Wednesday, January 12, 2011
Sony Disabling Jailbroken PS3
In the wake of the PlayStation 3's software security measures being broken wide open, supposedly irreversibly, the question has been exactly what Sony will (or can) do in response. Evidently one option at its disposal: completely disabling any jailbroken PS3s remotely.
As Digital Foundry reports, when any PS3 is booted up, it communicates with a string of Sony servers even if you don't have a PlayStation Network account. This is what allows the console to upload error logs when need-be, or to update the "What's New" module, or -- the key point here -- to "almost certainly" send Sony a log of recently run applications on your console. This could allow Sony to detect when a console is running illegitimate software, and Digital Foundry reports that "the company even has the means to irrevocably disable your console should it so wish, and if that happens, it will remain non-functional whether you're online or offline."
Of course, that's a hell of an extreme measure, and one not likely to happen any time soon -- as the report also goes on to explain, Sony has been wary of even issuing PlayStation Network bans so far, instead addressing security concerns with new patches. The problem is the latest PS3 security compromise is unlike any the console has faced before -- hackers insist it can't be fixed with a patch (and Digital Foundry reports that the nature of the PS3's security being dismantled so thoroughly means hackers could simply get around any new patches designed to block jailbroken PS3s anyway).
So will Sony eventually resort to more drastic measures, doing full PSN account bans and possibly even disabling jailbroken consoles? It's hard to say, because right now neither option seems ideal: disabling consoles without necessarily having concrete proof of misbehavior could mean risking consumer backlash (especially if some innocent consoles are accidentally disabled in the process), but doing nothing will almost certainly lead to more widespread piracy.
For now, Sony has only officially said it's aware of the security compromises and will take measure to fix them "through network updates."
Posted by xMuku at 11:14 PM