Since Covid-19 has forced many of us to stay home longer than usual, an increasing number have started looking for home entertainment. Simply put, people are playing – A lot.
While some folks dug up their old Gameboys, others have latched onto more traditional gaming consoles, including PlayStation. It may come as no surprise that some gamers are actively looking for ways to play their favorite PlayStation games, for free.
This is where jailbreaking your device comes in. It doesn’t take long to find information on how to jailbreak a PlayStation – cUstom firmware and jailbreaks make up the largest, most propagated and visible part of the PlayStation hack scene. And since PlayStation is a non-generic computer system (game console), Sony wants to protect it from any unauthorized use, including installing custom firmware.
What does jailbreak mean for game console security?
When someone decides to jailbreak their device, a common question is whether or not the jailbreak process will put their device’s security at risk. With this question in mind, Avast Threat Labs has set out to gain an understanding of the security threats affecting users operating outside the PlayStation Network (PSN), which is the official PlayStation ecosystem of users.
To illustrate this, our team created our own custom firmware for the PS3 and tried to introduce the code of our choice. Overall, the team was surprised to find that this was a straightforward procedure, as it exists a publicly available tool to create custom firmware.
To read the full custom firmware research and experiment conducted by Avast Threat Labs, read our report on Decoded.
Key aspects of our research
When players install custom firmware for more features (or, in this case, to get free games), they put their PlayStation’s security at risk. Also, because PlayStation is on the local network, they put their entire smart home at risk.
PlayStation’s firmware is just like any other operating system, like the one on a laptop or PC. If someone tamper with the firmware, they can gain control of the device. For example, they could make the device part of a botnet or use it to scan and attack other devices within the network. As there are no PS3 security clients, it is nearly impossible to detect such activity. One surefire way to stay protected is to use a security solution that runs at the network level, like All Avast.
PlayStation is fun, but like all technologies, it comes with risks. Our team’s advice to gamers is to use the console as intended and to protect them from malware and phishing campaigns. If they don’t, they are potentially jeopardizing their identity, privacy and security, as well as the identity, privacy and security of everyone in their home.