XNA Boss Concerned About Modding Security
Microsoft's XNA Group General Manager Chris Satchell has said that platforms that allow mods without appropriate security measures are putting consumers at risk of harm from malicious hackers.
When asked in an interview with Eurogamer whether XNA's peer review system for user-created games could be employed in a similar manner for modified content, Satchell said it could be used in that fashion but quickly added that "the core issue of modding" is maintaining security. Referring to the XNA system as a "sandbox," he said Microsoft built security from the ground up to ensure it was very secure and to "make sure there was nothing an XNA Game Studio game could do to the console."
"That's really where we've got stuck - making sure that nothing will hurt the user's system, and I'm a little disturbed when I think about other systems and people using what we call native code - code that goes right down to the metal - and then allowing people to run script mods on top of that without the right security measures," he continued. "It could be really dangerous."
"We've drawn a hard line because we very much care about security, and it seems like some other platforms don't seem to care quite as much. That kind of worries me for consumers," he said.
Satchell added that while most hackers who who just want to demonstrate their abilities won't cause harm, a small core of malicious hackers will take advantage of systems without XNA-style security measures to cause harm, "Whether it's Sony, whether it's Nintendo, whether it's Apple, whether it's anyone - you're inviting trouble, because sooner or later someone will want to prove they can do it."
Satchell's full interview with Eurogamer is available here.