Hackers claim PS3 3.56 firmware packs a rootkit

Hackers working on creating a custom firmware for Sony's PlayStation 3 based on release 3.56 claim they've found an undocumented 'feature' of the latest code: an in-built rootkit that allows Sony to execute code on your console.

Discussing the issue on IRC, jailbreak hacker Mathieulh - attempting to create a custom firmware that allows third-party code to be executed on Sony's flagship console, as was available for previous firmware versions - claims to have discovered hidden code allowing Sony remote access to consoles.

According to Mathieulh, the latest firmware, pegged as a 'security release' by Sony executives, contains a rootkit that activates when a user connects to the PlayStation Network - allowing Sony to run code to force firmware upgrades, remove custom firmware or third-party applications, or even reformat the console's internal storage altogether.

"3.56 pretty much has a built in PSN rootkit," claims Mathieulh during the chat."[It allows] remote code execution upon login."

So far, Sony has not responded to requests for comment on the matter - but with users complaining that the 3.56 firmware causes PS3s with upgraded storage to fail, and the company having been in hot water previously when it added rootkit technology to its audio CDs, it's clear that damage control is required.

A transcript of the chat session is available over on the NeoGAF forums.