7. The continuing effort to reinforce Sony PlayStation Portable's firmware
When Sony's PlayStation Portable was released last March, almost immediately, a cottage industry emerged in so-called "homebrew" software - games and other programs that individuals write on their own, and share amongst themselves. Enabling the PSP to run homebrew software, in the beginning, involved a devious, though relatively simple, trick, involving the file naming system of the memory stick. With Sony cracking down on the use of this same trick to bypass the copy protection system, malicious users started relying on homebrew developers to perfect their techniques of bypassing security, in order to make it possible for copied games to be run directly from the memory stick. This way, images of such games could be distributed over the Internet. Newer releases of Sony's firmware clamped down on executable image bypass techniques, but enthusiast PSP users reacted by simply not upgrading their firmware. To encourage users to install the very measures that would make their units, arguably, less flexible, Sony started building new features into its 2.0 series firmware, such as Web browsers, WiFi access, and remote digital TV capabilities. But with each upgrade, Sony's new barriers seem to fall in a matter of mere weeks.