Report: Sony Have A ‘Kill Switch’ In The PS3

Shortly after we published a speculative discussion article on whether Sony would be banning PlayStation 3 users who circumvent their console’s security via the recent ‘Jailbreak’ method, the evergreen Digital Foundry came up with a more comprehensive, detailed report.


He covers many of the same points, albeit with a decidely more educated vocabulary.  However, one of the things we weren’t aware of was that Sony – according to the post – can remotely ‘disable’ your PS3 if they choose to, known as a ‘kill switch‘.

“The amount of access Sony has to your machine is greater than you probably suspect,” says the report.  “The company even has the means to irrevocably disable your console should it so wish, and if that happens, it will remain non-functional whether you’re online or offline.”

This, to our understanding, wasn’t public knowledge, and assuming Digital Foundry is right (we have no reason to suspect otherwise) this could be crucial in Sony’s defence against those that choose to hack their PS3s – remember, it’s against the Terms of Service and you’re asking for trouble…

TheSixthAxis does not condone piracy and does not recommend the modification of your console – doing so is against the Terms of Use of the console and is possibly illegal.



  1. I thought everyone knew this…

    Its called the YLOD! :p

    • Yeah, Sony put a kill switch in the 360 aswell…

      • Yeah but a killswitch, if true, would be highly illegal. If a company could effectively remotely break your system so it was unusable that would mean that they can force you to buy more of their product, which is illegal in itself. A company cannot sell a product which they know will fail so you buy a new one.

      • There’s kill switch in Kill switch Engage… (hopes)

      • I doubt it would be illegal as it is bound to be written somewhere in the small print.

        I think next gen, ALL PS4’s will be bricked straight of the box, and it will only work if connected to the net. Games, videos, pictures etc, all only usable if the user has a connection. Problem solved

      • I doubt it’s Illegal, in the terms I believe it says action will be taken upon misuse of terms (breaking your usage contract). So if you break the terms, you no longer have the right to use the console.

      • but the license agreement will always be superceded by the law, if the law says it’s ilegal to sabotage your customers purchase, and i would hope it is, then the license doesn’t mean shit.

        these license agreement are just ludicrous these days, to do the simplest thing these days you have to sign novel length agreements, who actually reeds all those? and even if you did the chances are you probably wouldn’t understand them because they’re filled with legal jargon and bullshit designed to fool people into thinking the company can do all the things they say they can and get out clauses if anybody actually figures out the contract well enough to legally challenge them on it.

        the license agreement is not permission to break the law.

      • The law supercedes the license agreement.The license agreement is void if it breaks the law. For example if Sony put a clause in the license agreement that stated “on every 12th saturday we will kill one puppy” you would know that that is illegal so Sony couldn’t do it. It’s the same with a killswitch. IT IS ILLEGAL and if any evidence were found that Sony were using them, which i really doubt they are, then Sony could be litigated to high heaven. PSN belongs to Sony but the actual ps3 hardware as in console is yours and they cant deliberatley sabotage it.

      • Out of interest, could it not be a metaphorical kill switch in the sense it kills all netwrok capabilites (and therefore is reversable)? If that was the case, then this would be within the law.

        Just an idea. Things on the web get often misquoted or taken out of context (thats not a dig at TSA btw, just a general point).

      • @jaffa-the-cake
        lol, of course they can. Microsoft did it with the 360, so it can’t be against the law.

      • @jaffa-the-cake i also thought it would be illegal for the same reasons, i think banning from the psn is enough if they start killing ps3s then they should expect to be suied for every ps3 that has/will die whether related or not

  2. Well why don’t they flip the kill-switch on these bastards PS3s already?

    • I would of thought if they could do it, they would of done this a long time ago surely? Doesn’t quite make sense. Make me wonder too, whether this YLOD is linked to this?? Would Sony use the kill switch on random people to get more sales? Not saying they would, but it does make you wonder. Same goes for Microsoft.

      • YLOD is nót the kill switch. YLOD is usually because the GPU/CPU ‘disconnects’ from the motherboard.
        And I suppose they’re trying the get rid of the hacks in a more ‘soft’ way, instead of throwing with the ban hammer right away.
        As soon it’ll start escalating (I thought it already did), I’m sure they will switch to other solutions.

      • YLOD is what they might want you to think….just saying that it worries me they have this ability to just kill a ps3.

      • YLOD is too easily repaired to be a kill switch.

      • The YLOD repair is not and can never be permanent.Once the circuitry is damaged it’s damaged for good. I repair YLOD ps3’s and i’m unable to say “the ps3 will never break again” to customers. Because eventually it will YLOD again and again no matter how many times you fix it once you have one YLOD your ps3’s days are numbered.

      • I have the YLOD now and it takes me roughly 50 presses to start up the PS3 !! I do actually have Continuous Play with Sony so i will eventually get around to getting my first replacement .

    • if then Microsoft must have pretty many people clicking on that button.

  3. Yay, please be true :)

  4. Engage!


    • exactly what i was thinking all the way through reading this :)

  5. I dont like the idea that someone can fuck my console up by the flick of a switch.

    • no, whether your hacking or not this is/should be very worrying news, although i believe its a scare tactic, otherwise we would have heard about it a long time ago

  6. Wow, that’s quite a thing to build in. Presumably it would have to be online at the time though. I’m not sure whether or not the outcry would be worth it though if they started breaking people’s consoles, its almost tantamount to them coming round with baseball bats.

  7. Is it just me or is it a little worrying that Sony can do this? I’m all for them using it against the pirates and it will serve them right for going online with a hacked PS3. All I keep seeing in game sepcific forums are topics about how screwed up the online will be now with pirated games and hacked game saves all over the place.

    But it just seems scary that there’s a kill switch inside my PS3!

    • YLOD ? Does makes you wonder.

  8. Good luck dealing with the fallout from false positives

  9. So presumably they could have done this instead of removing OtherOs.

  10. Haha Sony, you’re awesome!

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