PlayStation Portable users looking to modify their gaming system so it can run software that has not been approved by Sony may find themselves running nothing at all. Ever.
According to researchers at security vendor Symantec a new Trojan horse program, called, Trojan.PSPBrick, has begun circulating on online gaming sites. Once installed, the software will delete important system files in version 2.0 of the PlayStation Portable's firmware, turning the hand-held games into inoperable machines, called "bricks" by gamers.
Simple but Rare Destruction
The Trojan masquerades as a nifty software hack that can be used to disable the PlayStation Portable's software protection mechanism, said Dean Turner, senior manager with Symantec's Security Response team.
"Once a user installs that Trojan, it deletes four critical files from the machine and a message comes up that says, 'Your PSP 2.0 is hacked, please reboot.'"
Without the system files, however, the PlayStations simply cannot be restarted, he said.
It appears as though the attack serves no purpose, other than to disable the gaming device, and though the software is in circulation, it is not widespread.
Symantec rates the attack a Category 1 threat, its least serious rating. The company has heard of no confirmed cases of PlayStation Portables being taken down with the software, Turner said.
PSP's First Trojan
The Trojan is the first attack that Turner has seen targeting the PlayStation Portable platform. But with the rising amount of downloaded software running on gaming consoles, it's unlikely to be the last, he said.
"Attackers are going to start looking at gaming platforms because more and more of these devices are becoming interconnected," Turner said. "It's an evolution that we think has been coming for some time. The sky isn't falling, but it's certainly a natural evolution."