I have read on the net that authorities are having troubles monitoring Playstation 4 communications.
As usual the news are very non technical.

What makes the Playstation 4 network harder to intercept?

  • Is it possible that they were referring to some sort of P2P communication? I have no idea if PlayStation does that, but I wouldn't be surprised if their servers merely brokered P2P sessions.
    – forest
    Jul 23, 2022 at 3:06
  • @forest Yes, possibly. That would not make it possible to snoop by just tapping into Sony's servers. But re-reading my question after a few years in cybersecurity I'm 100% confident the news is just sensational and there's nothing true on the technical ground. I even notice only now that those statements came from Belgium, one of the worst EU country in terms of anti-terrorism intelligence, I think they just tried to find a scapegoat. Jul 23, 2022 at 8:15

2 Answers 2


Many of the news were just sensational news, not actual. There have been reports surfacing after this that security agencies monitor xbox and playstation communications. It came up as a playstation was found in one of the Paris attackers flats. It was baseless and been debunked quickly (https://motherboard.vice.com/read/how-the-baseless-terrorists-communicating-over-playstation-4-rumor-got-started) however that didn't stop the hoax.

The communications also don't use crypto as opposed to many better communication techniques for secret communications.

So the answer is, its quite easy to intercept and Sony probably helps law-enforcement do it already. Some reports even say they are also using algorithms to search for suspicious activity themselves.


As the article does not go into detail, I am left to suspicion.

I suppose Sony does not use strong crypto; else, it would not be 'hard' but 'very hard' to get plain text. (cf. Apple ./. FBI)

There is however another aspect:

The network is huge, with a big number of active users, voice communication in masses amongst fellow gamers and vast possibilities to for example join a game session collectivly and use team voice communication to communicate.

It gets increasingly hard to find the needle in a haystack, the larger the haystack grows.

Note: This also assumes there is not already a warrant in place for a specific person, as the communication of a single person's account might very well be easily tracked by law enforcement with of without the help of Sony.

  • I thought so, the whole thing about the haystack I mean, but the same apply to WhatsApp. So basically it is harder because gamers use voice communication? Mar 22, 2016 at 13:48
  • Supposed that it actually is hard and not a rumor, that is what I'd suspect. I guess voice recognition for arabic languages might not be top notch, too.
    – Tobi Nary
    Mar 22, 2016 at 13:56
  • 1
    What could make recognition of tone/catch-phrases could also be a little bit harder, if players play games where they need to collaborate and plant a bomb or kill a lot of people. I would recon it is very hard to decide for a software if a group of gamers is talking about an ingame plan or outgame...
    – Falco
    Mar 23, 2016 at 9:29

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