Monday, April 25, 2011

The PSN Outage Is As Much Sony's Fault As The Hackers'

As of this writing, Playstation Network has been down for five days, and gamers are far from happy. Many have speculated that this shutdown is a result of an attack by a group of hackers who have attacked the Playstation servers in response to Sony's treatment of a fellow hacker. All the while, flame wars between PS3 and Xbox 360 fanboys have been popping up all over the Internet, with fans of each system going from merely discussing their system's tech to calling people all manner of insulting things. At the end of the day responsibility must be taken, and I propose that Sony take the hit for this because of their arrogance.

To prove my point, let's go back to the days of the original Playstation console. Smart gamers were able to figure out that a Pro Action Replay and a spring was all they needed to play bootleg games, and it caught on big time. This primarily explains Sony's PS1 redesign which removed the expansion port. Sony took a hit, but not a huge hit. That hit wouldn't come until probably a decade later. The Playstation 2's hacking wasn't as big a problem mainly because the system didn't have built in web connectivity, but Sony's first attempt at cracking the portable market would be the one that stirred hackers to action.

The Playstation Portable was touted by Sony as being highly secure, despite all of it's connectivity. Hackers discovered holes in the early firmware of the PSP and got to work, this explains the multiple redesigns and firmware updates that the PSP has experienced over it's nearly 6 year existence. It also explains why the original "1000" model of the PSP is so popular among tech savvy gamers. I personally know folks with PSPs that bootleg all of their PSP games and have multiple emulators running on it.

This brings us to the Playstation 3 and Sony's arrogant claim that the system couldn't be hacked. From there, several hackers set about to make Sony's claim come back to bite them...hard. The hackers then not only found a back door into the PS3 firmware, but they then gave the world instructions to do it themselves. Sony, in response, filed lawsuits that were only succeeding in making them look like heartless monsters to the gaming public who have grown tired of increasing game prices and decreasing overall game quality. The hackers, who have apparently grown tired of this mistreatment, have proceeded to drop worm programs into major servers and Sony, not knowing what else to do, have shut down PSN until they can fix the problem.

Most of this could have been easily remedied if Sony just states what anyone with computer knowledge already knows: if a piece of hardware has a place to install and store software, it can be modded. Sony's Arrogance cause this for them, when they could have just done the same thing Microsoft does yearly, and ban XBL accounts using modded hardware, if you ban them based on IP address, it remedies your problem, but what do I know, I'm just a gamer.

At the end of everything, modding a system is illegal, even though you have purchased the device you are modifying. This makes little sense, but it's the way things are now. You may have to get used to outages like this one, and realize that as long as Sony continues to exhibit the arrogance they've displayed recently, this WILL happen again.

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