A new PlayStation 4 hack allows users to play pirated games on their consoles.
The hack, already discovered in use in Brazil, allows users to take their activated PS4 consoles and make them (and their games) work on other PS4 consoles. Unlike a previous exploit that involves sharing your account with your friends (allowed by the PS4), this new technique basically makes a copy of one PS4 account and puts it on another console.
Perhaps even more surprising is that the hack is relatively simple and only requires a Raspberry Pi single-board computer that retails for around $99.
Currently, Brazilian stores have exploited the hack, which probably originated in Russia, and are now selling 10 pirated games per console at around $100. Considering that each game is worth at least $60, this deal is certainly attractive to many PlayStation 4 users. According to Wololo.net, users can acquire additional games through the hack for $15 each.
Users can already share games with friends by letting people activate several PS4 consoles under the same account, and that system often sees abuse by those extra accounts getting shared with friends. However, this still limits sharing to just that number of extra accounts Sony allows. The new technique, though, allows for unlimited sharing and creates big business for game piracy.
Sony hasn't yet responded to this new form of hacking but has sent cease and desist notices for those abusing the existing system that allows users to share accounts with friends. It's likely that once it comes to their attention, though, those retail establishments profiting from the hack will get hit with some sort of legal action by the company as well as release a patch that protects consoles from being hacked.
Sony has patched consoles for previous hacks, but this new one has not yet been addressed. Some security experts believe that such hacking is inevitable, as it has historically been common with all gaming consoles.
"[There are] open source groups like Homebrew with more altruistic motivations of extending the functionality of the console alongside groups selling modified consoles specifically to play copied games and, of course, the reseller of the games themselves at a fraction of the actuals costs," says Gavin Reid of the security intelligence group Lancope. "This has happened historically with all of the major consoles. It would be highly unlikely not to continue with the PS4."