(Mis)Uses of Technology

by Mike Masnick

Criminals Want To Use Your PS3's Processing Power... And Other Tales To Keep You Up At Night

from the be-afraid,-be-very-afraid dept

There are companies out there that make their money by keeping you very, very afraid of all that new technology out there. That isn't to say that there aren't new security concerns from new technologies, but there seems to be a tendency to hype the risk well before it's clear that it's really a serious risk. There are some firms that have a long history of doing this. Meta Group was especially famous for once saying that all companies should ban all cameraphones from their offices -- which seemed both extreme and shortsighted, since there are plenty of benefits to cameraphones as well. Sometime after that, Gartner bought Meta Group, and they seem to have learned how to overhype the threat of new technologies from them. First, there was the big threat of iPods in the office, and now Gartner is warning everyone that criminals want your PS3s. It's not to steal them and resell them, but they want to access the processing power on your brand new PS3 for a new generation of botnets. Now, it's certainly possible at some point that this will become an issue -- but it seems a little early to make that claim without any real evidence that this is happening.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    PhysicsGuy, Nov 17th, 2006 @ 3:24pm

    well, at the least, it certainly becomes a possibility with how game consoles are designed and networked today. however, i always figured it would be microsoft's console that fell to the trojans...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    baboom, Nov 17th, 2006 @ 3:40pm

    they should at least wait until the consol is out long enouph for people to plug it in

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Pete, Nov 17th, 2006 @ 3:45pm

    Unsigned code

    Looking at Sony's strategy for patching the PSP as soon as unsigned code can be run on it (homebrew, etc) I'd be very shocked if any networked PS3 could stay unpatched for long.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    nicholas, Nov 17th, 2006 @ 4:22pm

    All over again

    Didnt anyone remember when the PS2 was launched? They said Saddam Hussein was going to hoard them to use them for smart bombs and terrorism. And look what happened to him...


    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Krum, Nov 17th, 2006 @ 4:31pm

    Re: All over again

    I totally remember that. And these meth-heads I met told me we were only allowed to purchase a maximum of two systems because more than that and you could build your own "missle guidance system." Urban Legends are fun...and stupid.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Scott, Nov 17th, 2006 @ 4:36pm


    Patched or unpatched, Sony currently lets the PS3 run any PPC version of Linux, in addition to the PS3 OS. There are definitely botnets that attack Linux, my brother just had one login through his MythTV user and send out emails to all of his friends and family. So, although unlikely and premature, it is possible.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Adam, Nov 17th, 2006 @ 4:39pm

    Everythign that can be invented has been invented

    Maybe we'd all just be better off if we took the advice of Charles H. Duell - Patent Commissioner from 1899.

    He wanted to petition to have the patent office closed / or stop issuing patents since all worthwhile things had already patents issued on them...

    Too funny.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 17th, 2006 @ 5:16pm


    Admiral Adama has it right on the Galactica. Networks = bad.

    Real world take-away: Powerful, intelligent firewalls, antivirus and secure practices.

    If some n00b turns off his computers firewall, and disable WEP and hardware based firewalls on his router because some other n00b told him it lowers his ping (or some other such silly thing), do I feel bad that hackers walk through the gaping hole left open by these people spreading their legs to the whole intarweb? Nope.

    Gmail filters the spam mighty fine.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    Someone, Nov 18th, 2006 @ 3:08am


    I can't help thinking of only one thing at the prospect of PS3 botnets; GIMPS for the PS3, anyone? All that processing power just sitting there! I think they should develop and release free arcade style games - tetris and the like - and they'd do GIMPS work in the background, or SETI, or the drugs research for that matter. Not to mention the prospect of the prizes for the larger (>10k digit) primes, better odds of winning in a given month than the lottery.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    Dizzle, Nov 18th, 2006 @ 11:13am

    Re: GIMPS

    I'm pretty sure the PS3 is doing something like this already, something to do with protiens...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    Joe Smith, Nov 18th, 2006 @ 4:42pm


    There is no way this is going to happen.

    Everyone knows that Sony has already made a deal with NSA to sell all those spare processor cycles to the US government. No way they are going to leave any openings for criminals to steal those cycles. ;-)

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. identicon
    Dosquatch, Nov 20th, 2006 @ 6:38am

    Re: Ridiculous

    "All your beowulf are belong to U.S.?"

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. identicon
    Forgive me....., Nov 20th, 2006 @ 10:41am

    One small factor.

    Are we not forgetting that the machine has to be on for its chip to be used in the down time? Or are they fools thinking that they are planning to use the chip in the split seconds when it is running games or the what not?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. identicon
    BurninG, Nov 21st, 2006 @ 12:15am


    @10... Yep it's called folding


    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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