Tuesday, August 22, 2006

XBOX 360 Viruses?

Until now, gaming consoles have been more or less immune to malware. Yes, there're been Trojans for the Nintendo DS console and for the Sony Portable Playstation but the number of victims has been small. This is because the user has to tweak the console in order for so-called homebrew software (i.e. software not certified by the console manufacturer) to run.
Microsoft recently announced that shortly, users will be able to purchase a development kit with a $99 a year registration fee. Programs developed using the kit will only run on Xboxes where the user has also paid the registration fee, and they can only be copied to another console as source code. From a security point of view, this is a wise decision. I hope that things won't change much in the near future. If Sony, Microsoft , Nintendo or hackers made it possible to easily download programs developed by users via the Internet, we would get severe problems. The combination of unprotected gaming consoles, the Internet and the possibility of previously unknown vulnerabilities would lead to gamers who had been immune to malware becoming a target for virus writers. And you never know which exploits are possible on the Xbox or the other consoles ... Let's see what the future will bring.