The past five days of PlayStation Network down time was sparked by a new PS3 hack that let users download PSN content for free spurring Sony to pull the plug.
That's according to new a speculative report that suggests the release of a hacked custom firmware which enables the downloading of PSN content for free is at the root of the ongoing issue.
The report highlights that a custom firmware, known as 'Rebug', was released on March 31 which, in brief, gives retail PS3s most of the options and functionality of a debug (or developer) PS3 unit.
A week later, tutorials appeared detailing a way in which users could use this firmware to download PSN content for free using fake (NOT stolen) credit card numbers.
Apparently, hackers "found out that you could provide fake CC# info and the authenticity of the information was never checked as you were on Sony's private developer PSN network (essentially a network that Sony trusted)."
Piracy ensued, which is what triggered Sony's decision to shut down PSN, speculates the report, going against common suspicion that the severs had simply failed due to a direct attack from disgruntled hackers.
The report also says "no one's personal information was accessible via this hack. Not to say they couldn't get it, but no one is admitting to it being available," backing up other reports today that the risk of credit card theft via PSN is 'not substantial'.