Abschiedsbrief von Hykem

Hello World from IOSU"Hykem" – kein anderer User hat die Wii-U-Szene so geprägt wie er. Jeder Wii-U-Besitzer und Homebrew-Interessierte sollte ihn kennen – er war derjenige, der zuerst einen IOSU-Exploit geschaffen hat. Nach langer Abwesenheit meldet sich Hykem mit einem Brief und einer Nachricht zurück, die wohl niemanden mehr überrascht: Hykem verlässt die Hacking-Szene voll und ganz.

Wololo hat den Brief auf seiner Webseite veröffentlicht. In dem Brief geht es am Anfang um Hykems Weg zum Konsolen-Hacking. Bereits als Kind hatte er 2008 am PSP-Emulator JPCSP mitgecodet und getestet. Hier begann schon seine Liebe für Kryptographie. Sein Interesse an Reverse-Engineering wurde schon bald sehr groß, so war er z.B. auch der Co-Autor des PS3-Emulators RPCS3. Er bemängelt auch, warum das Gesetz Menschen davon abhält, mehr über geschlossene Systeme zu lernen und sie zu entdecken.

Nach einigen Absätzen kommt Hykem zum Kernpunkt des Briefes: der Wii U. Er entschuldigt sich für all' die Aktionen, die er durchgeführt hat. Viele sind auch heute noch enttäuscht von ihm, da er seinen IOSU-Hack für Nintendos aktuelle Konsole immer noch nicht veröffentlicht hat. Er hat zusammen mit anderen Entwicklern daran gearbeitet, Stück für Stück das System der Konsole auseinanderzunehmen. Aber plötzlich kam eine andere Gruppe, die es viel schneller schaffte, einen Exploit zu entwickeln. Hykem reagierte vorschnell und veröffentlichte seine Pläne – ein großer Fehler, wie er selbst zugibt.

Er darf weder über die Ereignisse sprechen, noch möchte er es – seitdem er quasi aus dem Internet verschwunden ist, ging sein Leben den Bach runter. Er verlor zwei Jobs, bekam rechtliche Probleme und hätte beinahe seinen Platz an der Universität verloren. Einige denken, Hykem sei "ein Monster" – doch er ist nur ein normaler, interessierter Mensch, der eine Liebe für Kryptographie und Technik hat.

Zum Schluss gibt er noch seinen Rückzug aus der Szene bekannt. Aber nicht nur das, er wird sich auch vollkommen aus den Bereichen Hacking und Sicherheit zurückziehen. Er strebt keine Karriere in Cybersecurity mehr an und hat heute auch kaum noch etwas mit Computern zu tun. Er hat alle seine E-Mail-Accounts deaktiviert und seine Code-Repositorys und Backups gelöscht. Er wird keinen seiner alten Accounts mehr aufsuchen.

Den ganzen Brief könnt ihr hier unten lesen.

Hello world,

I’m writing this letter as an attempt to achieve peace, both with others and myself.

You may or may not know me as Hykem and you’re probably wondering why you’re reading this here.

I asked Wololo if it would be possible to publish this for very solid reasons. I no longer have means to communicate and my alias has been used and associated with a few fake accounts, so, what better way to send a message than resort to one of the most influential and respected console hacking websites out there? Especially one that played such massive role in my life.
I must apologize to playstationhax.it and Greg, which were equally influential in my life, but it was easier and safer to verify I am indeed me through Wololo.

Anyway, I would like to start off by apologizing to everyone who stood by my side and helped me throughout my ventures in the “hacking” world.
I was still a kid when my interest in reverse-engineering sparkled. In 2008 I began beta-testing and coding for JPCSP, a PlayStation Portable emulator written in Java. I met really great people there and had a great time learning and, essentially, creating.
My love for cryptography began exactly there, by reversing and implementing a crypto engine based on the PSP’s security model. I felt at home in our small community at emunewz.net and I feel it helped me grow as a person and as a programmer.

Later, I moved to similar ventures on the PS3 console and my interest in reverse-engineering closed source devices kept growing. I was very proud to co-author the first PS3 emulator, RPCS3 with the amazing DH.
The project, despite its flaws, generated a massive community and a lot of really talented developers joined the cause.
Again, I spent hours and hours building a cryptographic engine to emulate the PS3’s security model.
I had a blast and I still can’t describe the feeling I had when we began seeing the results of our labour.
During that time, I also developed a few tools I was really proud of and helped establish my name as a serious programmer.

I watched as embedded devices’ security kept improving over time and I like to think videogame console hackers played an important role there.
During all this time I never stopped learning and finding ways to become the best. Of course, I never even got close. There are plenty of incredibly talented hackers and developers out there.
Still, I never stopped having fun. I never cared for morals and ethics since my intentions were always pure.

I’ve always been too curious and nothing makes me feel better than unveiling the multiple layers of a system and stare right at its core.
I knew the world of hacking could be dangerous and that there’s a very fine line between legal and illegal. However, I always believed that people were reasonable and if a kid broke into a system or exploited a console out of pure curiosity it wouldn’t be seen as a harmful act. I was terribly wrong.
I fail to understand the concept of a law that actively shortens our ability to learn and explore and I truly wish this will change in the future as there are amazing organizations fighting for these rights.

I can’t really explain why I felt drawn into console hacking. It’s such a specific subset, why not something else?
I grew up with videogames and always imagined what would be like to develop a game or take part in the process of building a videogame console.
Ridiculous as it is, there was a time when videogame consoles were my only friends.
Also, the fact that these embedded devices became increasingly complex and secured greatly fed my curiosity.
I’m a big homebrew fan and I truly believe we as users and consumers should have the right to take full advantage of the systems we are purchasing. But, on the other hand, I also understand a company’s need to protect its creations.
I just wish there was a way to “meet in the middle” so students and talented people could have the freedom to explore their devices without putting a company at risk.

My recent ventures involved recent consoles with very interesting security models. I talk of course about the PlayStation Vita, the PS4 and the Wii U.
Obviously, the Wii U is why I’m writing all this.
Many people are still angry, frustrated or disappointed at me for events I cannot take back and for that I apologize.
I apologize to everyone who stood by my side waiting for my work.

I was really excited that after 2 years of working alongside so many talented developers trying to crack down the Wii U’s security model we were finally looking at its “guts”.
It was a roller coaster of emotions as we kept breaking the several layers of this system and began learning a lot about it.
Our intentions were, from the get go, to open the console to everyone and watch a new homebrew scene flourish as many did before with consoles like the Wii or the 3DS.
While we achieved some success, the last layer of security was still in the way to provide a powerful platform for homebrew.
While I was working on breaking this, another group completely smashed the console’s security, which made me jump the gun and tell everyone about my plans. Big mistake.

What followed that was a big, big mess…

I’m not allowed, nor do I want to discuss what happened. After I disappeared rumours popped up and people kept trying to either clean or trash my name.
This is harmless right? I mean, it’s the internet, people say what they want, when they want for whatever reason.
Unfortunately, it has been everything but harmless for me.

The whole mess that followed my disappearance literally sent my life down the drain. I’ve lost two jobs, faced serious legal problems and even became at risk of losing my place in my university.
People evoking the name “Hykem” for any reason is generating a lot of confusion around me and I wish to put an end to that.

People may think I am some kind of monster, but I’m nothing but a curious guy taking a master’s degree in Computer Science with a strong interest in cryptography and security models.
I was inexcusably naive thinking I could just do whatever I wanted with my life. It doesn’t work like that.

So, with this letter I present my permanent retirement from the “scene” and even from the whole world of security and hacking.
I no longer have plans to pursue a career in cybersecurity as I’ve always wished and I barely have any relationship with computers at all these days.
My email accounts have all been deactivated, my code repositories have been deleted and I kept no backups of them and any other accounts I may had (forums, websites) will no longer be accessed. I won’t ask for the deletion of those accounts simply to spare the administrators of the headache that is removing an account from the system, but, if they wish to do so, go ahead.
I take no responsibility for people who may try to re-upload or build upon my projects. If you happen to still have my repositories’ code, feel free to do whatever you want with it.

I no longer possess anything even remotely related to hacking, no exploits, no code, no research, nothing. Not even backups.
From this day on, there won’t be any way to contact me and any account or identity created after today using my alias DOES NOT BELONG TO ME.
After I deleted my Twitter handle and the grace period expired someone decided to register it back. This account is not associated in any way with me.
It belongs to Peter Miller (a.k.a. Ichii Giki, Peter Mary and petermary17) and I have no idea why he is pretending to be me.

Without further ado, I say forever goodbye and leave a big “thank you for everything” to the following people (in no particular order):
George Moralis (shadow)
Yifan Lu
George Klees (Marionumber1)
Syler Clayton (Relys)
Mr. Netrix

It truly was a pleasure to meet all of you.

Hykem is logging out…