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Sony faces security setback after hackers release PlayStation 3 decryption keys

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The PS3 compromised

Sony is facing another round of security woes after hackers released one of the cryptographic keys that forms the core of the PlayStation 3's security system.

Under normal circumstances, PlayStation 3 consoles are locked so that they can only run software and operating systems approved by Sony. When a PlayStation 3 is successfully hacked, users can perform actions that would otherwise not be possible or allowed on the console, such as play pirated games and run unauthorized operating systems like Linux.

In this most recent hacking case, a group of people calling themselves "The Three Tuskateers" have released a LV0 key, which grants users access to some of the most sensitive parts of the PS3. With access to these areas, users can decrypt security updates and work around the authorized PlayStation firmware. One particular concern about the release of the LV0 keys is that they might also be able to decrypt future security updates, meaning if Sony were to release a firmware update to resecure the console, those with the key could potentially circumvent the firmware.

The Three Tuskateers said in a statement published on PlayStation Lifestyle that they had obtained the keys some time ago but only chose to release them now in order to stop others from profiting from their work. The full statement can be read here.

This is not the first time the PlayStation 3 has been hacked. Numerous successful attempts have been made in the past to jailbreak the PlayStation 3, such as the PSJailbreak, which was a USB stick that allowed players to use their console for unauthorized purposes, and the hack by New Jersey-based George "GeoHotz" Hotz who publicly released a key that allowed the PS3 to run unauthorized programs.

Polygon has reached out to Sony for comment.