Playstation 3 First Console to Get Internet Security Software

Dennis Faas's picture

Sony's PlayStation 3 has become the first game console with Internet security software.

The software was included in the system upgrade received by owners last week, but has only just been announced. It's the work of Trend Micro, a security company working in partnership with Sony. The service is currently free of charge, but will be a subscription service from next April. Sony and Trend Micro have yet to reveal the prices which will then apply.

Aside from anti-virus features the software also includes web filters. This blocks sites in two different ways; it checks history and ownership to weed out potentially fraudulent sites, and it checks the content to judge which are unsuitable for children and families. Blocked sites are only accessible with a password.

The definition of unsuitable material is wide-ranging, covering subjects as diverse as alcohol, tobacco, sex education, and even cults. However, users cannot control which sites are blocked, since there are no user settings other than to turn off the entire security package. (Source:

Tech writer Tim Conneally says the market for console security has been so slow to develop because Microsoft chose not to include a web browser on the Xbox 360. With seven million online Xbox users, their service would be a major target for hackers.

There are previous cases of online security breaches in the console market. Back in 2000, hackers were able to remotely cause crashes on the Sega Dreamcast, a serious problem if a game was being saved. (Source:

Daniel Ives, a technology analyst, said the online console market isn't yet developed enough to tell whether security software products will be successful. "Over the coming years, as the console becomes more common in terms of Web browsing, that's when you can really try to gauge what type of opportunity it is for the antivirus vendors." (Source: SFGate)

Security software could prove a hard sell to PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360 owners.  After all, the console is popular because it's supposed to completely skirt the world of malicious hackers.

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