Sony Warning Custom Firmware Users To Delete “Malware”

Sony’s Japanese site has posted up a warning to users of custom firmware. Judging from a hasty pass through the Google Translate mangler, the statement seems to be basically warning that the use of firmware that isn’t officially released by Sony is illegal as it contravenes the license agreement for the system software on the PlayStation 3.

They refer to CFW as “malware” and warn that using it might result in the inability to use the Sony Entertainment Network. The warning also points out that custom firmware voids your warranty.


The warning urges those who use custom firmware to stop using it immediately and “please delete” the offending software. We’re not sure that tactic is going to work but the PSN bans are surely a deterrent of some kind.

Of course, custom firmware, while certainly infringing on the license agreement you agree to upon activation of a PSN account or installation of PlayStation 3 firmware, isn’t quite as nefarious as some might have you believe. There are many uses for custom firmware beyond the traditionally accepted one of software piracy.

I think it’s perfectly reasonably for Sony to attempt to clamp down on the use of CFW because of the impact of piracy, although I think those license agreements we all agree to are often purposefully obfuscating the truth of their contents with overly wordy or complicated statements. I also think it would be a shame to discourage some of the other uses for custom firmware – homebrew development and experimentation, for example – simply because a few greedy pirates refuse to pay their way in the world.

It would be nice to see Sony work with custom firmware developers and homebrew enthusiasts to find a middle ground that enables the more interesting side of software customisation and still allows for Sony to prevent copyright theft on their hardware. That’s got to be better than simply labelling it all “malware”, hasn’t it?



  1. Your last sentence hits the nail on the head. Then again, Sony are so busy tending to their financial wounds I don’t see how they’d have time to look into dealing with legal homebrews, etc. Such a shame as there would be a thriving community, no doubt.

    • Pretty much perfectly summed up.

      • There was a middle ground, called OtherOs (linux) until sony had a panic attack and removed it. The result was that a lot of creativity that had gone into doing interesting things with the cell processor was redirected into breaking PS3 security, so that the creators could go back to dong interesting stuff.

  2. Playstation Mobile and LBP are decent enough for most to create decent games on and relatively inexpensive. What I’ve seen made in LBP is amazing.

    I understand why homebrewers want CFW but even though the PS3 has been hard to hack the pirates will still outnumber the homebrewers and in the end does far more harm the any good the homebrewers can offer. Once the PS3 is truly hacked and open for all the gap will only get bigger.

    Do people really need to hack a ps3 for homebrew when there are already enough open platforms to use?

    • To answer your last question, yes. Because we own it.

  3. Concentrating on what Sony means. There is CFW that had DRM and malware. Fortunately they’ve been outed but not until after some unlucky people had already paid them money.

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