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Sony wields banhammer against PS3 hackers

"Violation of the System Software License Agreement for the PlayStation 3 system invalidates the consumer's right to access that system."

Sony has taken steps to re-secure the PlayStation Network in the wake of the PS3 lv0 bootloader key leak and the ability for hacked consoles to play online alongside legitimate users.

"Unauthorized software for the PlayStation®3 system was recently released by hackers. Use of such software violates the terms of the 'System Software License Agreement for the PlayStation®3 System' and the 'Terms of Services and User Agreement' for the PlayStation®Network/Sony Entertainment Network and its Community Code of Conduct provisions," Sony's statement reads.

"Violation of the System Software License Agreement for the PlayStation®3 system invalidates the consumer's right to access that system. Consumers running unauthorized or pirated software may have their access to the PlayStation®Network and access to Sony Entertainment Network services through PlayStation®3 system terminated permanently."

Those who believe that buying their consoles gives them absolute ownership rights over their hardware may not be too happy with the contention that violating Sony's terms and conditions is grounds for what sounds like disabling consoles remotely. However, in the here and now, the firm's actions against those with hacked consoles have not been quite so extreme: unconfirmed reports suggest that both account and console access to the PlayStation Network is revoked when the banhammer falls but offline functionality of the affected units is left unaffected.

In addition, for those custom firmware users who have not been banned yet, Sony appears to be offering an olive branch.

"To avoid permanent termination, consumers must immediately cease using and delete all unauthorized or pirated software from their PlayStation®3 systems," Sony's statement continues.

Bearing in mind today's release of Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, the platform holder's timing is impeccable. However, the effects of its actions may well be short-lived: the PlayStation 3's system software is now completely open and hackers are known to be equipped with a complete list of all the identifying data sent from the console to the server. Sony could face a challenge in keeping these banned systems offline if hardware ID spoofer tools become available.

Sony declined to comment further on its statement.

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