A hacking collective calling itself "The Three Musketeers" has hacked the security systems that prevent Sony's PlayStation 3 from running pirated and unauthorised software.
A cryptographic key named LV0 was uncovered by The Three Musketeers, allowing them decrypt Sony security updates and incorporate them into custom made firmware, which can alter how the PlayStation 3 operates.
These hacked PS3s can be used to play software not authorised or released by Sony, or for other purposes. The LV0 key has been posted online and made available to other PS3 users looking to hack their console.
The Three Musketeers released a statement to PlayStation Lifestyle, expressing disappointment that news of the hack had been leaked:
"As this was a group effort, we wouldn't normally have lost a word about it ever, but as we're done with PS3 now anyways, we think it doesn't matter anymore.
"Some people try to achieve something for fun together and make the wrong decision to trust others and share their results with them, but of course there [has] got to be the attention-seeking fame-whore that has to leak stuff to feel a little bit better about him/herself. The only sad thing is, that the others who worked on this won't get the attention they deserve because they probably want to remain anonymous.
"You can be sure that if it wouldn't have been for this leak, this key would never have seen the light of day, only the fear of our work being used by others to make money out of it has forced us to release this now."
Similar efforts to circumvent the PS3's security systems have been made in the past. In 2010, PSJailbreak became widely available, allowing users to "chip" their PlayStation 3 to play pirated games.
And in 2011, George Hotz, an independent hacker, released the PS3's metldr keys which could also be used to run unauthorised programs on the PlayStation 3.
Speaking to Ars Technica, Nate Lawson, a consultant with Root Labs explained that Sony still has plenty of ways it can prevent security breaches:
"They're going to have to depend on obfuscation as their primary security measure to keep people from decrypting their updates. It's a cat-and-mouse game that's now more closely in the favor of the attackers. But Sony has plenty of things they can still do. It's just another link in the chain."
Sony recently announced that the PlayStation 3 has sold five million units in the UK since going on sale in 2006.