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Hardware Hacking PlayStation (Games) Sony Build

New PS3 Firmware Contains Backdoor 491

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the i'm-your-backdoor-ram dept.
Vectormatic noted the rumor floating around that the most recent PS3 patch has a backdoor, and "Sony can now remotely execute code on the PS3 as soon as you connect. This can do whatever Sony wants it to do, such as verifying system files or searching for homebrew. Sony can change the code and add new detection methods without any firmware updates."
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New PS3 Firmware Contains Backdoor

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  • AGAIN, Sony? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MarioMax (907837) on Tuesday February 01, 2011 @09:50AM (#35066786)

    Didn't you learn from your mistakes the last time you tried this?

    • Re:AGAIN, Sony? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Dunbal (464142) * on Tuesday February 01, 2011 @10:21AM (#35067166)
      Yes, they learned it was SO cheap that it's worth doing in all Sony products.
      • Re:AGAIN, Sony? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by TheGratefulNet (143330) on Tuesday February 01, 2011 @11:31AM (#35067986)

        they learned that the kids today will buy anything if its shiny. rootkits? sony music vs the world? optical discs with invasive DRM? annoying copy/read protections? proprietary connectors that cost as much as the unit, itself? remember all that stuff?

        wait, hang on:

        "oh look, a new video game to keep us distracted. lets get it!"

        its impossible to get a boycott going; the 'shininess' wins with today's kids and they do NOT ever vote with their wallets. they buy sony blue ray (no, I'm not spelling it their way), they encourage the DRM with their purchases and sony laughs all the way to the bank.

        I can't see any products sony offers that isn't also available elsewhere and better. not the exact same thing, but sony is *fully* boycottable with very little pain involved. its easy to do.

        please consider not buying sony. ever. you can find alternatives. you can, really.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          You might as well replace "Sony" in your post with any of the top tech companies. Apple is even worse. And yet people have put their market cap at 300 billion. I think it's rather stupid of Sony to spend all this effort doing what they're doing, but I also think it's rather stupid of people like you to get on an internet forum and tell people to consider never buying sony, ever. The vast majority of people who buy a Playstation 3 love it. I own TWO. I love them. Sony wasting its time to prevent me fro
          • by bdsesq (515351) on Tuesday February 01, 2011 @12:06PM (#35068296)

            How is Apple worse?
            When did they root kit your iPod or iPhone?
            Who did they take to court for jail breaking?

            The answer is they have not done either of these.
            You are free to hate Apple or Sony or MSFT.
            Just please be accurate when you rant.

          • Re:AGAIN, Sony? (Score:5, Interesting)

            by Eivind Eklund (5161) on Tuesday February 01, 2011 @12:17PM (#35068430) Journal

            Well, I personally don't accept Sony stealing from their customers *even though this time that customer wasn't me*.

            Sony first advertised OtherOS (combined with the ability to play new games and the ability to get on PSN) and then removed this.

            Theft.

            I don't voluntarily give money to thieves, even if they so far haven't stolen from me.

            So I've boycotted Sony, and they can say bye bye to the $1000+ per year I used to spend with them.

            Whether "lots of people" are happy with them is immaterial - I was happy with what they delivered, until they started stealing from people.

    • by poetmatt (793785)

      lawsuits? what are those?

      • lawsuits? what are those?

        In the USA suits do lawsuits to make law by precedent. Also, laws make suits.

    • Re:AGAIN, Sony? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by hypergreatthing (254983) on Tuesday February 01, 2011 @10:44AM (#35067440)

      ohh so you mean besides the sony root kit and remotely disabling blueray player fiasco didn't tell you way in advanced not to buy sony products?

    • by ruiner13 (527499)
      I'm pretty sure the 360 has a similar feature that has been there for a while now... why only bash Sony for it? Its not like MS has a history of empowering consumers.
      • Re:AGAIN, Sony? (Score:4, Informative)

        by Moryath (553296) on Tuesday February 01, 2011 @11:04AM (#35067686)

        Actually, no. The Xbox360 won't execute code without permission.

        The worst it currently does is check that your firmware and the game you are wanting to play are both up to date, and then if either check fails, tells you you will be signed out of Live (but still free to play the game in offline or LAN mode).

        Could I see MS doing this in in the future? Possibly. But I really don't think they consider it that big a deal. The people who have a hacked Xbox360 are already pretty much staying offline anyways so it wouldn't do them much good to insert this kind of code.

      • When the Kinetix was hacked to support the PC, Microsoft not only didn't get legal: they celebrated the achievement. MS has not made a practice of suing its customers. They do check the integrity of your system before allowing you to play online - that strikes me as completely reasonable, as part of a TOS for an online service - but they don't sue you if you hack your system, nor force your system to upgrade if you don't want to.

  • IRC (Score:5, Informative)

    by Ogive17 (691899) on Tuesday February 01, 2011 @09:51AM (#35066794)
    Wow, the "source" for this speculation is an IRC conversation.

    Not that I respect Sony considering what they've done in the past but I think I'll hold off judgement for a bit longer on this one.
    • by hedwards (940851)

      I'm with you on that, Sony definitely isn't above doing this sort of thing, but personally I'm going to wait until there's more information available before updating my firmware just in case. Personally, I won't be buying anything more from Sony after this. If they think that they can treat me like this they can pretty much just fuck themselves with the longest, pointiest, hottest poker they can find.

      • Re:IRC (Score:4, Insightful)

        by erroneus (253617) on Tuesday February 01, 2011 @10:24AM (#35067198) Homepage

        You mean their track record for shoddy products, crappy product support, the previous rootkit installs and their close ties with the RIAA haven't been reason enough for you?

        • by hedwards (940851)

          It's the second product of theirs I've owned and the other one was a laptop which was just fine. When I got the PS3 it was cheaper than the other options for a bluray player.

      • I think I'll hold off judgement for a bit longer on this one.

        I'm with you on that,

        Personally, I won't be buying anything more from Sony after this. If they think that they can treat me like this they can pretty much just fuck themselves with the longest, pointiest, hottest poker they can find.

        Well, so much for that.

    • Re:IRC (Score:5, Insightful)

      by dc29A (636871) * on Tuesday February 01, 2011 @09:59AM (#35066904)

      I don't beleive Sony are that dumb. A backdoor pretty much opens the PS3 not just to Sony but hackers and most importantly malware writers. PS3 botnet anyone?

      • Re:IRC (Score:5, Informative)

        by ElectricTurtle (1171201) on Tuesday February 01, 2011 @10:08AM (#35067000)
        As many have alluded and will allude to in this discussion, they *are* that dumb, as evidenced by the fact that they did it before [wikipedia.org].
        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by LordLimecat (1103839)

          Actually, they HAVENT done that before-- read the article you linked. That was a rootkit, not a backdoor; they are related but seperate. The BMG rootkit did not allow remote code execution; it instead took measures to hide its activity from visibility, causing havoc with some CD drives and assisting some viruses in the process.

          Rootkit=/= backdoor. I know its fun to hate on Sony, and I fully support such positions, but lets not distort the truth here.

          • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

            by nicholas22 (1945330)

            Actually, they HAVENT done that before-- read the article you linked. That was a rootkit, not a backdoor; they are related but seperate. The BMG rootkit did not allow remote code execution; it instead took measures to hide its activity from visibility, causing havoc with some CD drives and assisting some viruses in the process.

            Rootkit=/= backdoor. I know its fun to hate on Sony, and I fully support such positions, but lets not distort the truth here.

            Dear Sony stakeholder, The point is that they are both malicious. Thanks.

          • Re:IRC (Score:5, Informative)

            by ElectricTurtle (1171201) on Tuesday February 01, 2011 @10:48AM (#35067502)
            Never did I say rootkit==backdoor. The parent I was replying to was saying that Sony wouldn't do a thing that opened the PS3 to malware writers, and the rootkit, by *your* own example "assisting some viruses in the process" did exactly ... what? The same thing. Before. Do you get it yet?
      • I think a botnet would be just about the best use possible for that heaping pile of shit.

      • by scorp1us (235526)

        I didn't think Sony would remove the Linux option, which was a feature from day 1. I was wrong.

    • >>>I think I'll hold off judgement for a bit longer on this one.

      Has Sony done anything worthwhile?
      - invented CD.
      - invented Playstation and broke the NES/SNES monopoly.
      the end

      I was planning to get a PS3 once the price dropped, but now I think I'll just continue playing my PS2 and 1 games. The Nintendo Wii is looking pretty attractive (although I hate playing Sonic with that damn controller that doesn't register my inputs). Or maybe an Xbox 360.

      Any PS3 games that will not play on the 360? Or maybe

      • Sony also invented the 3.5" diskette.

        • Nope. Sony's design was rejected. So were most other 3 or 3.5 inch variants. The final Floppy was based on a conglomeration of multiple companies, similar to how the DVD was created.

          Somebody else wrote:
          >>>What monopoly?

          NES had over 90% share of the market. SNES was closer to a 50-50 share with Sega Genesis/megadrive.

      • Any PS3 games that will not play on the 360? Or maybe just quit consoles and try computer gaming again. Haven't touched a computer game since the 32-bit Amiga era.

        I'd say, Disgaea 3. That's one game that make me want a PS3... Sadly, as good as it is, it's still not good enough to counter Sony "bend-over" policy.
        I really hate it when titles that can perfectly work on every recent system get locked down to one without reason (at least, good reason).

      • Has Sony done anything worthwhile?

        Successfully sued Universal City Studios (now a division of Comcast) to allow the importation of Betamax VCRs into the United States (Sony v. Universal), establishing the substantial noninfringing use test.

        broke the NES/SNES monopoly

        What monopoly? Long before "Droid does what iDon't", there was "Genesis does what Nintendon't".

        I was planning to get a PS3 once the price dropped

        Stick with PCs. They're the only way you can be sure not to have an intentional backdoor used against you.

        Any PS3 games that will not play on the 360?

        MGS4 isn't ported because it fills the Blu-ray Disc and would fill three or four 360 DVDs. LittleBigPlane

      • Sony invented LaserDisc, Philips invented CD. And what we now know as a CD is the result of a joint task force between the two.

        Interesting reads are wikipedia or "The CD Story" written by one of the engineers on that task force: http://www.exp-math.uni-essen.de/~immink/pdf/cdstory.htm [uni-essen.de]

      • by Tapewolf (1639955)

        Has Sony done anything worthwhile? - invented CD. - invented Playstation and broke the NES/SNES monopoly. the end

        Also Umatic, Betacam, and C-format (with Ampex). DASH. The APR series. They did a good job with professional A/V gear, and their earlier reputation is probably built on the back of that.

      • by morari (1080535)

        I'm pretty sure that Philips was actually the driving force behind the creation of the Compact Disc. Besides, there was no Nintendo monopoly by the time Sony entered the console game... Sega had been providing ample competition, especially with the Genesis.

        I'd say ditch the consoles. Most decent console games are also available on the PC. The handful that you'll miss out on won't really matter in the long run anyway.

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        invented CD.

        The work was done by Sony and Philips engineers. I worked with one of the key engineers (well, I was in IT, so it is more accurate to say I worked alongside or perhaps near him) at Silicon Engineering. This story would be a lot cooler if I could remember who it was.

        invented Playstation and broke the NES/SNES monopoly.

        I guess you forgot about Sega, which had a quite successful business selling video games at the time. The Playstation forced them to reevaluate their strategy and they developed the Dreamcast, perhaps their first console that was really designed

    • Bash.org (Score:5, Insightful)

      by definate (876684) on Tuesday February 01, 2011 @10:21AM (#35067164)

      Bash.org [bash.org] archiving reliable reporting sources since Wednesday February 02, @12:16AM.

      Such as ...
      Cthon98's expose on gullibility and technological literacy [bash.org]
      erno's scandal on the misappropriated resources [bash.org]
      CRCError's report on the abuses of power [bash.org]
      DragonflyBlade21's critique on the human condition [bash.org]

      ... and of course entertainment news...
      JonJonB's review of Harry Potter [bash.org]

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by JackDW (904211)

      In the absence of effective hardware security, this is the only way to stop people cheating in online games. This has become a big problem on the PS3 [techspot.com] since the jailbreak enabled it [binplay.com].

      On the PC, where there was never any hardware security to prevent cheating, publishers have been using the same technique for many years. Consider Blizzard Warden [wikipedia.org], Punkbuster [wikipedia.org], and Valve Anti Cheat [wikipedia.org]. All of these allow the publisher - or their authorised agents - to download and run code on your machine when you connect to the on

    • by Dunbal (464142) *
      Yeah it's not like any useful information gets exchanged over IRC.
  • Makes you wonder how safe is it really to use these "game console" things, which is really a computer with no local rights to OS control.
    • The wireless providers know only this model, and their business is booming. Don't think this isn't the future of all consumer-level computing. The freedom was nice while it lasted...
      • by lavers (1946786)
        I'm just holding out hope that "real" computers will at least remain available to those who know what they're looking for. Might get to the point where we have to build them from scratch in our basements again...
        • by peppepz (1311345)
          I share your fear.

          I'm fine if Apple's tablets run a special-purpose, consumer-only OS that limits your freedom. If the Mac shows signs of going in the same direction, I have a bad feeling. If then Google releases a netbook with a locked boot loader that will only load Chrome OS, which in turn requires you to log in with your Google Account upon power up, I start to worry.

          Perhaps RMS wasn't so paranoid when he warned against "the cloud" after all.

    • Makes you wonder how safe is it really to use these "game console" things, which is really a computer with no local rights to OS control.

      Aw, cmon, what could possibly go wrong?

  • Who is logging into their PSN account with homebrew on their PS3?
  • Sony??!? (Score:5, Funny)

    by elrous0 (869638) * on Tuesday February 01, 2011 @09:54AM (#35066840)

    But such a control-freak move seems so out of character for Sony. I mean, Sony installing an intrusive backdoor that could potentially be abused, just to fight a few pirates? I can't think of a precedent for that.

  • Not a rootkit (Score:5, Informative)

    by Lord Byron II (671689) on Tuesday February 01, 2011 @09:56AM (#35066866)

    The "article" calls this a rootkit. The summary calls it a backdoor. Neither is strictly true.

    Rootkits allow unauthorized users root level access and backdoors allow unauthorized remote users access. In this case, you're installing Sony software and this software allows Sony to autoupdate their software and remove cracks. This isn't much different from Chrome autoupdating or Firefox blacklisting certain extensions. The only real difference is that Sony might not have been all that forthcoming about the fact that this new firmware has this capability. My guess is that if you look at the EULA carefully, it does specify that they are allowed to do this.

    I would suggest that if you think they have trampled on your rights, then take them to court. Sony will just keep making their firmware more and more "evil" until a sizable number of users stands up and says "no more".

    • by Svartalf (2997)

      Actually, your definitions are not accurate...

      Rootkits allow remote users, authorized or not, clandestine root level access to a system without any auditing showing when it occurred- it injects the following into a system.

      Backdoors allow a remote user a way into the system outside of the security and auditing of a system.

      Neither of these require "unauthorized" users to be using them- and Sony claiming it's "authorized" to do so through it's PSN EULA does not negate that it's pretty much a backdoor that was

      • by Andy Dodd (701)

        A key thing to consider here - Since the firmware updates have been broken "wide open", there are no authentication secrets for this backdoor that Sony is in possession of that other parties are not.

        Basically - Sony has access to this backdoor but SO DOES EVERYONE ELSE.

        (If it exists, since the evidence supposedly a convo from bash.org - can't read TFA from my current location.)

        • by Svartalf (2997)

          Agreed...on all counts there.

        • by JackDW (904211)

          That's incorrect. Nothing forces Sony to reuse the compromised system keys for their back door. They could (should) generate and use entirely new keys, which will be used to validate all downloaded code. The new private key would remain secret. And if they get the cryptography algorithms right this time, this measure shouldn't create any security risk for PS3 owners.

    • Re:Not a rootkit (Score:4, Insightful)

      by halcyon1234 (834388) <halcyon1234@hotmail.com> on Tuesday February 01, 2011 @10:54AM (#35067564) Journal

      This isn't much different from Chrome autoupdating or Firefox blacklisting certain extensions.

      It wouldn't be-- if Firefox removed the optional "Check for Updates" setting, changed your hosts.txt file and router's routing table, added no new features with the update, and would only show cached, offline pages until you submitted to the update.

      So except for nearly everything being different, it's exactly the same.

  • by MogNuts (97512) on Tuesday February 01, 2011 @09:57AM (#35066878)

    I don't know anymore. We know why they are doing this. To stop developers from thinking that the platform is dead to develop for because there will be rampant piracy.

    And to stop cheaters. I'll tell you, I've just recently gotten into online shooters lately (MoH and COD:BO), and I'll tell you, I swear to god the amount of hacks and cheaters* just makes me not want to even bother.

    I'm almost siding with Sony on this one. It's almost to the point that you have to buy as soon as it comes out and then you have a window of enjoyment of a month. Then it's worthless. To me, what's the point?

    • by Lord Byron II (671689) on Tuesday February 01, 2011 @10:04AM (#35066960)

      Yeah, I think the only thing that Sony has done wrong is remove the "Other OS" option. They probably should not have included it in the first place. But other than that, Sony has basically sold you:

      -A black box capable of playing games
      -You have to pay $60 per new game
      -If you want to play online, you can't cheat

      This firmware doesn't change any of this, so why get upset? If you wanted a general purpose computer that you control the software stack on, then buy a PC and roll your own Linux kernel.

      • This firmware doesn't change any of this, so why get upset? If you wanted a general purpose computer that you control the software stack on, then buy a PC and roll your own Linux kernel.

        It sets a bad precedent if (and time will tell if this is really the case) the box can be completely taken over by Sony from the outside. I'm not opposed to it per se but it should be clear on the box that they have the ability to do this otherwise it is an invasion of privacy. Sony isn't the copyright police they are a consumer goods company. Any poking around they do should be clearly and unambiguously agreed on by the customer.

      • by tepples (727027)

        If you wanted a general purpose computer that you control the software stack on, then buy a PC

        Most people aren't willing to buy a gaming PC and connect it to a television. Most PC cases would look out of place in a cabinet. Most PCs don't come with a system-wide 10 foot user interface. Many people still have their game consoles connected to SDTVs and aren't aware of the existence of $40 adapter cables from VGA to composite and S-Video, which are sold only online on sites like sewelldirect.com.

      • by Svartalf (2997) on Tuesday February 01, 2011 @10:42AM (#35067406) Homepage

        Actually, the firmware mod opens it up to being further hacked (Do remember that they lost positive control of the ROOT signing key...meaning that ANYONE can MITM their update chain now...) as now hackers can put and remove things at will on their boxes. This means we should see the beginnings of PS3 Botnets all over the place eventually.

        And this would make the second wrong move from Sony, with the OtherOS being removed being the first.

    • by Svartalf (2997)

      And you honestly believe that this will prevent cheating in general or that their "security" was preventing it- all Sony's losing the keys to their kingdom did was make it slightly easier to cheat.

    • No matter how hard they squeeze the console, there will still be hacks and cheaters. It's a race Sony cant win, not like this. Its not a technical problem, its a human problem. And human problems have human solutions. Piracy is curtailed by better availability and providing value with a purchase a pirate cant get. And cheaters... What do kids do if there is a cheater on the play ground? They stop playing with him. So why not put all people over certain abnormal skill level in a bucket labeled "Unreal" and l
    • I'd agree, but the current situation is due to multiple blunders by Sony themselves. As far as I'm concerned they get what they deserve. Basing all their security on a singe Key with no backup plan what-so-ever was just plain incompetent. Corporate execs only learn lessons when they lose lots and lots of money. So lets see just how much money they can lose on this one.
  • They will love you for it and come back for more.... erm... I think not. Sony went off my possible purchases list forever when they removed the OtherOS feature. Just makes you wander how far up their buts do the heads of Sony business people really have to be to pull this kind of reputation damaging stunts and actually believe that it will improve their bottom line.
  • by onyxruby (118189) <onyxruby@nosPam.comcast.net> on Tuesday February 01, 2011 @10:02AM (#35066934)

    Is it just me, or I could swear that I 'bought' my ps3 and it said nothing about a cable box like rental on the box. Why is it so hard for Sony to understand that this is my property and to leave it well enough alone? If they want to arbitrarily execute code on other people's property it crosses the line to hacking and that's criminal to in most jurisdictions.

    What they have done is no different that the cable company demanding root level access to your computer in order to go online. People would be outraged there, why should a game console (which is just a dedicated computer) be any different?

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Theaetetus (590071)

      Is it just me, or I could swear that I 'bought' my ps3 and it said nothing about a cable box like rental on the box. Why is it so hard for Sony to understand that this is my property and to leave it well enough alone?

      Excellent idea. Just delete your PSN login and disable automatic updates, and you're fine.
      Err, until then, you do realize that you keep logging into their property and as long as you do, you're explicitly agreeing to their conditions, right?

      If they want to arbitrarily execute code on other people's property it crosses the line to hacking and that's criminal to in most jurisdictions.

      ... apparently not.

      What they have done is no different that the cable company demanding root level access to your computer in order to go online.

      Sure. And that's not illegal. You'd be wise to tell the cable company to fark off, however, and get a different service provider. Of course, if you want to access the cable company's private servers (i.e. "PSN"), then a different service provider won'

    • Because int his case they sold you a custom computer (PS3) in the first place, and thus guaranteed you that you could keep on using it for what it was designed to do as long as you didn't fuck with it. From the moment you break away from the deal, they can break away from it too. Don't like it? Don't buy one, or expect them to refuse you support / access. It's not like they were bricking it, or coming to your house to take it back, y'know?

    • by fearlezz (594718)

      it crosses the line to hacking and that's criminal to in most jurisdictions.
      Nope, it's not. It would be if you or I backdoored someone elses hardware, but multibillion dollar organisations can pull this off.

    • by dakohli (1442929)
      I guess the real underlying problem here is that Sony doesn't make enough money on the console sales, but rather, relies on game sales to make a profit.

      I'll bet you Sony considers your purchase of a PS3 as "subsidised". As such, they feel that they have the right to mess with your console.

      So, in order to protect their revenue stream they must enforce a strong copy-protection system.

      Now, I wonder, if they were to sell a console for a price that they made a reasonable profit on, would it be so expensiv

  • If it IS true, then I don't see it as being legal, at all. I certainly do not recall seeing "Sony retains the right to install and execute software in the background, and obtain information about files stored on the device, and engage in general butt fuckery of our users, without user approval" or anything remotely like it in the EULA's.

    • But the ELUA does specify that Sony reserves the right to change the EULA whenever they want. Next time you read it they might even quote you ;) /end sarcasm
      • by Svartalf (2997)

        The problem is that if they don't call out that they're doing this change and make it clear instead of in the fine print, it may negate their EULA as some of this is really non-enforceable from start to finish. You must, for example, give ample notice that you're changing the terms and doing it in a firmware update isn't it. (Makes the change non-enforceable...) Also, just because they can claim they can do this in the EULA doesn't mean they're legally allowed to do it. It's a sold item. It's roughly an

  • You're posting an unsubstantiated rumor accusing someone of something pretty major. A rumor overheard in an IRC chatroom.
    I don't expect /. to require New York Times level of journalism (or even Fox News) but come on.

    D

    • by hedwards (940851)

      I disagree, information like this after the fact is more or less worthless. We'll see whether it turns out to be the case or not, but anybody that patches up might very well be in the position of not being able to undo it. A post like this is just a heads up to look out for something that might happen.

      Plus it's not like Sony hasn't done anything like this before.

  • by BLKMGK (34057)

    Sounds like something from World of Warcraft? They download code that executes and without proper handshaking they know you've done something funny. Not quite the same as the Warden stuff but close enough and a real PITA to get around I'd expect. If this is simply a hook to allow the download\execute of code it's potentially a real bear to solve short of not using their network. :-(

  • the same as Microsoft uses to detect and ban 360's

    Um, no? M$ uses the MAC and unique console ID and does the banning entirely on their own end. There is no code executed on the 360 at all.

    If this is more than speculation, couldn't Sony be tried for the same 'hacker' bullshit they tried some kids for over the last few years, which I believe was "using a computer system without authorization" or something along those lines? If it's not legal for us, it's not legal for them.

  • The rules have always been quite simple. You can do whatever you want with your PS3 as long as you don't go onto Sony's gaming network. Microsoft does the same thing with its Xbox Live - you play by the rules or not at all. The sheer number of people whining about this when it's standard boilerplate business practice to control access to your own servers and private network(s) is amazing. When you connect, it verifies that you aren't running any malicious code or hacks/cheats. This has been a staple of

  • The "backdoor" is probably a way for PS3 to run arbitrary code (e.g. through PSN signon) to detect modified PS3s. e.g. if Sony knew that some byte range was indicative of a mod they might run a bit of code during signon to test that byte range. If a new CFW test appeared to counter that test they could run a new one instead. Basically they could run any arbitrary piece of code they liked. Fail the test in a manner indicative of a modded box and watch your PSN access go bye byes.

    I doubt the situation is an

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