October 24, 2012 weblog
PlayStation 3 hack is decryption jolt for Sony
(Phys.org)—This week brings more bad security news for Sony. The unlocking of a console, called jailbreaking, is a way that the jailbreakers get to fulfill their wishes to customize their console to run their own code and games on them. Unlocking consoles also means opening up the system with access to the inner workings of the console. Intruders can use its computing power in novel ways.
This week, hackers published one of the cryptographic keys at the core of the security scheme locking down the game console. The bad news for Sony is mainly about the LV0 key. Game experts say publishing of the console's LV0 decryption keys amounts to blowing the system open. According to reports, compromised consoles can log in with LV0 decryption keys to bypass future security updates.
According to Eurogamer, the disclosure of the LV0 key means that any system update released by Sony from here on can be decrypted with little effort. The team behind the publication of the LVO decryption keys is "The Three Musketeers."
They never intended to release the information, which they had discovered some time ago, but the information seeped out of their hands. The Three Musketeers said the information was in the hands of Chinese hackers intending to charge for the code. The Three Musketeers took offense that the latter would seek to monetize the hack, using the code to build and sell custom firmware, BlueDiskCFW.
In the Three Musketeers statement, they clarified that this is "neither about drama nor E-fame nor 'OMG WE HAZ BEEN FIRST', we just thought you should know that we're disappointed in certain people. You can be sure that if it wouldn't have been for this leak, this key would never have seen the light of day, only the fear of our work being used by others to make money out of it has forced us to release this now."
Reactions from security experts, however, said this may not be such a catastrophe for Sony. Its fight against hackers all along has been a cat and mouse game, they say. Past efforts to jailbreak the PS3 have been countered with the release of firmware that has been successful in making the console secure. At the time of this writing, and according to the BBC, sources close to the firm said they were not yet convinced that the latest hack was more serious than past ones.
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