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PS3 Hacked via USB Dongle

CmdrTaco posted more than 3 years ago | from the dongle-this dept.

PlayStation (Games) 337

dlove67 writes "PSX-scene.com reports that the first PS3 modchip has been tested and confirmed to be working. Running off of a USB dongle, it appears to be relatively user friendly and claims to not void your warranty. Online gameplay works (at least for the time being). It's been a long time coming; cheers to the PS Jailbreak Guys." The video is attached below if you're curious. Can't help but point out that this wouldn't have happened if Sony hadn't decided to yank the Boot Other OS option.

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337 comments

First (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33301096)

Dongle = dildogle!
 
What a gay sounding word. Been around forever, but who came up with it?

who submitted this, Lorena Bobbit? (2, Funny)

Thud457 (234763) | more than 3 years ago | (#33301744)

I'm very uncomfortable with the words " hacked " and " dongle " in the same headline.

What does this mean for cheats/aimbots? (4, Interesting)

dave562 (969951) | more than 3 years ago | (#33301120)

The whole reason I bought a PS3 was because it was a closed platform, and because it was a closed platform, it was harder to hack the games. I like playing FPS games and they are absolutely ruined as soon as you have to deal with wallhacks and aimbots. Will this new hack open the door to programs like that?

Re:What does this mean for cheats/aimbots? (2, Informative)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#33301168)

Sony over did it, people wouldn't have been anywhere near as interested in cracking it if they hadn't vastly overstepped there rights. I can understand locking down multiplayer games, but locking down single player games so that you can't do those homebrew was just asinine. And there's no reason why they had to do it, I'm sure they could've just kept homebrew off certain servers. I probably wouldn't have bought mine had I realized that they'd taken out so many of the PS3 components to make money without properly stating it on the box.

Re:What does this mean for cheats/aimbots? (1, Insightful)

abigsmurf (919188) | more than 3 years ago | (#33301326)

So... people weren't interested in cracking the PS3 when news hit on just about every gaming website that someone had got a 'hello world' working on the console? Lots of people got really excited about that, even though it was only a minor achievement and even then, it was probably faked.

It's the good old "any justification I can grasp at for piracy".

Re:What does this mean for cheats/aimbots? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33301392)

It's the good old 'consumer fighting back to use hardware they bought however they want and not how Sony tells them'.

Re:What does this mean for cheats/aimbots? (-1, Troll)

tophermeyer (1573841) | more than 3 years ago | (#33301730)

The consumer still has the right to use their hardware any way they want. They still have the right to open up their PS3 (both the soft and hard ware) and do anything they want with it. If they want to continue connecting to Sony's network and using Sony's services then they must agree to certain limitations on that use. Nothing wrong with that.

Did you still want to keep Other OS? You had the option to decline their update. Sony didn't send killbots to your house to force you to update.

Re:What does this mean for cheats/aimbots? (5, Insightful)

Eponymous Coward (6097) | more than 3 years ago | (#33301860)

Did you still want to keep Other OS? You had the option to decline their update.

The problem is that by declining the update, you were effectively locked out of online game play, including for games you already owned. So, they didn't send killbots to your house, but they did force you to chose other OS xor games. For those that bought the console because it could do both, this really sucks.

Re:What does this mean for cheats/aimbots? (1)

flerchin (179012) | more than 3 years ago | (#33301948)

One day, in the not so distant past, I had a PS3 that has Other OS and could play games online.

Then, Sony made me choose. This made me sad, because I liked them both. Today's news made me sadder, because it seems the reason that I had to choose, was moot.

I chose. It still sucked.

Re:What does this mean for cheats/aimbots? (2, Interesting)

dimeorj (1385357) | more than 3 years ago | (#33301952)

How about when I bought Red Dead Redemption, only to find out that I had to "upgrade" my firmware in order to play that? Did Sony have a right to do that? I know the answer is yes. But it still leaves a bad taset in my mouth, and it's gonna make it harder to justify Sony purchases in the future because of that.

Re:What does this mean for cheats/aimbots? (4, Insightful)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#33301200)

The whole reason I bought a PS3 was because it was a closed platform

Which is one of the reasons why I did not. Closed platforms tend not to get indie games or legitimate mods. If Half-Life were for a closed platform, for instance, there wouldn't have been a Counter-Strike.

Re:What does this mean for cheats/aimbots? (0, Offtopic)

IamTheRealMike (537420) | more than 3 years ago | (#33301364)

You realize the xbox 360 has a thriving indie game scene, right? Without any firmware hacks?

Re:What does this mean for cheats/aimbots? (3, Informative)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#33301456)

You realize the xbox 360 has a thriving indie game scene, right?

I am aware of Indie Games. However, I am also aware of these four issues:

  • The article is about the PLAYSTATION 3, not the Xbox 360. Since Sony shut off Other OS in a PS3 firmware update, it has nothing even remotely like XNA Creators Club.
  • For another, does this include mods to existing games, or is it only for games made from scratch?
  • Xbox 360 indie games are not available in all countries.
  • XNA, the toolkit used for Xbox 360 indie games, has limitations that I've written about elsewhere [pineight.com].

What's the advantage of a console over a PC for people who develop or play indie games?

Re:What does this mean for cheats/aimbots? (1)

Kaboom13 (235759) | more than 3 years ago | (#33301522)

The 360 has been hacked for a long time, and has a thriving homebrew scene. I currently have a completely redone dashboard (that replaces the MS one) and a ton of arcade and console emulators on mine. Previous to the current hack (that allows unsigned code execution) their was a hack for the DVD-Rom firmware that allowed you to play with burned disks.

Re:What does this mean for cheats/aimbots? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33301954)

While that may be true, the hole has been patched for as long as the console has been hacked; if I recall, the hack came out after the update to fix the hole.

As it is, MS has succeeded in closing the Xbox to homebrew and allowing pirates to keep on going.

Re:What does this mean for cheats/aimbots? (1)

Jiro (131519) | more than 3 years ago | (#33301988)

Where can I find information about such 360 hacking? Even just to play import games (I know that some will play anyway but not all) Googling shows basically nothing except some references to a hack that worked for a single month in 2006, and a later hardware hack that has no information about anything except the hack itself.

Re:What does this mean for cheats/aimbots? (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 3 years ago | (#33301648)

I'd hardly describe it as "thriving". I'd say the Xbox360 has an indie game scene, that pales in comparison to Microsofts PC indie game scene.

Re:What does this mean for cheats/aimbots? (1)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | more than 3 years ago | (#33301696)

It's in this area that the ps3 is more open. UT3 for ps3 supports mods. Portal 2 will talk to steam. It's only on the xbox where you see absolute control freak nightmares go on.

Re:What does this mean for cheats/aimbots? (1)

The MAZZTer (911996) | more than 3 years ago | (#33301204)

Depends how well the games are coded. PC games tend to plan for cheaters from the beginning since it's an open platform. Consoles might not because the closed nature means less hackers, but they really should... ports of PC games should in theory work better (but I hear TF2 doesn't hold up that well on the 360).

Re:What does this mean for cheats/aimbots? (2, Informative)

mlts (1038732) | more than 3 years ago | (#33301220)

This is the exact reason that I refused to buy a PS3. When the "Other OS" option was not just removed from the Slims, but removed from existing machines as a mandatory upgrade, that made the platform a no-go.

You don't need a closed platform to deal with wallhackers and aimbots. Steam runs on a ton of PCs, and VAC catches and bans forever a crapload of people daily who attempt to try this stuff. Similar with WoW. Blizzard's Warden has evolved to a point where only the gold farmers who have hundreds of thousands of accounts [1] are continuously doing hacks, and that is because account loss for them is no consideration.

[1]: A lot of gold sellers get the accounts when suckers buy gold and pay with a credit card. Then they hand the CC# and info to another organization who just charges the credit card 5-10 times and create a bunch of paid accounts. Since they are offshore, PCI-DSS is not an issue, nor if there is ever a link found, there would be any criminal penalties applied.

Re:What does this mean for cheats/aimbots? (1)

Mad-Mage1 (235582) | more than 3 years ago | (#33301264)

Since they are offshore, PCI-DSS is not an issue, nor if there is ever a link found, there would be any criminal penalties applied.

PCI regulations are not a national framework. Just because they are offshore doesn't mean they do not have to "theoretically" comply. Now, if they don't care about breaking the law and/or regulatory frameworks, that is a different story.

Re:What does this mean for cheats/aimbots? (2, Insightful)

mlts (1038732) | more than 3 years ago | (#33301486)

Exactly what I mean. If an offshore gold seller hands their credit card information to another group who creates accounts on a MMO for blackhat reasons, the gold seller doesn't have to worry about violating such guidelines. Even if they are caught, if they are in a country that isn't on buddy-buddy terms with the West, the seller likely will face zero consequences.

Re:What does this mean for cheats/aimbots? (1)

tophermeyer (1573841) | more than 3 years ago | (#33301878)

removed from existing machines as a mandatory upgrade, that made the platform a no-go.

It wasn't mandatory. It was definitely coerced, but owners did have a choice.

Re:What does this mean for cheats/aimbots? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33301224)

Who on earth bothers to hack a console FPS? It's like using performance-enhancing drugs at a child's sports day.

Re:What does this mean for cheats/aimbots? (1)

guruevi (827432) | more than 3 years ago | (#33301236)

Yes, Security through Obscurity hasn't been a good strategy for decades now. As the poster points out, this wouldn't have happened if they wouldn't have killed the OS boot option - the only reason these machines get hacked is because people want to run other stuff on there as well (whether or not that's a good idea). The bootleggers and modchip makers only take what's readily available on the market and commercialize it - the margins are razor thin and risks vs. reward are high, they don't have the money to spend or the talent available to hack it themselves.

Re:What does this mean for cheats/aimbots? (2, Interesting)

IamTheRealMike (537420) | more than 3 years ago | (#33301314)

That's a pretty big assumption. Firstly the dongle thing is clearly intended for piracy, it comes complete with "backup functionality", a GUI for that etc. I don't see any mention of booting Linux anywhere. Secondly whatever strategy Sony used, it clearly worked - PS3 is more than half way through its probably lifetime and has never been usefully hacked before. Time will tell if they can figure out how it was done and renew the protection - or not.

Re:What does this mean for cheats/aimbots? (1)

Pikoro (844299) | more than 3 years ago | (#33301588)

Hey there , you might want to note that the backup option works for people who want to .. say... back up their current games? It's not an ISO loader, it will allow you to copy games to the hard drive and run them. If you have the disc, you most likely own it. Worst case, you borrowed it from a friend which puts you back on par with a guy who borrows a DVD from his friend an watches it on his player in his house instead of yours.

Re:What does this mean for cheats/aimbots? (1)

WhitetailKitten (866108) | more than 3 years ago | (#33301912)

Worst case, you borrowed it from a friend which puts you back on par with a guy who borrows a DVD from his friend and rips it to the hard drive in his house instead of yours.

I'm on the side of legal homebrew, but FTFY. Your metaphor did not balance both sides of the equation.

Re:What does this mean for cheats/aimbots? (4, Insightful)

cgenman (325138) | more than 3 years ago | (#33301928)

What? I'm failing to see how some of this is Security through Obscurity. There was a security hole in the other OS that they couldn't think of a way of patching without removing the core functionality, so they removed it. That makes sense from a security standpoint.

They're going through security through security. They patch holes, make improvements, and get better at this whole thing. The PS1 was hackable in 1 wire. The PS2 required an additional circuit board for a mod chip. The PS3 isn't pragmatically hackable in that way, because they improved their security. Now someone found a hole in the USB stack. This will probably be patched too.

When you say security through obscurity, you usually mean "nobody is going to type in 'website.com/passwords' into the server!" The way you're using it, it makes it sound like any DRM even on a closed platform is doomed. And while that is possible, the pragmatic advantages of avoiding PS1-levels of piracy mean that the program has basically been a success.

Re:What does this mean for cheats/aimbots? (1)

WhitetailKitten (866108) | more than 3 years ago | (#33301496)

Any exploit that allows you to do something not ordinarily allowed under a game console's security model is a potential avenue to performance hacks like aimbots and speed hacks. Note: Potential. It's possible to code games to have the server reject malformed or abnormal input from the client to freeze out such hacks, but I know literally nothing about the PS3's local security and sandboxing model, nor anything about how the server code is implemented on Sony's side, so I'll defer to people actually in the scene for a specific answer to your question.

Regarding dealing with hackers, I only play FPSs that allow dedicated player-owned servers, and then find community/clan servers with strict anti-hacking policies (including, where available, server modules and such). The server I play the most on in my FPS of choice fosters a strong community, and part of that includes harsh penalties (i.e., permabans) for hacking if a demo can prove it as well as bigoted language (calling someone a faggot or the n-word is a good way to find yourself back at the game's main menu with a friendly dialog box informing you that you've been shown the door). It isn't perfect, but such a community wouldn't be possible in the Modern Warfare 2 style of matchmaking-only online play.

Re:What does this mean for cheats/aimbots? (1)

cgenman (325138) | more than 3 years ago | (#33301742)

I'm not convinced all of those people are wallhacking and aimbotting. I've seen some ridiculous playing in-person... People able to see your rate of speed, where you're likely to go, and able to lob a grenade over a wall into your head. There have definitely been people that I would have sworn were botting, but in fact were just wasting their lives.

I feel like FPS games get ruined once people get good enough to just dominate the competition. That's harder to do on consoles due to aiming with the sticks and a generally hightened awareness of newbie friendly gameplay.

As for wallhacks and aimbots: it's possible, but less likely. Consoles are not as easily abstracted or modified as PCs. Running unsigned code is one thing. Decompiling a game compiled for as strange an architecture as the cell, changing certain values, and rebuilding successfully is quite difficult. Doing that in a way that is undetectable when connecting to the network is very, very hard. It's that last step which has foiled people time and time again.

Tag article slashvertisement (4, Insightful)

TrisexualPuppy (976893) | more than 3 years ago | (#33301146)

The forum link is broken. The video does not say anything about how they did it or how it works. It's merely a suggestion that the product does work and then is a link to where to buy it.

Nothing to see here.

Re:Tag article slashvertisement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33301308)

It's hard to tell, the main page for that website indicates they have been slashdotted... We can't exactly check for proof or disprove it while the page is down :p

Re:Tag article slashvertisement (4, Insightful)

Mad Leper (670146) | more than 3 years ago | (#33301340)

Yeah, this is quite obviously a fake. For a PS3 hack to suddenly appear out of nowhere and a rumored $170 fee for the USB stick just stinks of rip-off.

The PS3 has resisted cracking for over three years, even the great Geohot tried and failed to even make a dent. The fact that it's been impossible to play cracked games on the PS3 has worked the pirate community into such a tizzy that it's likely we'll see more scams like this in the future.

Re:Tag article slashvertisement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33301430)

Are you dim? The front page says the forum is struggling to cope with the massive load it's been under for the last day, and that was before it made /. front page and other "news" sites.

go you youtube and look at ozmodchips.com's channel, they have 3 vids up. Which you can make your own mind up whether they're fake scammers or for real. They've been around commercially for a long time, so they actually have credibility, but that doesn't mean anything if they can make a fast buck and leg it.

Re:Tag article slashvertisement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33301500)

Are YOU dim? Did they just let you out of the group home?
 
It's OBVIOUS that they have been slashdotted, but whoever submitted this didn't bother putting in any relevant information. He could have at least made a couple of links and a brief description of how they hacked it. Get a grip on reality, stupid bloke.

What has this to do with sony yanking linux? (1, Interesting)

Superken7 (893292) | more than 3 years ago | (#33301154)

Can't help but point out that this wouldn't have happened if Sony hadn't decided to yank the Boot Other OS option.

why? Can somebody please explain? the linked site seems down so maybe that's what I'm missing.

Re:What has this to do with sony yanking linux? (3, Funny)

netsavior (627338) | more than 3 years ago | (#33301212)

Can't help but point out that this wouldn't have happened if Sony hadn't decided to yank the Boot Other OS option.

why? Can somebody please explain? the linked site seems down so maybe that's what I'm missing.

because nobody uses mod-chips to pirate games, they only use them to boot linux and run homebrew, since computers are so expensive and PS3s are so cheap, this is the only option that some people have. There aren't many pieces of consumer electronics that can run linux, you know.

Re:What has this to do with sony yanking linux? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33301288)

Can't help but point out that this wouldn't have happened if Sony hadn't decided to yank the Boot Other OS option.

why? Can somebody please explain? the linked site seems down so maybe that's what I'm missing.

because nobody uses mod-chips to pirate games, they only use them to boot linux and run homebrew, since computers are so expensive and PS3s are so cheap, this is the only option that some people have. There aren't many pieces of consumer electronics that can run linux, you know.

Most of the pirates don't have the technical abilities to hack a console. The people who do have the technical ability and inclination to hack a console, won't bother if they can tinker with it themselves without bypassing the security, which OtherOS allowed them to do. By removing OtherOS, they were basically asking the people with the skills, ability and inclination to bypass their security so that they could put another OS back on.

The initial heavy lifting to hack the original XBox, 360 and Wii were done by people trying to put Linux on them.

Re:What has this to do with sony yanking linux? (5, Interesting)

WhitetailKitten (866108) | more than 3 years ago | (#33301848)

The initial heavy lifting to hack the original XBox, 360 and Wii were done by people trying to put Linux on them.

I'm going to back up AC on this one, at least with respect to the Wii. Team Twiizers [wiibrew.org], the team of hackers (as in, tinkering, not cheaters) have released multiple tools to not only allow and facilitate non-pirate homebrew software to run, they also actually have made efforts to fix critical flaws in Nintendo's design of the Wii. This includes ways to recover a bricked console, which came into play when Nintendo's own official system updates (designed to block homebrew and piracy indiscriminately) were sloppy to the point of being capable of bricking unmodified Wiis.

Team Twiizers also go out of their way to specifically discourage and hamper piracy, including making their software run upside-down on-screen if you've hacked your Wii so much that you must be using it for piracy. They really want to avoid large-scale piracy, because it'll just give Nintendo the incentive to try and lock the Wii back down, depriving everyone of the non-piracy uses for homebrew. They'll happily help with installing Linux on your Wii, and there are guides for using it as a media center, a ScummVM host, and even a VNC client. You can also emulate pretty much every game console in history up to the PS1, as well as MAME, but finding roms (and whatever trouble that might cause) is up to you. However, they make it clear that discussions of piracy are unwelcome.

Re:What has this to do with sony yanking linux? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33301382)

LOL, LIES!

The only thing people do with mod chips is pirate games otherwise the market for these things would be tiny, like in the dozens.

FACT: 100 listings a day are put on eBay to sell XBOX's with "1000s of burned games", and NDS with free games, they rarely last an hour before eBay kills the listings.

Re:What has this to do with sony yanking linux? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33301432)

Wooosh...

Re:What has this to do with sony yanking linux? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33301566)

Watch the video, it's from an aussie, he even plugs the website in the video ozmodchips.com . Aussies are very into the pirate scene. Can you blame them when they can't get 18+ games. LOL.

Re:What has this to do with sony yanking linux? (2, Insightful)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 3 years ago | (#33301756)

Yeah, and every day many crimes are done with guns, which clearly proves that guns only exist in order to enable crime. Obviously the inventor of the gun was a criminal. Right?

Of course, as soon as the mod chip exists, pirates will use it. And it may well be that they outnumber the other users. But that doesn't tell you the slightest bit about the motivation of the person who originally created the mod chip.

Re:What has this to do with sony yanking linux? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#33301622)

since computers are so expensive and PS3s are so cheap

I understand your post to be sarcastic. But a PC with a gaming video card that can display on both an HDTV and the SDTV that one already owns isn't cheap. It's especially not cheap if you try to buy a "home theater PC" that comes in a high-wife-acceptance-factor case so that it will fit next to a TV.

Re:What has this to do with sony yanking linux? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33301876)

Just put together a replacement PVR box with all that you describe, with the exception of a blu-ray player - $350. Now, I really don't care about the case - because you really don't need to see the box. Hidden out of sight, the only thing my wife worries about is where the remote is.

That may not be as cheap as a PS3 now - but either way.... meh.

Re:What has this to do with sony yanking linux? (5, Informative)

Mad-Mage1 (235582) | more than 3 years ago | (#33301222)

the recent push to "crack" the PS3 OS was due to the removal of that function, which Sony did to try to prevent the cracking of their OS. Oh, the circular eddies of irony that feed our world :D

Re:What has this to do with sony yanking linux? (2, Interesting)

Superken7 (893292) | more than 3 years ago | (#33301402)

OK, that might very well be so, and it would make sense. The irony would just be unbearable. At least we can laugh at sony now.

Although this "news" does not even mention if booting linux is possible at this point, this just highlights how it is possible to pirate games - which is somewhat confusing.
Of course if they can boot games its possible they have enough control that they can boot other OS... but no details are mentioned.

Re:What has this to do with sony yanking linux? (4, Insightful)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#33301666)

Yeah I found it rather sad when he was like "now this is what you've all been waiting for!", I thought he was going to load Other OS - but instead he demonstrates that you can now pirate games.. what an asshole..

Re:What has this to do with sony yanking linux? (1, Informative)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 3 years ago | (#33301564)

The recent addition of all six PS3 Linux users to the effort probably had no effect.

Image for a second a peice of paper, there are two overlapping circles on it. One represents the people who want to run Linux on the PS3 and are trying to hax0r it. This circle is about the size of a quarter.

The other circle is for the people who want to pirate games and cheat. The diameter of this circle is roughly 50 meters.

Running Linux now is nothing more than a side effect. Removing the Other OS option didn't 'push' much because that majority of the actual effort was there before the OtherOS option disappeared.

If this was for Linux, 'backup functionality' wouldn't be one of the first features on the thing.

You guys really need to get some perspective and soda. You REALLY need to realize that not everyone drools over Linux the same way you guys do, there are in fact people in the world who do this for practical reasons. Not just so the can have a white on black text console on their TV screen which their uneducated friends find impressive.

Re:What has this to do with sony yanking linux? (4, Insightful)

kg8484 (1755554) | more than 3 years ago | (#33301944)

I think you are missing the point of the argument that others are making. Let's take your two circles. The first is the size of a quarter and represents users that want to run Linux, and the second circle is the number of people who want to pirate games and that is 50 meters in diameter. However, you will find that not everyone in either circle has the technical proficiency to actually do the hacking, but the average technical aptitude of people in the Linux circle is far greater than the mean aptitude in the piracy circle. The real comparison needs to be between the people who want to run Linux, have the technical ability to do the hacking and are willing to invest the time to do it versus to the people whose motivation is piracy. The argument that is made is that the Linux circle now shrinks to the size of a dime, whereas you would need a microscope to see the piracy circle.

Re:What has this to do with sony yanking linux? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33301240)

Sounds like Linux hackers have nothing better to do with their time.

Re:What has this to do with sony yanking linux? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33301574)

This is the most lame excuse of trolling I've seen in a long time.

Re:What has this to do with sony yanking linux? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33301276)

simple, before they yanked that option you could make your own software (yea very limited but you could do it), they decided to be little pricks about it, piss everyone off and remove that option, people still wanted to use their own software and so they broke the console, before no one was messing with it (nearly 5 years now?)

now if the ps2 and psp were not proof enough that sony's security is a total fucking joke here is a usb dongle that is a modchip

Re:What has this to do with sony yanking linux? (5, Informative)

Mooga (789849) | more than 3 years ago | (#33301282)

Sony claimed that they removed the Boot Other OS options to prevent this type of hacking.

Sony sabotaged Other OS without excuse (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33301562)

They didn't even claim the Other OS removal was to prevent this - that was conjecture. Meanwhile I'm STILL being attacked by Sony for wanting to use the functionality the machine was sold for, and this (quite expensive) disc boot feature does NOT cover Other OS. The next iteration of game masters is bound to demand an upgrade to a version of the firmware that kills this option, too. PS3 has been transformed to the "can't play its own games" brand.
Backup capability is nice, and PS machines have a history of optical drives breaking, but mine still work. Thus I don't need this mod. I'll consider it if it can be demonstrated to run Other OS, but even then a way to protect against future SCE sabotage is needed.

Re:What has this to do with sony yanking linux? (5, Insightful)

Trevelyan (535381) | more than 3 years ago | (#33301454)

Homebrew scene != Pirate scene

The homebrew guys are generally more motivated and talented then the pirates. Almost all console hacks come from the homebrew guys so that they can run their own stuff (and linux).

The pirates tend to take homebrew code and use it to run pirated games.

The entire time that PS2 had the "Other OS" option it was not cracked, because the homebrew community could already run their stuff. Compare that to XBOX and WII both of which have been broken a long time ago. As soon as Sony closed off the homebrew community, the inevitable would happen.

Of course its not so black and white, there is overlap between homebrew and pirates, but not as much as you might assume. Take a look at TeamTwizzers long campaign against pirates from using their code. They even tried in the beginning to have a dialogue with Nintendo about ways to support homebrew and keep the pirates out.

Going back to PS2; even with the "Other OS" option the advanced graphic features were locked, so homebrew games could never take full advantage of the hardware (neither could Other OS be used for pirate games). Some months ago a way was found for full hardware access, and not long after that Sony reacted by removing the Other OS feature.

Re:What has this to do with sony yanking linux? (5, Insightful)

Superken7 (893292) | more than 3 years ago | (#33301608)

I know, thats why this story is surprising, because its exactly the opposite as what you just said.

Otherwise they would have at demoed booting linux at least.
Also, I have not read any text of the official release so I don't know if they mention any of this, but this might very well just be coincidence. Or maybe not..

Re:What has this to do with sony yanking linux? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33301672)

Except that the only reason that people by these mod chips is to play burned games. To claim this has anything to do with homebrew or being able to install Linux is naïveté to the highest degree.

Re:What has this to do with sony yanking linux? (1)

TejWC (758299) | more than 3 years ago | (#33301518)

It is because of the "order of operations" that is required for the pirates to run pirated games:

Step 1 is for a "hacker" to figure out how to run arbitrary code on the console.

Step 2 is for a "homebrewer" to figure out how to use information from step 1 to make the console run existing/ported applications (or their own application/game).

Step 3 is for a "pirate" to use information from step 2 to make the console play copied games.

The basic idea is that the "pirates" rely on the "hacker" to pirate games. Many people believe that the "hackers" and "homebrewers" were content with the "Other OS" option so they never bothered to try to bypass it which delayed the pirates. Now, with the "Other OS" option gone, the hackers took an alternate and illegal route (as this article implies, using a USB dongle) to run their arbitrary code and now it appears that PS3 has a piracy issue. People can speculate that if Sony kept the "Other OS" option, the "hackers" would never have gone this route and the "pirates" would have nothing to piggy-back on. People like Geohot believe this would happen eventually and the removal of "Other OS" simply catalyzed piracy. Personally, I believe if Sony kept the "Other OS" option, they would have gotten another 3 years before piracy, at which point they would have been looking into their next generation console anyway.

Re:What has this to do with sony yanking linux? (4, Interesting)

Superken7 (893292) | more than 3 years ago | (#33301678)

I agree with all you have said but one thing: if it were the hackers who have enabled this hack they would have demoed booting OtherOS, downgrading or whatever.
But clearly it is the pirates here who have done the hack from start to finish. Unless they borrowed it from other "homebrew" guys who were keeping it in private..

Re:What has this to do with sony yanking linux? (5, Interesting)

marcansoft (727665) | more than 3 years ago | (#33301548)

The PS3 was secure through obscurity (besides any actual security present), much like the Wii was in its infancy (Wii drivechips notwithstanding, those are a whole different ballgame). Obscurity works a lot better than security for consoles, because they are big, complex systems that inevitably have holes. Obscurity is useful up until the first hack is published, which is when people finally get to poke at dumps of your software and expose your bugs. The more you can delay that from happening, the better. The Wii did a good job of this by encrypting and signing every piece of data on Wii game discs, for example. There were bugs, but nobody could figure them out without access to decrypted binaries.

We don't know if someone involved in PS3 homebrew hacking had anything to do with this, but it's certain that whoever did this at the very least used techniques developed as a result of the Other OS remioval during development. Specifically, until the Other OS fiasco happened, there was no way to dump PS3 software and analyze it for exploits. Now there is.

Both the Wii and the PS3 obscurity-breaking hacks were almost identical: RAM glitching to escalate privileges from an unprivileged mode in order to access secure areas. The Twiizer Attack on the Wii glitched the RAM address lines in order to dump secure software and keys from insecure GameCube mode, and geohot's PS3 exploit used RAM glitching in order to make the hypervisor unwillingly give you read/write access to secure RAM while in insecure Other OS mode. When software is obscure, hardware is the only way to go. This Wii attack paved the way for Wii software exploits, and certainly this PS3 USB device is based upon exploits uncovered by dumping via the memory glitching exploits released earlier this year after Sony pulled Other OS.

So yes, Sony basically asked for this by pulling Other OS and angrying legitimate hackers who used Other OS, and now they got what they asked for. I'm just glad some piracy company did it first instead of repeating the story of the Wii where pirates piggyback on homebrew.

The one sad, sad thing is that this is called "PS3 jailbreak". Jailbreak is a very specific term that describes breaking out of a filesystem jail (e.g. on the iPhone), and it's being used on the PS3 purely for "brand recognition". This will just make people associate jailbreaks with piracy.

Re:What has this to do with sony yanking linux? (2, Insightful)

damien_kane (519267) | more than 3 years ago | (#33301550)

why? Can somebody please explain? the linked site seems down so maybe that's what I'm missing.

While one of my siblings states that "nobody uses mod-chips to pirate games", this isn't exactly true.
The first modders aren't doing it to pirate games. They simply want to write their own apps and run their own code on a different platform, or they want to fool around with the hardware and learn how it works, without having to pay 10s of thousands of dollars for development machines.

So, they build mods that allow running of unsigned code. This was true for the Wii, the 360, NDS, etc.
If there is a closed system, there exists somewhere in the world someone with the knowledge and will to break it, if for no other reason than to say they did.

Previously, with the ability to run linux natively on the PS3, these homebrew developers had the ability to code for a cell, and rather cheaply (at the cost of a PS3 and a keyboard). Granted, they didn't have access to the graphics capabilities, neither the hypervisor, but they could run anything they themselves coded for the cell architecture, without being hassled by Sony.

One person got close to breaking into the hypervisor through a bug that Sony either couldn't, or didn't want to spend time to, fix.
He did this so that he could develop homebrew applications that took advantage of the graphics capabilities, mostly. Pirating games wasn't his primary drive.
In response, Sony simply removed access to "Other OS" completely.

With no outlet to run their unsigned code, hackers have made a push to break the system so they can again do so with updated firmware.

As stated in another thread, the pirate community just waits until someone breaks the system (without any ill intent), and then duplicates that exploit (and in the case of a hardware mod, usually capitalizes on it).

Re:What has this to do with sony yanking linux? (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 3 years ago | (#33301980)

Can't help but point out that this wouldn't have happened if Sony hadn't decided to yank the Boot Other OS option. why? Can somebody please explain? the linked site seems down so maybe that's what I'm missing.

"I am altering the deal. Pray I don't alter it further." -Darth Vader, The Empire Strikes Back

The obvious fix from Sony... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33301182)

Sony will disable all USB ports on the PS3 in the next firmware update.

Re:The obvious fix from Sony... (1)

damien_kane (519267) | more than 3 years ago | (#33301582)

Sony will disable all USB ports on the PS3 in the next firmware update.

Disabling the USB ports would seriously piss off the rhythm game makers (Activition and RedOctane) and the third-party peripheral manufacturers. They don't want to do that.
No, instead they'll probably just disable any type of video output, to ensure that you're not playing pirated games.

Re:The obvious fix from Sony... (1)

Theoboley (1226542) | more than 3 years ago | (#33301858)

Which would, in turn, piss people off (namely myself) who use their ps3 as a media server with External HDDs attached for watching TV/Movies

Re:The obvious fix from Sony... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33301700)

No, first they'll manufacture PS3s with no USB ports for a year while vehemently denying plans to disable USB ports on older consoles.

not hard for sony to fix this.... (0)

metalmaster (1005171) | more than 3 years ago | (#33301226)

If im not mistaken, USB devices are configured with a hardware ID, so a firmware patch will come in no time that limits the recognized IDs to Sony peripherals and maybe a few consumer brand storage devices

Re:not hard for sony to fix this.... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33301322)

If you are creating your own USB device, you can easily set the hardware ID to whatever you want, or even let it be programmable (like in the FTDI chips).

Re:not hard for sony to fix this.... (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#33301656)

Forge someone else's hardware ID and lose your USB patent license.

Re:not hard for sony to fix this.... (1)

wbav (223901) | more than 3 years ago | (#33301798)

Forge someone else's hardware ID and lose your USB patent license.

Only if you're producing consumer items. I know of at least 1 microprocessor platform that allows users to easily set the vid/pid for development and testing. Buy the chip, program it, and you're good to go.

Re:not hard for sony to fix this.... (1)

Maddog Batty (112434) | more than 3 years ago | (#33301332)

If they do (which will break lots of things), the dongle will just use a valid id - this it trivial - and the merry-go-round will continue.

Re:not hard for sony to fix this.... (1)

metalmaster (1005171) | more than 3 years ago | (#33301502)

we would eventually end up with the PS3 only allowing Sony peripherals. If it's done firmware side, the hackers will eventually find a way around it. A change in hardware might take a bit longer to figure out. I worked for a phone store a few years back, and some of our motorola models(with miniUSB jack) could only be charged using motorola brand chargers because of currency issues.

Re:not hard for sony to fix this.... (1)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 3 years ago | (#33301384)

And as the Palm Pre - iTunes syncing issue recently showed, devices can easily spoof the hardware id of another object.

Re:not hard for sony to fix this.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33301438)

Will not work long... too many users would complain that their devices stopped working. A blacklist wouldn't work either as the chip id could be "stolen" from a well known product or randomly generated...
That doesn't mean there is no other possibilities to prevent this kind of devices...

Re:not hard for sony to fix this.... (2, Informative)

RichiH (749257) | more than 3 years ago | (#33301498)

There is nothing that stops people from creating USB devices that can rewrite their own ID similar to how there is nothing to stop you from using a different MAC.

If that is the only line of defense, economic incentives for the crackers will make sure you can buy a v2 with "valid" Sony ID or simply a changeable one.

Does it run linux? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33301274)

Seriously. I don't give a rat's ass about unlicensed games, but run linux on the slim would be interesting.

Yeah, right (1, Insightful)

Mr_Silver (213637) | more than 3 years ago | (#33301338)

Can't help but point out that this wouldn't have happened if Sony hadn't decided to yank the Boot Other OS option.

If you really believe that this product is of absolutely no interest to people who want to run backups of games they have borrowed from 30,000 friends off the internet for an indefinite trial, then I have a bridge to sell you.

Re:Yeah, right (1)

RichiH (749257) | more than 3 years ago | (#33301534)

The point he was making is that a lot of hackers are not crackers. If there is no challenge to running Linux on something, why bother running it? If there _is_ a challenge, more people will be interested. Many of those with engineering backgrounds.

PS: I run Linux on my systems. The "why bother" refers to the fact that there is no "gain" by simply booting Linux on something that supports it, anyway.

How? (3, Interesting)

abigsmurf (919188) | more than 3 years ago | (#33301428)

Any idea what the nature of this exploit is?

I thought that pretty much everyone who's looked at the PS3 security has found it to be pretty ironclad. The hypervisor was supposed to be obscenely difficult to get around, even if you did find an exploit.

Re:How? (3, Informative)

lordgun (852080) | more than 3 years ago | (#33301468)

As seen in the psx-scene forums, it seems to turn the PS3 into a debug-mode.

Re:How? (1)

abigsmurf (919188) | more than 3 years ago | (#33301702)

If that's true that sucks. Pretty much ensures that all debug modes in future consoles will limit functionality to "wipe" and "only install one specific signed firmware" if they're included at all. Every console sent to be repaired will have their save games erased.

too bad it's a scam (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33301514)

with a real debug system.

hallelujah (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33301610)

this is great news. i hope it's real.. maybe now I can get some use out of that black box that's been collecting dust since my wife finished Final Faggotry XIII..

when FF came out and my wife had to have it, i bought a used 80gb fat ps3 instead of a slim specifically so that i could run linux on it.. and the day before it arrived at my house, sony announced the removal of OtherOS.. needless to say i was pissed off.. I HOPE YOU CHOKE ON A BAG OF 1000 DICKS, SONY.

If it sounds too good to be true... (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33301646)

  • A simple dongle that puts your PS3 into debug mode and allows you to play games off an external hard drive.
  • Costs very little
  • Doesn't void your warranty
  • Forum link is down
  • Advert in video for where to buy
  • Camera stays mostly on the TV, so we can't see if any other PS3s or equipment is involved...
  • Whilst others have struggled to hack the PS3, these guys have come out of nowhere with a full blown, working solution... one that you can immediately purchase!

Sony is going to freak out on this one (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 3 years ago | (#33301664)

They're even bigger control freaks than Apple (this is the studio that gave us the rootkit fiasco [wikipedia.org], after all). I suspect this will set off an arms race, with Sony going to some pretty crazy limits to stop hacks. Of course, they did start this arms race themselves by removing the "Other OS" option (and even earlier by using the hypervisor to gimp the PS3). They may come to really regret that decision.

That is a debug unit (5, Informative)

GrugVoth (822168) | more than 3 years ago | (#33301722)

I think most of you are missing the fact that this is running on a debug unit which already has the capability to run unsigned code and code off of hard drives with no restrictions. The USB dongle has nothing to do with that, until this can be show running on a non-debug unit this is very bogus.

$170 (2, Insightful)

bhunachchicken (834243) | more than 3 years ago | (#33301738)

... is the asking price of the dongle. They're taking pre-orders now, apparently. Take the money and run..?

Re:$170 (1)

bytestorm (1296659) | more than 3 years ago | (#33301862)

It's actually ~150 USD, and includes a 10% tax that out-of-country purchasers do not have to pay, however once you add shipping on, it'll probably be a bit more.

Wow (1)

ShooterNeo (555040) | more than 3 years ago | (#33301854)

What an amazing technical accomplishment. I can't help but be amazed at the skills of the hardware engineers and software developers who made this accomplishment possible.

SONY managed to build a platform that resisted being cracked for almost FOUR YEARS. AMAZING! Despite the fact that every ps3 game comes on a blu-ray disc that lots of hardware can read, and the fact that a ps3 must have in hardware all of the decryption keys in order to play a game, the platform has withstood 4 years of determined assaults. Has any other widely used DRM scheme that doesn't depend on remote servers lasted this long?

Plus, even now, the battle probably isn't over. I bet there's a few more tricks and DRM features that Sony can switch on for newly released games. It'll be an ongoing battle until the end of the console's lifespan. Four years is a vast gulf of time. Technically, it's already time to start thinking of the next generation of consoles...the next gen could be many times quicker if it were released today with the same manufacturing cost that the ps3 cost in 2006.

Is DRM futile? Depends on who you ask, I guess. I think these results show that DRM can work effectively if sufficient effort is put into it.

Which gives me the idea for a new DRM scheme...has anyone ever made a USB hardware dongle for a software license that has an internal CPU performing complex calculations needed for the host software to work properly? If enough of the software depended on this internal CPU, how could you crack it?

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