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PlayStation (Games) Open Source Sony Games

Sony Has Lost the PS3 Hacking War 322

Posted by Soulskill
from the not-that-they'll-admit-it dept.
YokimaSun writes "Sony may have dealt a major blow to the PSjailbreak sellers, but the release last week of PSGroove, an open source version of the hack, has now opened the floodgates of ports to mobile phones such as the Nokia N900 and Palm Pre. The final kick in the teeth is that a port of the exploit has been released by Waninkoko of Wii custom firmware fame for the Dingoo Handheld, which is a homebrew console that is very popular amongst emulation fans. It makes you smile that you can use one homebrew console to hack another to get homebrew on that console. Awesome." pudge notes that you can apparently do the same with a TI-84 Plus graphing calculator (YouTube video).
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Sony Has Lost the PS3 Hacking War

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 06, 2010 @04:58PM (#33491950)

    The only thing Waninkoko is famous for is not thinking before releasing things. He put out a USB .iso loader, for example, that made the pirating possible on a large scale and caused Nintendo to step up patching the Team Twiizers hacks. Don't paint him as a god! He didn't even make any "Custom Firmware", only a few patches to the wii's system menu.

    • by marcansoft (727665) <hector@@@marcansoft...com> on Monday September 06, 2010 @05:35PM (#33492316) Homepage

      Even worse, he's directly responsible for bricking hundreds of consoles due to shoddy code (his "custom updater" and "custom downgrader" saga; at one point running one of his tools bricked your console 100% of the time) and generally speaking hasn't made any contributions to homebrew, instead opting to cobble together pieces of homebrew code to make pirac^H^H^H^H^Hbackup tools, often without following the licences.

      He's only jumping on the PS3 bandwagon to get some attention, which is something he loves. If he ever releases anything halfway meaningful for the PS3, I can pretty much guarantee it'll be a port or simple combination of existing tools in a slightly more "marketable" way, with a "healthy" dose of his sponsor's logos, as his Wii releases always have been.

      True story: he released his USB loader about 20-30 days after someone actually wrote a high-speed USB driver, which was the final piece of the puzzle. For kicks, after his announcement but before the release, I proceeded to independently create an equivalent USB loader, to gauge how much work had to go into it. ~200 lines of code and 6 hours, not counting time spent writing a silly menu and slapping in logos.

      • by FrangoAssado (561740) on Monday September 06, 2010 @07:29PM (#33493172)

        Why is this modded troll? Anyone who follows the Wii homebrew scene knows Waninkoko has been very disruptive to people who want to write and run homebrew code without having anything to do with piracy.

        See also for example this post [hackmii.com] from another Homebrew Channel developer. And this [hackmii.com] from marcan (presumably the parent) about how he wrote an USB loader in 6 hours just to show it's no big deal, given everything other people had already done.

        • by xtracto (837672) on Tuesday September 07, 2010 @03:04AM (#33495626) Journal

          Nah... I have followed the Wiiscene for quite some time (including the demise of TehSkeen, Marcan's whiny rants,etc ) and some "scene" guys are angry at Waninkoko/Wiigator, etc because they release stuff allowing to run backups.

          See, there is a certain segment of the WiiScene which are a bunch of Mother Theressas and the only mention of backup launcher gets their panties in a bunch.

          Other segment just do not see software itself as "evil" or bad and use whatever tools there are to increase the functionality of the console (as other person commented in this story for the PS3, it is good being able to rip your games into a USB drive).

          And of course there is people who use such tools to steal software.

  • Lost the war? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by socsoc (1116769) on Monday September 06, 2010 @05:02PM (#33491998)

    Maybe this battle was a loss, but as long as Song can force firmware updates, the war is far from over.

    There's aslo an iOS version being made that'll run from a jailbroken iPhone.

    • by antdude (79039)

      Nice typos too. :)

    • by hedwards (940851)
      Yeah, and I'm guessing that they're going to have another massive lawsuit on their hands if they follow through with their threats to disable portions of the PS3 as a response. It was questionable to say the least when they started releasing PS3s without all the chips that the first gen PS3s had, but now that they're apparently removing features from consoles that people have already purchased, they're going to be in a world of hurt.
  • by Goaway (82658) on Monday September 06, 2010 @05:08PM (#33492046) Homepage

    The hack exploits a bug in the USB code on the PS3. A firmware update will render every single one those hack versions useless.

    That's nowhere near a victory of any kind.

    • by Jorl17 (1716772)
      Yes, that's what I was thinking as well! Who the hell are these idiots who seem not to know anything about which they submit stories?
      I admit I haven't RTFA, but I watched the video and it clearly is something workable by the means of a Firmware update. This war is as lost as the PSP war was before they found out about Pandora...
    • by Andorin (1624303)

      > A firmware update will render every single one those hack versions useless.

      Then why hasn't Sony released one yet? If it's so trivial to patch the flaw you'd think they would have done so by now.

      • It's trivial - it's a hole in GameOS (lv-2), which is part of updates and nowhere near the early bootloaders. They're probably working through their very first case of "oh-shit-we-need-to-patch-this-now" bureaucracy. They'll get faster for upcoming iterations of the exploit-patch-release cycle.

      • by feepness (543479) on Monday September 06, 2010 @06:44PM (#33492846) Homepage

        Then why hasn't Sony released one yet? If it's so trivial to patch the flaw you'd think they would have done so by now.

        Because they have careful testing and actually care about not breaking shit?

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      You underestimate the consequences of this. To do anything exotic you would need to change the shellcode to launch your own unsigned bootloader instead of tricking the Sony system software into thinking we have a Jig; but if you do, you have complete control.

      With more development, you could fake it perfectly - the PS3's own security capabilities (that were used to such effect in the OtherOS hypervisor that needed a hardware glitch to even come close to breaking) can also be used against it, to stealth DNAS

      • by marcansoft (727665) <hector@@@marcansoft...com> on Monday September 06, 2010 @06:13PM (#33492606) Homepage

        The exploit has nothing to do with Sony's service jig. It uses the service jig code as a handy way to stash 64 bytes into memory, but it neither passes jig auth nor does anything related to what the jig does at Sony's repair centers. In fact, I think the exploit could be reworked not to emulate a device with the jig's ID at all. The core exploit relies on random (non-specific unidentified vendor) USB devices with wacky descriptors.

        The exploit also only has permissions at lv-2 level (GameOS). Breaking into lv-1 will require extra work, and breaking into the secure SPU is still impractical.

      • by Goaway (82658)

        but if you do, you have complete control.

        I am not at all convinced that is true. Pretty sure you don't have control over the hypervisor. And you certainly don't have any way to stop Sony from doing mandatory upgrades. Sure, you can take your own machine off the net, but new machines aren't going to be vulnerable.

        • by bhtooefr (649901)

          An existing machine on the net might work, though, if you can get control over the hypervisor.

          Run your own hypervisor, and then underneath that, Sony's runs. Sony can update whatever they want below your hypervisor - your hypervisor is still there, feeding incorrect data to Sony's hypervisor.

    • Eh, firmware updates also reversed piracy on the PSP, but that console aint exactly piracy free.

      • by EdIII (1114411)

        To my knowledge it didn't though. The Pandora battery is what allows you to install custom firmware regardless it there is an official firmware on the unit in the first place.

        Sony never released a firmware update that could patch that since it was on the battery. Their attempt to stop it was to release batteries that could not be used that way. Of course you can still get the batteries.

        In the early days I absolutely remember that Sony released some official updates that prevented custom firmware for quit

    • by cciRRus (889392) on Tuesday September 07, 2010 @01:58AM (#33495290)
      Unfortunately, you are spot on.

      http://exophase.com/ps3/ps3-firmware-3-42-hits-network-update-18063.htm [exophase.com]:

      Update: We can confirm that all variants of the USB-hub emulating exploit (PSFreedom, PSGroove, PSJailbreak) are no longer functional in firmware 3.42.

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Monday September 06, 2010 @05:09PM (#33492058) Journal
    Unshockingly enough, Sony crushed a commercial seller of a PS3 mod device like a bug. Even if the law weren't probably unfavorable to the sellers, Sony probably could have just tied them up in injunctions forever anyway. Shocking.

    Equally unsurprisingly, halting the distribution of some OSS software is going about as well as the fight against DVD Jon's little toy did. It's totally unwinnable, and Sony hasn't shown many clear signs of even trying. Shocking.

    However, it isn't clear how much this matters. This isn't CSS, where the system was set in stone, millions of un-patchable, non-internet-connected hardware units were already in the wild, and team DRM pretty much just had to suck it up. Those were the good old days.

    Sony controls the Playstation Network, and can enforce minimum software versions for access, or punitively lock out units. Even for offline users, individual game disks can mandate, and include, upgrades to a higher version. Sony has, certainly, lost the game against anyone content to just pick up an old PS3 fat on ebay and enjoy a pirated copy of every PS3 game to date, all for ~$200. You'll have to stay offline, and avoid games with mandatory upgrades; but not a bad deal on the whole, I can certainly see a fair few takers.

    However, unless this USB hack is seriously powerful, exploiting some basically unblockable fundamental flaw in the PS3's design, all PS3s that ship more than a few weeks from now, are updated(manually or automatically) to the next firmware revision, or wish to play newer games or use newer peripherals, or play online, are back in Sony's camp. And, unlike a DVD or Blu-ray disk, where the plaintext copy, once created, is eminently playable on all sorts of 3rd party devices, general purpose computers, and whatnot, PS3 games are pretty much only playable on PS3s, pending substantial advances in computing power that will allow emulation. This isn't "hack once, run anywhere." Each individual PS3 is controlled separately, and the success of the hacking device depends on how many hackable PS3s remain in the wild, a variable over which Sony has substantial control...
    • by Inda (580031)
      New games with mandatory updates will be patched. It used to happen on the PS1. Patching ISOs became the norm in the end and we gained PPF-o-matic as a result.
    • However, it isn't clear how much this matters. This isn't CSS, where the system was set in stone, millions of un-patchable, non-internet-connected hardware units were already in the wild, and team DRM pretty much just had to suck it up. Those were the good old days.

      Sony controls the Playstation Network, and can enforce minimum software versions for access, or punitively lock out units. Even for offline users, individual game disks can mandate, and include, upgrades to a higher version. Sony has, certainly, lost the game against anyone content to just pick up an old PS3 fat on ebay and enjoy a pirated copy of every PS3 game to date, all for ~$200. You'll have to stay offline, and avoid games with mandatory upgrades; but not a bad deal on the whole, I can certainly see a fair few takers.

      Agreed. Unless we can get a free and open parallel Playstation Network for hacked consoles to make use of, it'll continue to be a arms race and Sony will ultimately have the upper hand due to owning and controlling the network. And it's a much taller order, both legally and technically, to provide such a network. And likely prohibitively expensive even if there weren't legal obstacles.

    • by Aladrin (926209)

      The 'USB Hack' apparently uses a flaw in the USB driver, so it should be easy for Sony to patch.

      But in the mean time, even though Sony 'crushed' the company, there's now an open source version that runs on most Android phones, Nokia n900, and even a TomTom, among others.

  • So it enables piracy. But if it adds more functionality because of it, that much the better.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Sancho (17056) *

      Exactly. I've been following this mod for exactly one reason: enabling PS2 games on PS3 versions which don't support that. Although having OtherOS to play with would be kind of neat (I have a slim, so I never had either feature.)

      I don't pirate. I occasionally boycott a publisher, and then I simply do without their games (I'm looking at you, Ubisoft.) But I'd love to be able to disconnect my PS2 from my TV.

      There have been some murmurs that this will be possible soon. The only question will be whether th

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by spire3661 (1038968)
        IF your machine doesnt have PS2 compatibility already, no amount of software is going to bring it back. PS2 emulation on PS3 has ALWAYS depended on at least part of the PS2 hardware being physically present.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by hedwards (940851)
      You mean it adds back functionality that they used to include with the PS3. Don't forget that they have removed functionality from recent firmware editions as a response to the threat to their exclusivity. And the latest report is that the next firmware update is going to disable the USB ports. Sony has learned very little from getting clobbered over that rootkit they installed on computers as DRM.
      • by Nursie (632944) on Monday September 06, 2010 @11:26PM (#33494514)

        "And the latest report is that the next firmware update is going to disable the USB ports"

        BULLSHIT.

        Sorry, but I have to call this one out for what it is.

        The USB ports are how the controllers are used during certain updates or if they're out of power. The USB ports also are how you plug in things like the Playstation Eye, a peripheral that Sony themselves sell and are relying on for their "Move" push.

        They will not now, nor ever, disable the USB ports, this is some sort of forum echo-chamber nonsense or an outright troll that's somehow gained credence.

        Especially when an update to their USB driver will destroy this jailbreak just as well.

  • by cesman (74566) on Monday September 06, 2010 @05:22PM (#33492186) Homepage

    It has been years since I owned a console (Turbografx 16), after reading about the power of the Cell, I wanted to get a PS3. Not just for games but for Linux! However it turned out one couldn't full harness the power of the PS3 with Linux. So, I didn't get one. Thru the years, I'd check and see if any breakthrus were made or if Sony changed their stance. Well, with the release of the Slim models, the stance changed all right.

    Since I own a N900 (Great hardware, great OS, great community! Nokia however is frustrating.) and seeing the release of PSFreedom was interesting to say the least. However at the moment all one can do is backup one's games. While it will be interesting to watch what happens in the homebrew scene, where does that leave those like myself that would want to do something legitimate with the PS3?

    In my case, for years I've wanted to port KnoppMyth (now LinHES) to the PS3. Now, it seems that things maybe falling in place that would allow that. However thanks to corporate decisions and the law (DMCA), I probably won't be able to do so. Talk about crippling innovation.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Sony makes consoles for gamers, not geeks who want cheap processing power. They need you to buy games for that piece of hardware to make some profit, that's why they try to crush any other use for it.

      The rest of the PS3 owners bought it to play games, so when some obscure option that less than one percent users even tried, it's no surprise no one cares.

      One user said that the hack can be used for something else other than pirating? Well what is it?
      Another said that you can buy an old version and play pirated

  • Sony won the war (Score:3, Insightful)

    by robmv (855035) on Monday September 06, 2010 @05:50PM (#33492432)

    Sony won because they managed to delay for nearly 4 years the break in the PS3 security, They are not losing money on the console right now, If this would happened early Sony could have lost a lot of money, losing possible game sales on people that probably never had the intention of buying a PS3 because it was not pirate ready is not significant in my opinion, pirates never intended to pay

    • by Shados (741919)

      Yup, even with the Xbox 360's RROD issues, I'm pretty confident that this had a BIG thing to do with the PS3's popularity among third party devs. Develop for the 360 when it had twice the user base, but get pirated 3/4rd of the time, or develop for the much smaller PS3 user base, but have 5 times the attach rate.

      No brainer, so even when the PS3 looked like it would end up on life support, it was able to "recover" from that alone...

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Belial6 (794905)
        I don't know, I have a stack of Wii games, and I don't own a single PS3 game. In fact, as I look through my library of literally over a thousand original console games, a good 90% of the games were purchased for systems that had been hacked. Maybe I am really that unique of a human being... Somehow I doubt it though.
    • by hedwards (940851)
      Part of that is that the most recent revisions are shy a few chips which the older ones had. And they didn't bother to advertise that the newer versions are essentially gimped so that they don't lose as much money on them. The Slim for instance had no other OS feature and had the chips for emulating both the PS and PS2 not included so that Sony could save a few dollars on production. And from what I gather, they'd removed the PS emulation from previous revisions as well.
  • Without taking a stance on the whole piracy issue, this does work with a HTC Dream on a 120gb ps3 slim. Only problem is that it breaks wifi and sd storage (on the phone) until you reflash.
    • by hedwards (940851)
      Sweet, I'll have to try that. I wish I could mod you for that, but I've already posted here.
  • Great. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by TheCount22 (952106)

    Great can I have Linux on my PS3 now?

    Now that Sony has lost maybe they can give me back the features I PAID FOR.

    Thanks.

  • Yo dawg! (Score:5, Funny)

    by xaosflux (917784) on Monday September 06, 2010 @06:26PM (#33492710) Homepage

    "It makes you smile that you can use one homebrew console to hack another to get homebrew on that console."

    Yo dawg! I heard you like hacking homebrew, so we we put hack in your homebrew so you can hack homebrew while you hack!

  • by 0111 1110 (518466) on Monday September 06, 2010 @07:08PM (#33493026)

    Now that there is no unhacked console left, maybe the consolization of PC games will slow down a bit. And maybe Sony will finally release the PS4, so that PC graphics can finally move ahead. It has been 3 years since Crysis. PC games have been stalled in terms of graphics because the better the graphics are on the PC version the more difficult it is to port to the old tech on the consoles.

    • While there is piracy on the consoles it isn't like the pc where most of the people playing the games aren't paying for them.

      That isn't an exaggeration, numerous indy developers have reported piracy rates of over 80%. Just be glad there are enough sales on the pc to still justify console ports.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by julesh (229690)

        While there is piracy on the consoles it isn't like the pc where most of the people playing the games aren't paying for them.

        Yes. But until now, piracy on consoles has required hardware modifications, or at least unauthorized firmware updates that have a non-zero chance of bricking your console. This is now changing. IUIC, this hack allows you to run pirate games without modifying your console, just by hooking an external device (that large numbers of people already have) up to its USB port.

        That is to s

  • It has been PATCHED! (Score:3, Informative)

    by cciRRus (889392) on Tuesday September 07, 2010 @01:55AM (#33495274)
    Show's over.

    Apparently the latest firmware update fixes the USB exploit [kotaku.com].

    Gaming site eXophase claims that, since Sony released firmware update 3.42 earlier today, it has been able to verify that "all variants of the USB-hub emulating exploit (PSFreedom, PSGroove, PSJailbreak) are no longer functional"

  • by cheros (223479) on Tuesday September 07, 2010 @03:00AM (#33495608)

    Given what Sony did by removing the "other OS" feature after it was used for a hack, I think I can safely say that there is no way you cannot trust Sony not to retrospectively kill other features later. I don't hack my PS/3, but the "other OS" feature was a reason for me to buy it, so the "upgrade" isn't (and has thus not happened) because I refuse to pay the price for something I didn't do, and lose a feature I PAID FOR and which is on the product description.

    Imagine what happens if someone finds a way to hack the box via a movie feature - given their approach to "other OS" it is not totally bizarre to expect them to nuke the "play video" feature in a next release, so thanks Sony, but there is not going to be another penny spent on anything PS/3, or anything else that is remote changeable. Quite simply, the PS/3 as a product is dead to me, and research for any new kit (whatever type) will certainly not begin with Sony.

    If a company cannot take into account a certain amount of customisation when it gets a device out in public it suggests it is totally hopeless at both market analysis and crisis management. To me, that spells "incompetence".

    No thanks.

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