PS3s used to capture child pornographers

PS3s used to capture child pornographers
PS3s used to capture child pornographers 

By Tom Magrino
Nov 17, 2009

The PlayStation 3 has been used for a variety of altruistic tasks 
following its launch in 2006. Perhaps the most high-profile of these 
ventures is the Folding@home project, which uses spare processing power 
from idling, networked PS3s to undertake the arduous task of simulating 
protein folding in order to study the causes of various diseases.

The latest effort to harness the PS3's processing power for good comes 
from the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement Cyber Crimes Center. As 
reported by Axcess News, the Cyber Crimes Center (C3) is using networked 
PS3s to capture sexual predators by cracking passwords on computers 
suspected of containing child pornography.

The report notes that while law enforcement agents can execute a warrant 
to secure the physical computers, the Fourth Amendment protects 
suspected predators from surrendering passwords and other encryption 
material. As such, the agency attempts to crack the passwords by using a 
program that tries all possible key combinations. The report notes that 
a six-digit password has nearly 282 trillion possible permutations, and 
the networked PS3 can attempt 4 million guesses per second.

The fight against kiddie porn has a new ally.

"Bad guys are encrypting their stuff now, so we need a methodology of 
hacking on that to try to break passwords," said C3 senior special agent 
Claude E. Davenport. "The PlayStation 3--its processing component--is 
perfect for large-scale library attacks."


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