This wouldn't be the first time Sony has leaked important security keys, common to every PlayStation 3 console, however, this is the first time the console's LV0 decryption keys have been let loose in the wild.
So what makes the LV0 keys so special? These are the core security keys of the console, used to decrypt new firmware updates. With these keys in-hand, makers of custom firmwares (CFW) can easily decrypt any future firmware updates released by Sony, remaining a step ahead of the update game; likewise, modifying firmwares and preventing them from talking back to Sony HQ also becomes a much easier task.
Up until now, Sony's PlayStation 3 has been the most secure of the mass-market home consoles, with initial hacks late to arrive and updates to the console's firmware stopping any further progress in its tracks. So where has Sony gone wrong and what can the firm do to resolve the issue?
Perhaps the most obvious mistake was to allow keys to leak in the first place, which were extracted through a flaw in the console's hypervisor. Another is that the firm will have had the opportunity to provide a unique key for each console, however likely opted out of this to decrease the complexity of the firmware update system.
Going forward, Sony likely has three routes, the first would be to frequently release confusing firmware updates to keep hackers at bay long-enough to push-out the next firmware update with new security. The second would be a more proactive approach, where the firm delivers an update that will at-last generate new unique keys for consoles, preventing the use of any universal custom firmware, though, this is assuming that the LV0 key can be locked-out as an override. The third, long-term approach, would be to ship all new PlayStation 3 consoles from now-on with new master keys.
The group that released the new CFW with LV0 master keys calls itself "The Three Musketeers". It claims that it only released the keys now, in the knowledge that a Chinese group also planned to release the keys, however, for a profit.
Perhaps Sony and the industry in general can be thankful that this leak has happened less than a year before the expected launch of the PlayStation 4.