A few hackers found a way to get real DLC with fake credit card information.
The PlayStation Network has been down for nearly a week and Sony still hasn't provided any kind of explanation, although a Reddit user named chesh420 has a purely speculative theory. chesh420 happens to be a moderator for fan-site PSX-Scene.com and says that extreme piracy is to blame for the current PSN downtime.
The story goes something like this: On March 31, a custom firmware called Rebug debuted and gave hackers the ability to turn retail consoles into semi-developer consoles. The Rebug unit grants access to Sony’s private developer network and allows a hacked console to get back online. However, a few industrious people figured out that the trusted network wouldn't verify credit card information, so they could use fake numbers to download an unlimited amount content with impunity. The PSN was then shut down as soon as Sony learned about the scheme.
"Sony, realizing the issue here, shut down the network," wrote chesh, before reassuring PSN users that, "no one's personal information was accessible via this hack. Not to say they couldn't get it, but no one is admitting to it being available."
chesh420 also provided a brief timeline of events leading up to the current outage:
1. Rebug was released on 3/31/11.
2. First guides of how to use the dev network to get back on COD games on 4/3/11.
3. Word of "shady" sites finding a way to pirate PSN content via the dev networks on 4/7/11 (basing this on posts I had to delete on the website).
4. PSN goes down on 4/20/11
“This is all speculation and information gathered from various devs in the PS3 scene. It might very well not be the real reason PSN is down, but as the timeline fits, it's a reasonable explanation,” continued chesh420.
Sony has said that the PSN is down following an “external intrusion” and that they’re re-building the network to strengthen security, but we still don't have any concrete information. With that in mind, the latest rumor is as plausible as anything else we've heard since the problem started.