Infinity Ward's Robert Bowling has warned that the key level PS3 hack which surfaced last month has created the opportunity for players to run several exploits in multiplayer bouts of Call of Duty 4 and Modern Warfare 2, which the company can do nothing to prevent until Sony fixes the larger problem.
Hacked servers running the games can be used to reset players' scores, change perks and enable debug mode special abilities such as auto aim and incredible movement speed. Bowling believes that these problems will be unfixable until Sony can address the key hack.
"Games rely on the security of the encryption on the platforms they're played on," Bowling posted on the Infinity Ward forums. "Therefore, updates to the game through patches will not resolve this problem completely, unless the security exploit itself is resolved on the platform."
His advice to players was to steer away from public matches where they might encounter hacked servers, and to report any oddities to Sony customer support. A reputation for hosting hacked matches could prove disastrous to the hugely successful series, as players migrate to more secure platforms.
Addressing the problem in future CoD games will not be a problem, Bowling told readers, but the existing titles simply cannot be fixed via patching.
The PS3's security was laid wide open at the end of last year as hacking group Fail0verflow, building on the work of George Hotz, or Geohot, discovered that Sony had made an elemental error in its otherwise rigorous PS3 security and released details of the hack to the public.
The group has since been issued a restraining order by Sony, in a case which is currently under review due to jurisdictional complications.