Trend Micro claims that as game consoles with Web browsers proliferate, so too will security problems. To date, however, such risks remain largely theoretical.
PlayStation 3 relies on a version of the NetFront browser, provided by Access Co., a maker of software for portable devices. In March, a hacker going by the name Anathema reported that the NetFront browser could be exploited. The vulnerability was added to the Bugtraq list in May.
Robert Hansen, known in security circles as RSnake, said in a May blog post that vulnerable Web-enabled devices like the PS3 could pose a serious threat. "Let's say for a second that PS3 was sitting behind a firewall of someone who worked at supersecurecompany.com and they use a VPN only to connect to their company," he said. "Now that I am running my code on that system, I could theoretically break into other machines on the network much easier since I am behind the firewall. This is far more nasty than I think most people realize. It might be a video game console but if it is Web-enabled and running over a shared Internet line it should be just as secure as anything else."
Trend Micro Web Security for PS3 relies on Trend Micro's Web reputation and URL filtering technology to keep users safe from malicious and harmful Web sites. It provides filtering of Web sites by category -- Adult/Sex, Alcohol/Tobacco, Violence/Hate/Racism, for example. Gamers can thus fire virtual weapons in games like Metal Gear Solid while being denied access Web sites detailing the real thing.
While such filtering aims to prevent gamers from visiting sites that might launch an attack, it's mainly useful for censoring Web content.
The service also assesses Web site reputation in determining whether a site will be blocked. The types of sites blocked can be configured from the PS3 Internet Browser menu and locked with a password.
Trend Micro Web Security for PS3 is free of charge through April 2008. Trend Micro has not yet set a price for the service after that date. The company claims its service is the first globally supported Web security offering for a home game system. It is available starting on Thursday, November 8, in 16 languages for PS3s with the new PS3 Firmware 2.0.