Rumor: PSN outage caused by custom firmware which enabled free PlayStation Store downloads

A Reddit post from PSX-scene moderator 'chesh' claims that the current PlayStation Network outage may have been caused by the release of custom PS3 firmware called Rebug. According to chesh, the firmware "turns a retail console into a dev console," which allowed users to fake credit card information and pirate PSN content.

Chesh admits that his theory is only speculation, but cites the timeline of the shutdown and previous Sony actions as evidence:

Now, this isn't the first time Sony has fought back against the PS3 modders from getting on PSN. A couple of months ago we had a utility called f*ckPSN that changed the necessary header information that was being sent to Sony to allow modified consoles back online. We were able to use it for about a month. Then came the new TOS, the mass e-mail to PS3 customers, and software update 3.56 and 3.60. So, once again, yes this is all speculation, but it is speculation based on previous actions and known facts.

Sony has yet to post another update since this morning, when it stated that it had no timeframe, but that it is working to get PSN services "back online quickly."

Apr 25, 2011




  • Spybreak8 - April 27, 2011 8:01 a.m.

    Can you say worst timing ever, (Portal 2, Mortal Kombat, heck Socom 4!)
  • rabidpotatochip - April 26, 2011 6:35 p.m.

    Hm, strangely plausible theory there. As for the whole "zomg its teh end of tha woooorld!!!1" debate, I guess I just don't care about Sony anymore, what with the rootkits on CDs and zero backwards compatibility. I feel bad for the people who are missing out on the chance to take their PS3s online because of what's happening and the people who have to deal with cheaters on top of the usual dickheads, but it seems to me that this whole thing started after OtherOS was removed. Pirates wanted their games for free regardless of whether OtherOS existed or not, but its removal seems to have been the catalyst for people with the technical know-how, the same ones who wanted OtherOS, to really rip into the PS3. It looks like by pissing off a small part of the userbase, the OtherOS users, Sony actually opened the PS3 to the vultures. It's kind of a strange dance to watch.
  • freakyfro99 - April 26, 2011 3:46 p.m.

    Before people start freaking out about CC info, that same post said it was all safe as far as he knew. Also, anyone saying "how are you gonna defend Geohot now?" is stupid. Nuclear energy has been used for horrible more horrible purposes than this and yet we don't lampoon the initial researchers. Almost anything invented can be used for good and bad. How something gets used isn't the fault of the inventor. And no I don't have my ps3 modded. I'd like to be actually able to use the PSN thanks. That and I have money to support my gaming now.
  • foxxjeh - April 26, 2011 2:39 p.m.

    sooo Sony's solution to stopping a small group of hackers from downloading free stuff is to SHUT DOWN EVERYTHING!!! Either way it seems like another case of Sony waving is corporate penis showing it can do whatever it wants, and fuck legitimate consumers.
  • phade3 - April 26, 2011 12:02 p.m.

    This makes Sony look amateurish ! I mean how secure was the network to begin ! It's bad PR too all PS3 users because most of the games require connection to the PSN in order for them to function ! I haven't been able to play anything and that's frustrating !
  • CombatCat120 - April 26, 2011 9:02 a.m.

    So I guess our credit card information is pretty much fucked then?
  • Crimsonkingx - April 26, 2011 7:16 a.m.

    I can tell you this is 100% true. I keep track on the PS3 hack community since I have a modded PS3 AND A REGULAR ONE FOR MY ONLINE GAMING!!! (Note that before you start hating). The REBUG CFW at first was only allowing CFW users to play with OTHER CFW online. So they were separated from normal retail PSN users. However, after a couple weeks they figured out how to get onto RETAIL PSN with everybody else and that is when the shit just hit the fan. It wasn't long before they were adding their own scripts into lobbies on CoD making it really unfair to play. But worst of all, they found out how steal content from Sony. Using a randomly generated PSN name and couple other work around VIA the CFW REBUG...they had $0.00 in their PSN wallet but could by anything they wanted. When I first read this on one of the websites, I knew this is what was going to happen....Most of the actual DEVs and well people who just want the CFW for the homebrew and linux WARNED EVERYONE THIS WOULD HAPPEN! But...Pirates will be pirates and as all things that come with pirating, the everyday users have to suffer for others misuse. It is really a shame it happened at all but...hopefully Sony gets the servers up and VERY SECURE this time. Just know that not all "HACKERS" are bad. Its the dumbasses that don't know how to use it that ruin everything.
  • Ariaka - April 26, 2011 6:17 a.m.

    Single player is not much an issue for me XD Back in my day, the NES didn't have a commercially viable online multiplayer option =P
  • CoryRX8 - April 26, 2011 3:54 a.m.

    I doubt that this is the whole story. There seemed to be a rash of people having fraudulent charges pop up on their credit cards over the weekend (mine included; check the Ars Technica comment threads for more anecdotes). I have two credit cards that I use regularly, and most sites that I've ordered from have had both of them on file at one point or another, the big exception being PSN. I'm betting that this is about more than piracy; this is about the hackers having compromised PSN members' credit card information. I'm a little disgusted with Sony holding this kind of information back. Their official line is that they don't know if people's personal data has been compromised, when there is plenty of evidence that it has. I'd recommend that anyone who has ever used a credit card on PSN watch their accounts like a hawk, and those that haven't buy pre-paid point cards instead of adding their credit card info to PSN when it comes back up.
  • garnsr - April 26, 2011 3:19 a.m.

    This sort of thing will get more and more frequent as technology gets even more ubiquitous. It's not just science fiction, now, it's fact! At least we might get a better PSN, somehow.
  • ThatGamerDude - April 26, 2011 2:18 a.m.

    Whatever is the cause, it's degrading and pathetic. Its people like these who need a job (better yet a life) and should be put in jail or put on the street and be stripped of all their possessions. (I think I went overboard for a minute).
  • Haikufrenzy - April 26, 2011 2:01 a.m.

    I'd love to see those people who were defending Geohot defend him now. This is ridiculous.
  • ChiChiRocket - April 26, 2011 1:45 a.m.

    This whole ordeal has truly soured what would have otherwise been a pristine Portal 2 launch experience.
  • FVDub - April 26, 2011 1:12 a.m.

    Hackers/modders/exploiters GTFO already, you ruin everything.
  • ZigzMagoo - April 26, 2011 1:06 a.m.

    This is exactly why I pay like 5 bucks a month for Xbox Live. Stupid stuff like this. I cant remember the last time Live was down for more than a day.
  • phoenix_wings - April 26, 2011 1:03 a.m.

    @ nadrewod - chill out. A misunderstanding on the internet?! Zoinks! Better call in Scooby and the gang to figure that one out. If this is actually what happened, then it makes a lot of sense. If they just posted a small update to patch the hole, then it would be easy to break through it again. But if they performed an overhaul on the whole system, it would take longer for unsavoury-types to break back in. Even if it wasn't a complete overhaul of the system, it would give Sony enough time to come up with and implement a more permanent solution.
  • JangoFettN7 - April 26, 2011 12:50 a.m.

    great. people steal some DLC and ruin the network for the rest of us... thanks for that hackers. why don't they think about what consequences will be for the rest of the gamers?
  • PimplesInYourAsstista - April 26, 2011 12:42 a.m.

    Anon or pirates trying to get free shit? Both dickheads, either way. Pisses me off that Sony dropped the ball this badly in not really informing anyone for so long, but can't really fault them for not being able to make a hack-proof machine. Either way, I'll stick with my PC.
  • SolidEye - April 26, 2011 12:30 a.m.

    I think it's irresponsible for sites like IGN and GamesRadar to fuel speculation, rumor or bias without providing any REAL information to consumers. The nature of the external intrusion is besides the point. The fact there is one to begin with is the real problem. Whether hackers are downloading free games from the PS Store or they're stealing credit card information it's still ILLEGAL and Sony rebuilding their network is justified.
  • Bantha_Fodder - April 26, 2011 12:19 a.m.

    this seems to be the popular theory now. it makes enough sense for it to be true. luckily, it sounds like Sony's close to fixing this, so I should be able to enjoy some Portal-y goodness soon enough...

Showing 1-20 of 29 comments

Join the Discussion
Add a comment (HTML tags are not allowed.)
Characters remaining: 5000