came up with an update of his 2005 slide summarizing the effects of a number of hacks that started benign and ended up, well, not so benign. While I this kind of meta-discussions are not really my métier, an interesting discussion was started in the comments.
I don’t want to re-start this discussion. The major points have been made, from both sides. One of my points, though, that is an important foundation for this discussion, is my belief that most hacks, regardless of being benign or not, have not been made by a commercial party. Rather, they’ve been invented by not-so-well funded individuals, and only later commercialized. But this is more an observation rather than a hard fact, so I would like to get more input on this.
Let me pose this question into the public: What hacks are you aware of (concrete examples please, and please backup your facts if possible!) that have not been made by individuals, but by well-funded black-hat companies? I know some hacks in the pay-TV industry have been (but not the dbox2-related hacks, contrary to what John implied), and in the gaming-console world, the ViperGC modchip as well as PS1 and PS2 hacks come to my mind; and now of course the PS3Jailbreak, though the history behind that is still a bit mysterious.
Again, I’m not asking if hacks have been made with primary piracy in mind – it’s easy to answer this with a “yes” (for example the Wii/360 drive attacks). The question is if a hack has been made by a well-funded organization, rather than by a skilled individual that later commercialized his (or someone else’s) work.