Hack to win a PS3

Hacking challenge tests the viability of using the console as a heavy-duty server platform

Keen to get your hands on the eagerly anticipated PlayStation 3? Japanese Web host Shimpinomori is promising to give away a modified version of the powerful console to the first person who is able to hack it.

The challenge was launched less than two days ago by Shimpinomori founder, Augustin Vidovic, to test the security of the PlayStation 3 Open Platform and the viability of using it as a heavy-duty server platform.

"The PS3 is a brand-new kind of system, with the flabbergasting Cell processor, which the very architecture protects from most of the buffer overflow causes," Vidovic said. "It should be much harder to crack [than standard servers]."

Hackers have been invited to attack a Shimpinomori Web site, featuring an image of the PS3 box in the hands of a toddler. The first to replace the image will win the PS3 that the site is currently hosted on.

Mere hours after the challenge was launched, Vidovic's Web site was already attracting the attention of the blogging and hacker communities. To date, the site has received in excess of 1500 diggs on social bookmarking site Digg, and so far, said Vidovic, it's looking good.

"The Digg Effect [is] in full force, [and] the PS3 is at 95.5 per cent idle most of the time," he said. "Imagine that: the PS3 may be a pricey game console, but if it proves to be a first class server, it is really cheap!"

Vidovic has given hackers until mid-January to win the PS3, after which the offer will expire. So far, he said, there have been many people attempting dictionary attacks, brute force attacks against the SSH server daemon, and attacks via standard Nessus, kitco and other portscanners.

The PS3 has already been launched in the US and Japan, but with limited availability. It debuts in Australia in March 2007.

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