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Encryption PlayStation (Games) Security Sony Games

PS3 Encryption Keys Leaked 284

An anonymous reader writes "PS3 security has been compromised again. The holy grail of the PS3 security encryption keys — LV0 keys — have been found and leaked into the wild. For the homebrew community, this means deeper access into the PS3: the possibility of custom (or modified) firmware up to the most recent version, the possibility of bypassing PS3 hypervisor for installing GNU/Linux with full hardware access, dual firmware booting, homebrew advanced recovery (on the molds of Bootmii on Wii), and more. It might lead to more rampant piracy too, because the LV0 keys could facilitate the discovering of the newer games' encryption keys, ones that require newer firmware."
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PS3 Encryption Keys Leaked

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  • subject (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 23, 2012 @07:05PM (#41746323)

    "In non "nerd" speak: This leak only matters if your PS3 is already hacked. If you updated your PS3 with any official update released in the past 8 months (3.60 or higher), nothing has changed. No free games for you."

  • Re:subject (Score:5, Informative)

    by girlintraining ( 1395911 ) on Tuesday October 23, 2012 @07:18PM (#41746409)

    "In non "nerd" speak: This leak only matters if your PS3 is already hacked. If you updated your PS3 with any official update released in the past 8 months (3.60 or higher), nothing has changed. No free games for you."

    Not entirely accurate: There aren't any free games for you today. But within the next few months, you can be sure firmware will be available to give you free games forever. Start downloading now, non-nerd.

  • Re:subject (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 23, 2012 @07:19PM (#41746421)

    Is this true? I thought the LV0 keys would be able to decrypt any firmware that will be released in the future assuming they want backward compatibility with any hardware already produced.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 23, 2012 @07:24PM (#41746459)
  • Re:subject (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 23, 2012 @07:48PM (#41746599)

    LV0 keys encrypt LV0, the loader that loads all other loaders (no joking - So, in theory (if Sony doesn't manage to create a clever new way to secure the loaders), yes, you can manage to decrypt any newer firmware they release.

  • Re:subject (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 23, 2012 @08:46PM (#41746977)

    If they're asymmetric keys, like I would assume they are, this leak is even worse: It means either they have 'secure' systems on the 'insecure' network. Or they have a personnel leak at the 'highest' security level within the company.

    Because either way the LV0 signing key should be airgapped and have a short enough list of suspects to quickly root out who leaked it.

    If not then sony is just piled full of MBA pushing dumbasses now.

  • Re:subject (Score:5, Informative)

    by marcansoft ( 727665 ) <{moc.tfosnacram} {ta} {rotceh}> on Tuesday October 23, 2012 @09:04PM (#41747075) Homepage

    The first-stage bootloader is in ROM and has a per-console key which is effectively in tamper-resistant silicon. The second-stage bootloader (bootldr) is encrypted with the per-console key, but is not upgradable and is the same for all consoles (other than the encryption wrapper around it). This second-stage bootloader verifies lv0. Sony signed lv0 using the same broken process that they used for everything else, which leaks their private key. This means that the lv0 private key was doomed from the start, ever since we demonstrated the screwup at the Chaos Communication Congress two years ago.

    However, because lv0 is also encrypted, including its signature block, we need that decryption key (which is part of bootldr) before we can decrypt the signature and apply the algorithm to derive the private key. We did this for several later-stage loaders by using an exploit to dump them, and Geohot did it for metldr (the "second root" in the PS3's bizarre boot process) using a different exploit (we replicated this, although our exploit might be different). At the time, this was enough to break the security of all released firmware to date, since everything that mattered was rooted in metldr (which is bootldr's brother and is also decrypted by the per-console key). However, Sony took a last ditch effort after that hack and wrapped everything after metldr into lv0, effectively using the only security they had left (bootldr and lv0) to attempt to re-secure their platform.

    Bootldr suffers from the same exploit as metldr, so it was also doomed. However, because bootldr is designed to run from a cold boot, it cannot be loaded into a "sandboxed" SPU like metldr can from the comfort of OS-mode code execution (which we had via the USB lv2 exploit), so the exploit is harder to pull off because you don't have control over the rest of the software. For the exploit that we knew about, it would've required hardware assistance to repeatedly reboot the PS3 and some kind of flash emulator to set up the exploit with varying parameters each boot, and it probably would've taken several hours or days of automated attempts to hit the right combination (basically the exploit would work by executing random garbage as code, and hoping that it jumps to somewhere within a segment that we control - the probabilities are high enough that it would work out within a reasonable timeframe). We never bothered to do this after the whole lawsuit episode.

    Presumably, 18 months later, some other group has finally figured this out and either used our exploit and the hardware assistance, or some other equivalent trick/exploit, to dump bootldr. Once the lv0 decryption key is known, the signing private key can be computed (thanks to Sony's epic failure).

    The effect of this is essentially the same that the metldr key release had: all existing and future firmwares can be decrypted, except Sony no longer has the lv0 trick up their sleeve. What this means is that there is no way for Sony to wrap future firmware to hide it from anyone, because old PS3s must be able to use all future firmware (assuming Sony doesn't just decide to brick them all...), and those old PS3s now have no remaining seeds of security that aren't known. This means that all future firmwares and all future games are decryptable, and this time around they really can't do anything about it. By extension, this means that given the usual cat-and-mouse game of analyzing and patching firmware, every current user of vulnerable or hacked firmware should be able to maintain that state through all future updates, as all future firmwares can be decrypted and patched and resigned for old PS3s. From the homebrew side, it means that it should be possible to have hombrew/linux and current games at the same time. From the piracy side, it means that all future games can be pirated. Note that this doesn't mean that these things will be easy (Sony can obfuscate things to annoy people as much as their want), but from the fundamental security standpoint, Sony doesn't have any security leg to stand on

  • LV0 (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 23, 2012 @10:13PM (#41747595)

    LV0 []

    erk=CA7A24EC38BDB 45B98CCD7D363EA2A F0C326E65081E0630 CB9AB2D215865878A

    riv=F9205F46F6021697E6 70F13DFA726212

    pub=A8FD6DB24532D094EFA08 CB41C9A72287D905C6B27B 42BE4AB925AAF4AFFF 34D41EEB54DD128700D

    priv=001AD976FCDE 86F5B8FF3E63EF3A7 F94E861975BA3


  • Re:Why downgrade? (Score:5, Informative)

    by marcansoft ( 727665 ) <{moc.tfosnacram} {ta} {rotceh}> on Wednesday October 24, 2012 @12:40AM (#41748603) Homepage

    No. The keys are used for two purposes: chain of trust and chain of secrecy. The compromise of the keys fully compromises the secrecy of the PS3 platform permanently, as you can just follow the links down the chain (off-line, on a PC) and decrypt any past, current, or future firmware version. Current consoles must be able to use any future firmware update, and we now have access to 100% of the common key material of current PS3s, so it follows that any future firmware decryptable by current PS3s is also decryptable by anyone on a PC.

    However, the chain of trust can be re-established at any point along the line that can be updated. The chain of trust is safely rooted in hardware that is near impossible to modify (i.e. the CPU's ROM and eFuse key). The next link down the chain has been compromised (bootldr), and this link cannot be updated as it is specific to each console, so the chain of trust now has a permanent weak second link. However, the third link, lv0, can be updated as it is located in flash memory and signed using public key crypto. This allows Sony to secure the entire chain from there onwards. Unless you find a vulnerability in these updated links, you will not be able to attack them directly (applications, e.g. homebrew software, are verified much further down the chain). The only guaranteed way to break the chain is to attack the weak link directly, which means using a flash writer to overwrite lv0. Once you do so, the entire chain collapses (well, you still need to do some work to modify every subsequent link to turn off security, but that is easy). If you have old firmware, you have at least some other weak links that, when compromised, allow you direct access to break the bootldr link (replacing lv0), but if you run up to date firmware you're out of luck unless you can find a weakness or you use hardware.

    Old PS3s are now in the same boat as an old Wii, and in fact we can draw a direct comparison of the boot process. On an old Wii, boot0 (the on-die ROM) securely loads boot1 from flash, which is securely checked against an eFuse hash, and boot1 loads boot2 but insecurely checks its signature. On an old PS3, the Cell boot ROM securely loads bootldr from flash, which is securely decrypted and checked using an eFuse key, and then bootldr loads lv0 but checks its signature against a hardcoded public key whose private counterpart is now known. In both cases, the system can be persistently compromised if you can write to flash, or if you already have code execution in system context (which lets you write to flash). However, in both cases, you need to use some kind of high-level exploit to break into the firmware initially, particularly if you have up-to-date firmware. It just happens that this is trivial on the Wii because there is no game patch system and Nintendo seems to have stopped caring, while this is significantly harder on the PS3 because the system software has more security layers and there is a game patch system.

  • Re:subject (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 24, 2012 @12:48AM (#41748639)

    I know I should not feed the trolls but...

    If you circumvent the firmware, it's copyright violation.

    If you circumvent the firmware you are committing the offence of circumventing technological protection systems, not copyright violation.

    If you acquire any free games you haven't paid for and are supposed to, that is theft.

    Again false, if you have not taken any physical property, it is not theft, that is copyright violation. If you walked into a store and took a game disk, that is theft.

    Therefore, copyright violation where a free product is obtained illegally is in fact COPYRIGHT VIOLATION

  • Re:subject (Score:5, Informative)

    by marcansoft ( 727665 ) <{moc.tfosnacram} {ta} {rotceh}> on Wednesday October 24, 2012 @12:51AM (#41748659) Homepage

    The name is presumably wrong - they would be the bootldr keys, as the keyset is considered to "belong" to the entity that uses those keys to check and decrypt the next thing down the chain - just like the metldr keys are the keys metldr uses to decrypt and verify other *ldrs, the bootldr keys are the keys bootldr uses to decrypt and verify lv0.

    Anyway, you're confusing secrecy with trust. These keys let you decrypt any future firmware; as you say, if they were to "fix" that, that would mean new updates would not work on older machines. However, decrypting firmware doesn't imply that you can run homebrew or anything else. It just means you can see the firmware, not actually exploit it if you're running it.

    The only trust that is broken by this keyset (assuming they are the bootldr keys) is the trust in lv0, the first upgradable component in the boot process (and both it and bootldr are definitely software, not hardware, but bootldr is not upgradable/replaceable so this cannot be fixed). This means that you can use them to sign lv0. Period. Nothing more, nothing less. The only things that these keys let you modify is lv0. In order to modify anything else, you have to modify everything between it and lv0 first. This means that these keys are only useful if you have write access to lv0, which means a hardware flasher, or an already exploited console, or a system exploit that lets you do so.

  • Re:subject (Score:5, Informative)

    by marcansoft ( 727665 ) <{moc.tfosnacram} {ta} {rotceh}> on Wednesday October 24, 2012 @01:04AM (#41748707) Homepage

    Nevermind, I just checked. They are indeed the bootldr keys (I was able to decrypt an lv0 with them). Consider this confirmation that the story is not fake.

  • by shentino ( 1139071 ) <> on Wednesday October 24, 2012 @05:30AM (#41749859)

    It pisses me off how many Sony fanboys cheered when OtherOS was revoked, and said that the hackers using it were such a small portion of the market that they deserved to get fucked over anyway.

    Whatever happened to truth in advertising? When did it become ok to assrape one part of the market to protect another?

    The bottom line is that the people who bought the PS3 for OtherOS were retroactively mislead and someone thought so enough that Sony wound up getting sued in 5 different class action lawsuits over it.

    People actually blame hackers for piracy, when it's actually pirates being opportunistic thieves taking advantage of the hacker. Pirates "steal" effort from hackers by subverting hacker work for their own ends just like they "steal" from content creators.

    The argument that promises were broken fall on deaf ears because most people think that Sony was cool to flip the bird at OtherOS users, simply because hackers are scum that deserve to be cheated anyway.

  • Re:subject (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 24, 2012 @04:14PM (#41756509)

    ..And incapable of handling larger, open-world RPGs like Skyrim and Fallout: New Vegas because they cheaped out on the RAM. Tsk tsk.

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