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Paris attackers may have planned their acts using PlayStation 4

According to a report by Forbes, Belgian federal home affairs minister Jan Jambon said after the attacks “PlayStation 4 is even more difficult to keep track of than WhatsApp.” As police raided premises in Brussels, at least one PlayStation 4 console is believed to have been found and kept as evidence.
It is yet to be confirmed that the killers used the console to plan their attack but it is thought that the PlayStation Network (PSN) would be a “perfect” choice. Sony allows PSN users to chat and send messages to each other directly from their consoles and employs encryption methods to protect user privacy.
PSN’s security is so strong because it has to deal with several different forms of data, making it hard to work out what came from where when assessing its usage in the future. Each method of communication using the console such as directly messaging a person or using tools built-in to a game results in a different kind of data transfer. Accessing protected Internet networks like PSN is much harder for government agencies than tapping cell phone networks and conventional Internet traffic.
In some cases, gamers don’t even need to type a message to communicate with each other. ITProPortal notes the claims of some Call of Duty players who say they can speak to each other by spraying patterns of bullets onto walls in the environment. Such techniques could be used deliberately by terrorists to exchange messages without so much as a trace of the communication happening.
Forbes notes that critics of the PlayStation 4 and Microsoft’s rival, the Xbox One, thought the consoles wouldn’t give users enough privacy back at their 2013 launch. Microsoft’s always-on Kinect listening, no longer a mandatory accessory for the Xbox One, in particular generated concerns that it could let governments “into the living room.” In fact, it’s worked the other way around and PlayStation Network and Xbox Live are some of the hardest services for spy agencies to track.
Sony has responded to the claims that terrorists who left over 129 people dead could have used its console to plan their attacks. It told Eurogamer: “PlayStation 4 allows for communication amongst friends and fellow gamers and, in common with all modern connected devices, this has the potential to be abused. However, we take our responsibilities to protect our users extremely seriously and we urge our users and partners to report activities that may be offensive, suspicious or illegal.”
It added that it is “committed to taking appropriate actions in conjunction with the appropriate authorities” if it is notified of illegal activity taking place on its network. Sony did not say whether it is already helping French and Belgian authorities in their inquiries regarding the PS4 console recovered by Brussels police.
Prosecutors have said the attackers involved in the assault on Paris were “prepared abroad” and worked in three teams. Paris tried to return to a form of normal operation this morning, opening schools despite a state of emergency and welcoming visitors back into museums and theatres from 1 p.m. French president Francois Hollande has said the terrorism was an “act of war” and vowed to retaliate against ISIS.
[UPDATE 16-11-2015, 19:50GMT]
The link between the PlayStation 4 and the attacks in Paris no longer appears to exist. A “reporting error” in the original Forbes article that this report is based on incorrectly stated that a PlayStation 4 console had been recovered during a raid in France and quoted Belgian federal home affairs minister Jan Jambon as saying “PlayStation 4 is even more difficult to keep track of than WhatsApp” in the wake of the attacks.
It has since emerged that Jambon made the comment three days before the attacks in Paris, on November 10. Forbes author Paul Tassi admitted to Kokatu this afternoon that he “misread” the minister’s statement, leading to the publication of his incorrect, and since amended, report.
Tassi’s original article has seen in excess of 475,000 views and has been used as source material by news outlets across the Internet, including Digital Journal. Although the PlayStation 4 is believed to be used by ISIS for communication, according to Jambon’s comments on November 10, there is no longer any direct link between the Sony games console and the attacks in France on November 13 and no such console is known to have been recovered in house raids since.

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