Over the past few decades, video game systems have grown in sophistication and capabilities by leaps and bounds. Consoles like the Nintendo Wii, Sony PlayStation 3, and Microsoft Xbox can be found in many U.S. households and are popular among servicemembers, with Internet access and hard drives that rival personal computers.
With these advances, Garfinkel said, the systems have become a playground of illegal activity for criminals. In 2008, law enforcement agencies contacted the DHS’s Science and Technology Directorate and requested help in analyzing gaming systems seized during court-authorized searches, Garfinkel said. While some tools exist to extract data from gaming consoles, the consoles are hard to crack as they are designed with copyright protection systems, he said. Navy and DHS officials declined to comment on whether the gaming consoles of Americans will ever be hacked and monitored. They also declined to comment as to whether the system manufacturers had been approached about this research.
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