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How This PlayStation Hack Is Getting Innocent Players Banned

Owners of older PlayStations aren't having a great time. Hackers first reported that PS4s around the world could break at any minute, thanks to an issue with the system's internal clock and how the console processes trophies. Now, an entirely different sort of issue — this time involving the PS3 — has fans concerned that their consoles might be banned from PlayStation Network forever, cutting them off from their favorite older games.

The PSNProfiles discussion board recently played host to an intense conversation about the state of PS3s. User GUDGER666 began the thread by providing some context for the board, citing a Spanish-language YouTube video by TheWizWiki which discussed a massive data breach that leaked PS3 console IDs onto the internet. Since that breach occurred, GUDGER666 explained that they'd seen "an increase in people saying they have been banned when they have done nothing. Also seen people saying they have seen an increase in people selling PS3 IDs for cheap." Then, something strange happened that sent GUDGER666 straight to the PlayStation community for help.

GUDGER666 tried to log on to their PS3 one day, only to find out they'd been banned by Sony. The ban wasn't tied to GUDGER666's PlayStation Network profile, as they successfully logged onto a second PS3. Instead, the console ID itself was banned. GUDGER666 speculated that hackers obtained PS3 ID numbers from a security breach in 2011, used those numbers to participate in malicious activity, then earned the true owners of the PS3's a lifetime ban in the process. Even though the unsuspecting PS3 owners are innocent, it seems there's no way for Sony to detect the mix up without some sort of human-led investigation.

Commenters respond to the alleged bans

Commenters on the PSNProfiles discussion said that, for the most part, they hadn't experienced any similar issues with their PS3s. Some players even had three or more PS3s to check. Others expressed concern over the length of the ban, saying that if the ban was only for 48-72 hours, players might not notice at all. Other commenters quickly clarified that these console bans are permanent, and that there's no requirement for Sony to notify players when they have been banned.

Sony has not responded to reports of these alleged bans just yet, and many gamers seem to think the bans may be isolated incidents. In the meantime, PlayStation has recently decided to make changes to the PlayStation Store, shutting down its division that sells movies and television shows. It also briefly considered ending digital sales for PS3 and PS Vita games, but later reversed that decision after fan outcry. 

With all these changes happening in the way Sony handles its PlayStation store, it wouldn't be too hard to believe that a data breach may have made company execs rethink the way the store worked. That being said, no one knows for sure, and gamers will just have to hope their PS3s are spared.