Some PlayStation users have asked Sony to send them their personal data, and the results are quite shocking. twitter user @AlexCheer1 found out that Sony had logs of him running Adrenaline PSP custom firmware on his PS Vita, for example.
Sony knows you ran hacks
AlexCheer1 shared some screenshots of what his data looks like (screenshots below). He discovered that Sony knows, among other things:
- What handheld controllers/consoles you connect to your console
- Which games you play online, and if it’s F2P/Free Weekend or on PS Plus
- Which parts of the system menu you have browsed
Their systems also log all types of games you launch, even offline (the data is sent the next time you log in), and even if they are homebrew games. As such, it’s not completely surprising, but interesting, that they know he uses adrenaline (identified as PSPEMUCFW).
In addition, they keep a long history of all this data. In the package AlexCheer1 was sent, all its history had been kept until 2012!
Nothing really surprising there, but it’s “funny” to see that PlayStation is aware of the use of hacking, and overall that’s a surprisingly massive amount of data.
What Sony records about you
It probably won’t come as a surprise to most people who follow this blog, but Sony monitors a lot of information when you’re using a PlayStation console, and especially when you sign in to PlayStation Network.
In theory, this type of information is aggregated and in most cases anonymized internally before being used to monitor various metrics (whether for marketing, legal or engineering purposes). At an individual level, data is also collected for certain legal reasons, as set out in the PlayStation Terms and Conditions.
Although the terms may vary depending on your country, all versions of the PSN rules we have checked have a variation on “We are not responsible for logging or monitoring any activity on PSN, although we may do so in order to investigate violations or enforce this Agreement, or to protect the rights and property of SIE, its partners and its customers.”
There you can see a long list of what is collected: your name, your username, your address, your payment methods of course, as well as the content that is stored in their databases, such as purchases, voicemails, chat content, posts, etc. usually any user-generated content that is stored on its side.
The metrics and monitoring part (“We may also automatically or passively collect information about your use of our Services”) is where it gets interesting. They say:
Whenever you use a PlayStation console or PlayStation application on a PlayStation console or other devices (such as a mobile phone or PC), we may automatically collect information about your use of that device and application. If you sign in to an account, we may combine it with other information we have for that account.
Following is a list of the kinds of things that are recorded (emphasis added). We reproduce below only some of them, you will have to check the official document for the complete list.
- Device identifiers such as your PlayStation console ID, mobile device IDs, cookie IDs or serial numbers
- Network identifiers such as your IP address and MAC address
- Account authentication tokens that save you from having to log in repeatedly
- Content and advertisements downloaded to your device for the online services you access
- Your current and recent locations (e.g. on PS Vita)
- Trophies, scores and rankings obtained online and offline
- Information about the device you are using, any connected device (such as VR controllers and headsets) and how you set them up
- Informations about how you use the software installed on your device (which may include information about using the software offline), such as the date and time of use, the games or music you play, the content you browse, share or download, the services you access and for how longincluding how often you use chat and other communication applications
- Actions you take in games or apps published by SIE (for example, what obstacle you jump and what levels you reach)
- Details of software errors and load timesand if the “Automatically report system software errors” setting is enabled, detailed information about the crash, including screenshots and videos captured before the crash
Again, hackers have known for some time that Sony monitors a lot of information and may have used such telemetry in the past to fix vulnerabilities while they were being worked on. This is why most hackers looking for vulnerabilities always make sure to block some specific network communications for their device (for example, on PS5 we block specific IP addresses when running the kernel exploit ).
How do I request my PlayStation data from Sony?
— Alex Cheer 🐝 (@AlexCheer1) November 1, 2022
If you want to know what PlayStation knows about you and your activity, follow the instructions below.
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