Sony Starts Rolling Out New PS3 Security Updates

Sony Starts Rolling Out New PS3 Security Updates

In the wake of hackers exploiting security vulnerabilities in the PlayStation 3, opening the system to custom firmware, hacks and piracy, Sony appears to be issuing a response with new security updates.

The official warns that a new system update for the PS3 (version 3.56) will be released soon. Eric Lempel, VP or Network Operations for Sony Computer Entertainment America, is brief in describing what it does, writing “This is a minor update that adds a security patch.”

The previous version of the PS3’s firmware (version 3.55) updated with precisely the same description.

Perhaps more interesting than PS3 software updates is an unconfirmed report that Sony has another solution in the works to combat PlayStation 3 piracy and exploits: serial keys. According to a report on Techeye, citing Dutch PlayStation outlet PS3-Scene, who in turn cites an unnamed source, Sony may be playing to ship unique serial keys with each game it ships going forward.

We’ve inquired with the folks at PlayStation to see if there’s any truth to reports that serial keys will come to the PS3 and will update if they respond.


  • How would a serial key help, though? To be effective it would have to have a limited number of activations which would, in turn, require the console to be connected to the internet to validate the serial key. Where would that leave people who don’t have their PS3’s connected to the internet?

    • Yeah I think a serial system would just cause trouble for the users. We’ve already seen a lot of backlash due to bad DRM schemes on PC. I don’t think this would really stop them for long and would annoy the honest users. I’ll be surprised if this actually happens, it seems like quite a step backwards and still only stops people from pirating new games, not the old ones.

      • Not only that, but it stops people without internet-connected PS3s buying games at all, since they won’t be able to activate them.

        I’m going to call bullsh*t on that part of the story – it seems like serial keys would create just as big a problem for Sony as the one they’re trying to solve.

        I’m sure Sony (and every other manufacturer) would LOVE to be able to do this as it would not only help fight piracy but also pre-owned game sales. But until they can guarantee that 100% of users will be connected 100% of the time, it’s unworkable.

        • Cry a river much.

          Honestly how many people own PS3s and don’t have them connected? Answer: not fucking many

          I know over 50 people with PS3s, you want to knos how many of those NOT connected to the net? 1. My sister. She uses it for avi and bluray playback.

          Seriously this is YET another boring argument/excuse from closet pro-piracy people: “ZOMG think of da peepz whos ps3 not on intarwebz”.

          • You, sir, are an imbecile.

            What on earth in my comment would make you think I was in any way pro piracy? This serial key scheme would prevent people from BUYING games LEGITIMATELY. Thus increasing the motivation for hackers to crack it again, leading to more piracy than the current situation, since even people who WANT to do the right thing and buy their games can’t do so and are forced to go for the pirated ones because they’re the only ones that will work for them.

            While I’m very impressed with your statistically insignificant poll of 50 people you know, there will be plenty of people out there with PS3s that don’t even have broadband internet to connect with even if they wanted to. Broadband penetration in Australia is not even expected to hit 70% in the next 2 years – there are large parts of suburbs in major capital cities where you can’t even get it, never mind people out in smaller regional cities or outside cities at all.

            In the US broadband is in <50% of homes. While this percentage would certainly be higher in homes with online capable consoles like PS3/360, there is no reason to believe that all, or even close to all, households with a PS3 have broadband.

            There has never been a requirement to have a broadband internet connection to be able to play PS3 games. If that suddenly becomes a requirement and people who have bought consoles in good faith suddenly find themselves unable to get new games they've bought to work on their console, then Sony open themselves up to legal headaches and a PR disaster.

          • So now your worried about something that doesn’t affect you at all?

            You’ve read one unconfirmed rumour and a whole pile of bogus information regarding some scheme that will most likely never see the light of day yet you’ve gone on a crusade about it

            and you call me an imbecile.

            Sure I have a “statistically insignificant” poll by your standards, but at least I can stand by them. You’ve spouted percentages sourced from the ether (I’m sure they are fact somewhere in your world).

            Also games like MAG, DC online and Warhawk are online only games. What’s your point? If this is true we move into a world like that, which some of us are prepared and used to

            For god sake get off your high horse about this. None of it is even true, and if it does happen will it affect YOU personally? I doubt it, since you seem to have the Internet.

          • When did I ever say it would affect me personally? The difference is that you don’t seem to give a toss about people getting shafted if you DON’T know them personally.

          • “and if it does happen will it affect YOU personally?”

            What a wonderful attitude. I’m sure you’d be fine with people feeling that way if they were walking past while you were being mugged or your house was on fire, would you? “doesn’t affect me so who cares… “

          • @DansDans

            My uni has restrictions on bandwidth usage and has blocks which prevent consoles from connecting to the net, and I’d like to continue playing new games. I only ever get to play online in the summer when I go home.

            Also, sometime last year there was article about console connectivity rates, and something like 80% of PS3s were conencted to the net, while only 70% 360s were connected.

            Fucking over 1/5 of your market from playing new releases would not be a smart decision.

          • But you know what, out of all of this ITS STILL NOTHING BUT AN UNCONFIRMED RUMOUR. Seriously, you’re all getting your panties in a twist for nothing.

            Call me an imbecile and flame me all you want, the fact that so many of you believe this rumour is more worrying than my attitude towards something as false and bogus as this idea.

          • Did you actually read my comment that you originally replied to? I SAID I thought it was bullshit, and gave my reasons why I thought that. It was right about that point that you stepped in and said that made me a “closet pro-piracy” person.

            Just because we’re discussing a rumour or hypothetical situation it doesn’t necessarily mean we believe it’s true or that it’ll actually happen.

  • Serial keys make sense. That’s the way piracy was eradicated for online games on PC. But it does raise questions about how they would handle 2nd hand and rental with such a system.

  • And so the it goes, round and around. I understand Sony wanting to stop piracy, but seriously it always follows the same pattern and doesn’t actually do anything but make it more inconvenient for the user making legal game purchases. Seriously, what percentage of the PS3 user base would actually be hacking their consoles.

    So, to Sony, I make this plea. PLEASE don’t play this game. You’ll only piss off the majority of your paying customers to try to stop a small percentage who hack their consoles (and even they aren’t all pirates)

    • I’d like to ask you to remove all locks and security off your house and leave the windows and doors open. Because really, only a small percentage of people will come in and take your stuff and the locks are just inconveniencing you and your family trying to get in.

      Really the locks won’t stop someone who wants to get in so why bother?

      • Yes, let’s compare the electronic medium directly to physical property and personal security – that is always a great argument. The comparable example is those “you wouldn’t steal a car” ads we are all forced to sit through before watching a legitimately purchased movie. I paid for this movie so stuff you, don’t you assume I’m going to do something you wouldn’t like!

        I really appreciated the “Thank you” message at the start of the Scott Pilgrim Bluray – it was short and it acknowleged my purchase.

        Back to the point – locks keep criminals out, drm/serial keys/copyright warnings only make things more inconvenient to those who legitimately purchase there electronic media!

        • My point is that if someone isn’t constantly trying to break your security than you don’t have to keep upgrading it. Don’t blame Sony for trying to protect their business, blame the people who keep trying to break in because…. They want their ps3 to be a pc? Seems to be the only reason besides piracy. In which case, use a pc.

  • Sony should just go sue some more hackers LOL.
    Piss off the people that can code better than you that will fix it.

    • hackers like GeoHot and FailOverload don’t write their own code, they steal SONY’s code – disable the security and then pirate games/ give out the custom firmware to pirates…

      • a: “disable the security”, they cut code to do this.

        b: “then pirate games/ give out the custom firmware to pirates”, GeoHot’s did not include any piracy uses, and he freely distributed it.

        Please check your facts before mouthing off, and BTW Sony started it… they removed the Other OS feature, GeoHot found a way to bring it back (and that was all his code did). I used to be a Sony fan, but they have just been assheads lately.

        • Other OS was blocked because geohot found an exploit which could hack the ps3. So, HACKERS WERE TRYING TO HACK THE PS3 EVEN WHEN IT HAD OTHER OS. So to say that Sony deserve it for taking away other os and they started it is a load of bull.

  • Some of these comments (and those on other popular sites) are being made by social engineers contracted to Sony. Just so you know.

  • Totally agree with what’s been said, cd keys are a bad idea. I couldn’t care less about pirating games, I’m more than happy to pay for them as long as they’re reasonbly priced, especially via PSN.

    I think hacking the PS3 is a good thing though, opens up heaps of possibilities outside pirating. You could take kinect as an example, people have come up with some pretty creative uses/hacks for that and Microsoft have said they’re not going to pursue the hackers or punish the end users. The 360 has been open to pirating for years and you don’t see Microsoft enforcing things like serial codes (at least not to my knowledge), as I own a PS3, not a 360.

    Sony should be giving people incentives to buy their games, not punishing people for doing so.

  • I am a bit of a sony fan usually, but this will lower PS3 sales and increase XBox sales, I know that if the PS3 is serialed and the XBox isn’t, I’ll buy the XBox version.

    • You do realise this wont affect sales at all right if the supposed source is anything to believe. What i assume is that when each game is read or installed on the console a unique ID is recorded but the user is unable to see such key, but thing is, this would be useless for people who dont play online or purposely choose not to come online.

  • Hmmm, obviously since I spoke against DRM the assumption was made I was supporting criminal activity. To clarify…

    Dear Sony, how about you approach this from a different angle. By all means keep your console secure, but if you want people to stop hacking it why not ADD features that people have been asking for.

    Also, there is a lot of info out there now, why not introduce official homebrew capability that doesn’t enable piracy, with the option of screened and approved applications or games being made available on PSN.

    If you want to take a stand, take one that will stand out!

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