Sony's PlayStation console has suffered a significant breach, with hackers releasing a decryption key that could make it easier for people to play pirated games on their consoles, without sacrificing a connection to the PlayStation Network.
The 'LV0' decryption keys, which enable any Sony software updates to be cracked in the future, were released by hacker collective The Three Musketeers, the BBC reports. In a post, the group says it released the key because rival hackers were planning on selling the same PlayStation hacking tool for a fee.
Hacker News explains that Sony uses those encryption keys to protect the PS3's firmware, and verify any new updates.
Now that they're out in the open, any future patches or software updates from Sony could be cracked too, meaning the Japanese tech giant's console may never be safe from piracy again. I've asked Sony for a statement on the matter, and the BBC says the PS3-maker is due to speak out shortly.
It's been a mixed day for Sony. While its console has been compromised, a US judge has thrown out a bunch of lawsuits brought against the corporation in the wake of the PSN data breach last year.
The class action suit was filed in June, and complained that Sony had "failed to follow basic industry-standard protocols to safeguard its customers' personal and financial information,". A Californian judge was unsympathetic however, and charges have been dismissed.
The new hacking tools raise questions as to whether buyers should be free to tinker with products they've bought, or whether measures should be in place to stop potential pirates from meddling with a system's software. Where do you stand? Tell me in the comments or on our Facebook wall.