Is that a rootkit on your PlayStation 3?

Did Sony's last PS3 system update add a feature that gives the company the ability to gather information about your systemt?

By Matt Peckham, PC World |  Security, playstation 3, rootkit

Oh dear, did Sony quietly slip a rootkit onto the PS3 with the recent 3.56 system update? Did the company apply a suite of software tools designed to conceal (their) surreptitious file manipulation? To hide realtime processes executed without your knowledge or consent? Is your PS3 compromised?

People Say the Darndest Things

Treat this as whatever's categorically subordinate to "rumor and innuendo," but a NeoGAF user apparently respected for his (her?) knowledge of PS3 functionality claims Sony slipped something extra into its recent 3.56 system update.

"Essentially Sony can now remotely execute code on the PS3 as soon as you connect [to the Internet]," writes user N.A. "This can do whatever Sony wants it to do such as verifying system files or searching for homebrew."

According to N.A., the update gives Sony the ability to "change the code and add new detection methods without any firmware updates and as the code executes remotely there is no reliable way to forge the replies."

N.A. surmises this marks the end of using customer firmware online, "as PSN [PlayStation Network] can just check before login that this is active." That, or it means "it will be even easier for Sony to detect and ban users."

Oh No They Didn't!

Oh no they (quite possibly) did. But even assuming the latter--and bear in mind you'd be doing so based on an unvetted forum claim--let's get a few thing straight.

First, Sony's PlayStation Network "Terms of Service and User Agreement," specifically subsection 11, "Maintenance and Upgrades." That's the part where Sony says "it may become necessary for SCEA [Sony Computer Entertainment American] to provide certain content to you to ensure...services...and content offered...is functioning properly in accordance with SCEA guidelines."

I'm interested in these two lines, middle of the paragraph: "Some content may be provided automatically without notice when you sign in," and "Such content may include automatic updates or upgrades which may change your current operating system, cause a loss of data or content or cause a loss of functionalities or utilities."

For better or worse, there's your answer to "Did Sony do anything without my consent?" Oh no they didn't.

So Is It a Rootkit?


Originally published on PC World |  Click here to read the original story.
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