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Saturday, 24 Feb 2018

Is banning hackers the right solution?

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Is Sony banning hackers the right thing to do?

The Sony against hackers war is very much alive and we have left to be wondering who is really winning it at this point. Last week Sony announced in their forums that they would start banning hackers from their Playstation Network but this week we have learned through some posts that hackers have developed a way to unban themselves and what is worst, they could use information from legitimate users to get them banned.

The real question is not really if Sony CAN ban hackers, they have the means to gather information from users and based on this ban the ones that they deemed running pirated software. Is not also an moral or legal issue, we think Sony has the right to protect their community by making their network hacker free.The issue here is if they can do it without harming all of their community. If hackers are succesful at spoofing legitimate accounts and unbanning hacked PS3s, Sony could be doing more harm than good.

The media has compared the hacking of the PS3 to the hacking that Microsoft faced with their Xbox 360 console, however, from a technical point of view, what Sony is dealing with here is a much broader breach since hackers of the PS3 have figured out a way to sign any software as if it was legitimate. This provides access to information that is not available in other hacked consoles, such as network traffic, log files, and more importantly, account data. Sony would have far more of an issue in dealing with the unwelcome publicity of a ban wave. Just imagine the amount of e-mails, complaints and PR nightmares that would come from banning innocent users.

Microsoft used their big guns with its various ban waves of course, but there is a difference between modifying DVD firmware and running a PS3 jailbreak: opening up an Xbox 360, re-flashing the drive and reassembling the machine demonstrates a singular purpose in running burned games. With the PS3 jailbreaks, all machines were vulnerable. Sony may well have a list of "suspect" consoles, but arbitrarily suspending PSN access without a proof of sustained usage would be an over-reaction. As a knock-on effect, it would obviously stop these people spending money in the PlayStation Store.

So what can Sony do? At this point in the game is a hard question to answer. Our guess would be that Sony, having access to most of the PS3 information through the network, can somehow figure out a way to ban hacked consoles ensuring at the same time that innocent users will not get the ban, however, it does not seem like such option is going to be available in the immediate future.

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