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PS3 Hacked? 296

Several readers have sent word that George Hotz (a.k.a. geohot), the hacker best known for unlocking Apple's iPhone, says he has now hacked the PlayStation 3. From his blog post: "I have read/write access to the entire system memory, and HV level access to the processor. In other words, I have hacked the PS3. The rest is just software. And reversing. I have a lot of reversing ahead of me, as I now have dumps of LV0 and LV1. I've also dumped the NAND without removing it or a modchip. 3 years, 2 months, 11 days...that's a pretty secure system. ... As far as the exploit goes, I'm not revealing it yet. The theory isn't really patchable, but they can make implementations much harder. Also, for obvious reasons I can't post dumps. I'm hoping to find the decryption keys and post them, but they may be embedded in hardware. Hopefully keys are setup like the iPhone's KBAG."
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PS3 Hacked?

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  • Cheating (Score:4, Insightful)

    by sopssa ( 1498795 ) * <> on Monday January 25, 2010 @07:35AM (#30888202) Journal

    I guess the main reason for this will be so you can play pirated games. Homebrew is already possible on PS3 and lets not kid ourselves, piracy is always what these things are mostly used for.

    But even more worrysome is if this enables complete access to system and memory, cheating will become a problem. For example 360 hack isn't the same, you can't run your own code or modify memory on it - it merely allows you to play pirat^H^H^H^H^H backups. This will be a lot more serious hack.

    I usually play on PC, but when I'm playing on PS3/360 I like that I know there aren't cheaters. While packet-modifying is theorically possible if there isn't any encryption or checksums in the network data, cheating on consoles is a lot smaller problem than on PC and some types of cheats (wallhacks etc) are impossible to create without direct access to memory and code.

    And I'd like to keep it that way.

  • Re:Cheating (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sockatume ( 732728 ) on Monday January 25, 2010 @07:44AM (#30888250)

    A lot of lessons have been learned from the original Xbox days. By the end, essentially you couldn't get online without the original dash and a retail game, which limited hacks to whatever you could do with game saves or screwing with the downloaded content. Those are relatively easy to police. I imagine Sony will be keen to do something similar, and set up their servers to dropkick anyone who logs in with an unapproved configuration.

  • Re:Cheating (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Rogerborg ( 306625 ) on Monday January 25, 2010 @07:45AM (#30888258) Homepage

    Here's an adage that I like to bear in mind:

    If you choose to trust your client, then you are planning for failure, because any successful client application is going to get hacked.

    I guess it's a simple economic calculation: by the time your client has a large enough userbase that someone takes the time to hack it, you've already made your profit. Screw anyone who buys it after the client is owned - they should have got in at launch.

  • Re:Cheating (Score:3, Insightful)

    by xous ( 1009057 ) on Monday January 25, 2010 @08:00AM (#30888330) Homepage

    Of course! Why didn't the they think of this before?

    I mean -- it's brilliant -- vendors restricting our use of our property for our own good, the good of the collective users, or maybe just the good of their bank accounts.

    They should do this on cars too. Vehicle manufactures should come equipped with GPS based governors, alcohol detection, sex detection, and reckless driving detection straight from factory. This could even be extended to manual shoulder checks , cellphones, smoking, eating, talking, and everything else that could possibly be dangerous.

    I can't wait until PC manufactures starts releasing Windows(tm) computers that are based on the the same principal. Just think. No more spam, malware, viruses, or even legitimate software that Microsoft deems is not "good' for their user base.

  • Re:Cheating (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dasuser ( 1173323 ) on Monday January 25, 2010 @08:06AM (#30888374)

    I guess the main reason for this will be so you can play pirated games. Homebrew is already possible on PS3 and lets not kid ourselves, piracy is always what these things are mostly used for.

    You're forgetting one thing - homebrew is possible, but access to the 3d hardware is disabled so that unofficial software can't compete with official games. That, combined with the removal of the ability to even use a 3rd party operating system in the new hardware revisions, is a rather compelling reason to hack the PS3.

  • Re:Cheating (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Rogerborg ( 306625 ) on Monday January 25, 2010 @08:45AM (#30888598) Homepage

    Mmm. What the XBox Ban-a-Thon shows us:

    1. Microsoft had to punish up to 1 million of their own customers...
    2. ...some of whom had already been punishing their other customers by 'sploiting...
    3. ... the ban was worked around within weeks [google.comk]...
    4. ... and in future, we can expect all hacks to be stealthy and more robust.

    I'm sure it's working out for Microsoft financially, but they'll always lag behind the exploits while trying to secure the client or play whack-a-hack.

  • by Narishma ( 822073 ) on Monday January 25, 2010 @09:04AM (#30888702)

    Sony doesn't really care about all of that. They only care if you buy PS3 games as everything else will lose them money. If you buy a PS3 and use it as a computer or HTPC or whatever, they lose money on it. Only by selling games for it do they actually make money.

  • Re:Cheating (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sockatume ( 732728 ) on Monday January 25, 2010 @09:09AM (#30888730)

    Jesus Christ, he's not coming out in support of locked-down hardware, he's just pointing out that in principle (as has happened on previous occasions) breaking a console can lead to a wave of shitheads ruining your gaming experience. That's a trade-off that's worth debating.

  • Re:Is this legal? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 25, 2010 @09:15AM (#30888778)

    Perhaps you've been living under a rock, but the USA has this whacky law called the DMCA which pretty much makes anyone a criminal that circumvents any sort of encryption. Some other countries that have their faces firmly planted in the USA's rectum also have similar laws. So, depending on where you are in the globe, the answer would be yes/no/maybe.

    The new ACTA farce that's currently in the process of being cooked up may very well introduce even more draconion restrictions to this sort of activity.

  • Re:Cheating (Score:5, Insightful)

    by darkmeridian ( 119044 ) <(moc.liamg) (ta) (gnauhc.mailliw)> on Monday January 25, 2010 @09:22AM (#30888826) Homepage

    There is a point to limiting certain products so they function as a level playing field. PC gaming is frustrating because of wallhackers and morons with aimbots. Console gaming is preferable because it's generally difficult to hack the system. Limiting products increases the value it has.

  • Re:RSX in Linux? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Nursie ( 632944 ) on Monday January 25, 2010 @09:23AM (#30888830)

    What do you mean by the linux community?

    I agree that the likes of redhat probably won't support this any time soon. But Debian? Gentoo? Or a community like xbox-linux could spring up.
    Some of the linux community are probably quite excited by this.

  • Re:Cheating (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 25, 2010 @09:23AM (#30888838)

    b) I'm detecting you're a 16-35 single white male, so I'm limiting top speed to 50(kph, not mph) or simply not starting at all

    There. Fixed it for you.

  • No. Just... no. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Dr. Manhattan ( 29720 ) <[sorceror171] [at] []> on Monday January 25, 2010 @09:44AM (#30889026) Homepage

    You bought a computer in form of a game console, but then noticed that the designer employed some tricks to keep you from doing certain things whit it, despite you having payed and owning the device.

    Um... no. If you didn't "notice" that up front, then you were either exceptionally dim (my condolences) or were paying a dangerously low amount of attention (in which case, I fear for you crossing the street). Console makers don't exactly hide the restrictions they place on what they permit to run.

    I got a PS3 knowing that it had built-in limitations on what I could do with it. I decided that those limitations were worth the value I got out of the things it does do. (You are entirely free to judge me a moron for thinking that. I'll try not to let your opinion ruin my day.)

    Now, if this hack actually pans out, I may well use it to play around with the PS3 more. After all, I let my son get an R4 for his DS, and he enjoys being able to pack all his games and some movies on one card he doesn't have to swap out. (Yes, his games. I don't steal games, nor do I let him do so.) But even if you think that console makers shouldn't put DRM on their consoles, you can't claim that they aren't up front about doing so.

  • by sopssa ( 1498795 ) * <> on Monday January 25, 2010 @09:50AM (#30889086) Journal

    Like I said, there are valid reasons for that and you have one. But lets be honest here, most people are only interested about this because it can break copy protections and will use it solely for playing pirated games.

  • Copyright (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Dr. Manhattan ( 29720 ) <[sorceror171] [at] []> on Monday January 25, 2010 @10:15AM (#30889334) Homepage

    Then you would copy some data / ideas (in this case, games), which are NOT physical goods, from someone. Which is a normal thing that is a basis of human civilization.

    Oh, yeah, one more thing. Let's quote someone who made this point far more articulately, Thomas Jefferson: If nature has made any one thing less susceptible than all others of exclusive property, it is the action of the thinking power called an idea, which an individual may exclusively possess as long as he keeps it to himself; but the moment it is divulged, it forces itself into the possession of every one, and the receiver cannot dispossess himself of it. Its peculiar character, too, is that no one possesses the less, because every other possesses the whole of it. He who receives an idea from me, receives instruction himself without lessening mine; as he who lights his taper at mine, receives light without darkening me.

    Of course, he went on to say: Society may give an exclusive right to the profits arising from them, as an encouragement to men to pursue ideas which may produce utility...

    No copyright/patents/trademarks at all is a pretty bad state. Draconian DRM and unending copyright isn't productive, either. Fortunately, we can try to find a balance between them. Pretending the choice is only one or the other is ridiculous.

  • Re:Cheating (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RogueyWon ( 735973 ) * on Monday January 25, 2010 @10:28AM (#30889570) Journal

    Why on earth has the parent been modded up? It's one of the most blatantly misinformed rants I've read in a long time.

    Before I go any further, let me make one thing clear; for certain genres of games (fpses and RTSes, in particular), I very much like having a dedicated server option. I'm absolutely not arguing against this; I was annoyed by the Modern Warfare 2 fiasco as well.

    However the simple fact is that cheating is less prevalent in games which use a centralised server system, or a closed matchmaking system than in games which have a more distributed public model. At the extreme end of the scale, you have MMOs, where the server infrastructure is more or less provided exclusively by the publisher. The server is therefore pretty much locked down. Yes, you occasionally get cheats detected from the client-side (Final Fantasy XI had a bad rash of these for a while), but they tend to get addressed very quickly and the consequences for getting caught cheating are severe (usually the deletion of your account, with the loss of all progress).

    At the other extreme you have Counter-Strike, back as it used to be in the wild before Valve finally developed half-way useful anticheat. If you joined a public game, you could almost take it for granted that at least one person on the server would be cheating. I used to be the head-admin of a league, with a few hundred players, and every season, a couple of those players would be caught cheating. It used to be pretty steady... in the 1-2% range. And by and large, the consequences were pretty low. Until fairly late in the day, the worst that would happen if you cheated on a public server would be that the admin would notice and ban you. If you were stupid enough to do it in a league, your team would get kicked out. Moreover, while bans could theoretically be enforced using a unique ID linked to your Half-Life CD key, the system was so badly broken that it was trivial for even your average idiot to get around it. Over time, Valve tightened up on this - and how did they do it? By more centralised anti-cheat, centralised player-registries and so on.

    Allowing cheating in multiplayer games is a very, very bad thing for a developer or publisher to be seen to do. It annoys honest players (who are, anecdotally, more liable to have bought the game legitimately rather than be using a pirated version) and makes them less likely to buy your products in future.

    Single-player cheat codes are an entirely different kettle of fish. Nobody really cares if you cheat in a single-player game. It doesn't detract from anybody else's experience. So if companies want to include singleplayer cheat codes, then let them. To be honest, the whole "achievements" thing, and the "socialisation" (I know that's an ugly term, but I can't think of a better one) of single-player gaming on the 360 and PS3 has meant that single-player cheat codes have actually become far rarer than they used to be.

    There's an entirely separate discussion over whether "premium" content in multiplayer focussed games is starting to intrude on gameplay mechanics, as opposed to being purely cosmetic, but this probably isn't the time or the place for that.

  • by plague3106 ( 71849 ) on Monday January 25, 2010 @10:31AM (#30889604)

    Sounds like you bought the wrong device. What you want is called a computer, and will allow you to run any code you want.

  • by DrXym ( 126579 ) on Monday January 25, 2010 @10:49AM (#30889910)
    The PS3 is by far and away the most open of any mainstream console. Sony likes to ram its proprietary standards down people's throats but the PS3 is a pretty open device as far as these sort of things go.
  • Re:Cheating (Score:4, Insightful)

    by RogueyWon ( 735973 ) * on Monday January 25, 2010 @11:05AM (#30890162) Journal

    Because while these servers exist, they aren't very popular. The user-base of the average 3rd-party server is, as I understand it, less than 100. Most WoW players are aware of them... and make the decision to steer well clear and stick with the better resourced, better administered official servers. If anything, I'd take the "open" WoW servers as an example that the third-party server model just doesn't work for MMOs.

    There may be a market for middlingly-multiplayer (say... up to 40 people) persistent world games with third party servers (like the old MUDs, but updated for the modern age). But I'm talking here about the kind of thing that Neverwinter Nights has made a nod towards in the past with some of its more ambitious modules, not something on the scale of WoW.

  • Re:Cheating (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nxtw ( 866177 ) on Monday January 25, 2010 @11:08AM (#30890202)

    Microsoft has been banning Xbox 360s for years.

    The process for "fixing" a banned Xbox 360 console involves cloning the NVRAM from another Xbox 360. That's hardly working around a ban.

  • Re:Cheating (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ehrichweiss ( 706417 ) * on Monday January 25, 2010 @11:35AM (#30890638)
    Mod parent up! I was going to say the same thing. I hadn't heard of a workaround and upon reading the links realized it was the same as I'd read before: you're cloning a non-banned box so that *it* gets the chance to be banned soon.
  • Re:Cheating (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MikeBabcock ( 65886 ) <> on Monday January 25, 2010 @11:42AM (#30890762) Homepage Journal

    I wish I could stamp "douchebag" on the forehead of everyone who brings up smartphones as though they're some kind of new evil. I've driven behind plenty of people reading books, doing makeup, curling their hair and even eating soup (with two hands).

    The problem isn't phones, the problem is people driving stupidly. Stop it with the moronic rants about cell phones already.

  • Re:Too much (Score:2, Insightful)

    by stonefry ( 968479 ) on Monday January 25, 2010 @12:25PM (#30891588)

    It will probably be a priority to get images running off the HD then.

  • by Shimdaddy ( 898354 ) on Monday January 25, 2010 @12:46PM (#30891960) Homepage
    The difference between a computer and a ps3 is that the ps3 sells for less than it costs to make. Sony makes this money back through selling games -- claiming that there is no difference between a game console and a computer since they have equivalent parts is disingenuous. You can't have it both ways -- you either get great hardware for cheap with restrictions on it, or great hardware for a more reasonable cost and the freedom to do whatever you want with it.
  • by DrXym ( 126579 ) on Tuesday January 26, 2010 @04:04AM (#30901364)
    In hardware the PS3 supports SATA hard disks (making it easy & cheap to upgrade), bluetooth headsets & keyboards, USB keyboards, mice, storage, cameras & printers (although driver support for the latter is understandably limited), wifi 802.11b/g, 10/100/1000 ethernet, and some models also support SD/CF/MS flash cards. In software it features a web browser with Flash player, DLNA support, a CD ripper, DVD & BD player. Codec support includes jpeg, png, MP3, ATRAC3, AAC, DIVX (MPEG4 ASP), H264, MPEG2 over AVI, TS, M2TS, MP4 containers.

    Losing Linux support (or rather it not continuing in new models) is a severe blow but it's still the most open system. I do wish that they would reinstate support and open it up more. It's in Sony's interests to split the homebrewers and pirates into two distinct camps. I don't even know why they're so strict about access to the GPU since no matter how much they open it up it will still remain a niche.

Thus spake the master programmer: "Time for you to leave." -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"