Trend Micro arms PlayStation against bad Web sites

Trend Micro has introduced a security service for Sony's PlayStation 3 that blocks access to malicious Web sites, the company's first product for gamers.

Trend Micro introduced a security service for Sony's PlayStation 3 that blocks access to some potentially malicious Web sites. It's Trend's first product aimed at gamers.

Trend's service is available as part of Sony's 2.00 firmware update for the PS3, also released this week. The service will initially be free for users through April 2008, but Trend has not yet released future pricing, said Keith Reed, Trend's online manager for Europe.

Gaming systems are increasingly accessing the Internet, to download new games or for Web browsing, which potentially expose the machines to the same kind of threats as desktop PCs, Reed said.

The PS3, which has a port for an Ethernet cable or can wirelessly access the Internet, has a Web browser, which could be a potential vector for security problems, Reed said.

Trend's service checks a Web site a person is trying to access against its own database of malicious sites, Reed said. The service also uses so-called "reputation" technology, checking where a Web site is hosted and who owns it among other characteristics and then determining if it poses a risk and should be blocked, he said.

Users can also configure Trend's software to automatically block Web sites that fall into certain categories such as "Adult/Sex," "Alcohol/Tobacco" and "Cult/The Occult." Those classifications are contained in Trend's database of Web sites.

Gamers have become a target for hackers. About two years ago, Sony's PlayStation Portable device was targeted by a Trojan horse application posing as a firmware modification, but which deleted crucial startup files.

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Jeremy Kirk

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