Sony's constant battle against custom PS3 firmware may have hit a major obstacle in the form of decryption keys released by a group of hackers, which can decrypt any changes Sony makes to the PSN security code in future updates.
As reported by Digital Foundry, the 'LV0 Decryption Keys' were created some time ago, but have now hit the public domain after being made available to Chinese hacking collective BlueDiskCFW. The original creators decided to release them into the public domain without charge to stop BlueDiskCFW profiting from their work.
Without wanting to get obnoxiously technical, they essentially allow users to decrypt the PSN 'passphrase' security protocol (think password), providing full access to the service for hacked consoles.
Though Sony will naturally change the passphrase very soon with update 4.30, the problem lies with the fact that future firmware updates can be decrypted "with little or no effort" on PC to discover the new code, which can then be re-encrypted for use in new custom firmware releases.
It's difficult to tell whether this will be an absolute nightmare for Sony or just a bump in the road. The keys can only be used if you happen to be running the latest custom firmware - which frequently bricks PS3 systems according to many users - and the PS3 is probably entering the twilight of its life span. Considering their commitment to fighting custom firmware releases, though, we can probably expect some serious countermeasures being developed over the coming months.