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Sony shut down its Playstation Network after a new custom firmware version for the console let users download games and content with a fake credit card number, according to a moderator from Playstation fan-site PSX-Scene.
The moderator, who posted the information on news aggregator Reddit under the user name chesh420, said the latest version of a custom firmware for the Playstation 3 called Rebug.me let Playstation 3 owners with that firmware installed access a developer network. They could then put in a fake credit card number and download content as they pleased without any kind of verification of the number on Sony’s back-end.
The latest version of Rebug.me was released at the end of March, and the first guides detailing how to get modified Playstation 3 consoles onto the developer network came out around a week after that, the moderator said. Sony brought its Playstation Network down four days ago without offering many details about what happened and said it was beefing up security. It has acknowledged that an “external intrusion” brought down the network and that it is trying to beef up its security. Meanwhile, it has said it is still trying to determine if any user credit card information was stolen.
In a blog post this morning, Sony spokesman Patrick Seybold said, “I know you are waiting for additional information on when PlayStation Network and Qriocity services will be online. Unfortunately, I don’t have an update or timeframe to share at this point in time. As we previously noted, this is a time intensive process and we’re working to get them back online quickly. We’ll keep you updated with information as it becomes available. We once again thank you for your patience.”
The PlayStation Network, or PSN, is Sony’s attempt to engage its video-game console and PlayStation Portable audience in a larger online entertainment network that includes online games, movies and TV shows, as well as Sony exclusives such as Qore, a digital magazine, and The Tester original TV show. It’s a strategic asset for the console maker as more of the-video game audience moves into the online world.
There are 948 games now available in the PlayStation Network store, as well as 4,000 pieces of add-on content for games. There are also 31,000 movies and TV shows available for download, not counting the content available on Netflix, Hulu, and sports content.
VentureBeat has contacted Sony for comment and will update the story as soon as more information is available.