back to article Once impenetrable PS3 cracked wide open

The first hacker to successfully jailbreak the iPhone says he has pulled off yet another modding marvel, this time penetrating the previously impervious PlayStation 3 gaming console. The hack by 20-year-old George Hotz, aka geohot, is significant because the PS3 was the only game console that hadn't been hacked, despite being …


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  1. IndianaJ

    In a nutshell

    He broke his PS3 and isn't going to tell anyone how he did it.

  2. Ned Fowden

    @ the nerd/geek critics

    if not for people like this, technological advances would be even more repressed than they already are.

    don't forget that it's nerds & geeks that gave you the technology to be able to come here and comment in the first place.

    there may well be better things to waste time on, my suggestion is you go do them instead of irrelevantly criticising posts here

    1. Josh 15
      Thumb Up


      I have to agree. I have no technical knowledge, no programming skills and absolutely no interest in bricking any of my games consoles, but I'm fascinated that some individuals have the time and the skill to dedicate to these technical challenges. I can appreciate that on a purely personal level managing to gain entry to a closed system must be quite satisfying, whatever the intention.

      Kids like these should be snapped up by tech companies - I wish I'd been half as clever.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Down

      All geeks

      have dandruff and spell of cat piss

      1. I didn't do IT.

        @AC: All geeks

        Really? Would that be in the liquidy, yellow-ish font, then?

  3. Satan P Coolsborough

    hack found for the PS3

    good job no one owns one then.

  4. Joe K

    What moron wrote this story?

    Its obvious from Geohots blog posts, at least, that this "hack" doesn't do shit.

    He hasn't run a scrap of unsigned code, and the hardware level key vault in the SPE is still locked down tight.

    He may have breached the grounds, but the house safe is still inpenetrable.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Joe K

      That's what my girlfriend keeps telling her mates about me.

    2. JBH

      I got one free with a new phone!

      It sits next to my 360 and only gets used as a Blu-Ray player! ;)

  5. JBH

    This reminds me of the good old days...

    ...when they said that the PSP couldn't be hacked or downgraded to a more 'friendly' version of the firmware.

    I bought my original PSP the day after release, and included in the box was an update disc. Great I thought... updates are always a good thing right? Excitedly upgraded to firmware 2.1 like an idiot... and BAM! No homebrew for me! D'oh! And no way to downgrade...

    I checked the forums often, knowing that someone would come up with a solution eventually. Sure enough, some bright spark discovered a flaw in the .tiff decoding library. All it did was crash the PSP, but it opened up the memory and it was a start.

    Lots of people presented fake downgraders, and many claimed it was impossible. But then... it happened. Someone came up with a working downgrader, using the above flaw. I was overjoyed to 'fix' my PSP and be able to run homebrew at last.

    Since then the PSP hacking scene has gone from strength to strength. Those hackers / nerds / geeks / whatever you want to call them, truly own the PSP and there's naff all Sony can do about it. I'm not suprised they felt the need to stir things up with the miserable abortion that is the PSP-Go!

    The point of this long, rambling tale is that from little acorns, mighty oaks grow. This guy may or may not have fully owned the PS3, but it's an interesting development and it's a start. People will learn from this and exciting things will happen, mark my words.

    In short, this is very very good news whatever he's done.

    1. Highlander

      PSP hacking? Really? Are you sure?

      PSP-3000 still has no permanent CFW because no one has found a way to make custom code of any kind persist through a cold boot. The PSP-Go similarly is unhacked, and I don't think that there is even an exploit on that yet since the exploit on the PSP-3000 depends on a specific game UMD.

      As for this 'hack' of the PS3, it's NOT a hack, it's an otherOS exploit. Nothing more. HV access from otherOS is nice if you want to run a different version of LInux, but his method involves modifying the motherboard on a specific PS3 model, and connecting a device to allow a memory glitch. This is the most basic 'hack' you can do, forcing a memory glitch to open a crack in the HV. But, the HV is subject to the whim of the PS3's security subsystem. The HV isn't the master in that relationship, the security subsystem is. It runs securely inside the Cell using encryption keys and hardware that are held within the Cell. The best this hack can do is force the SPE running the security subsystem to reset. This doesn't breach the security however, all it does is temporarily stop it. As soon as anything in the system has to use a secured resource, an SPE will be allocated and encrypted code loaded into the SPE where it is decrypted and executed in private.

      As an analogy, let's say that the PS3 is a ship, a cargo vessel. You command the ship from the bridge. All instructions for speed, course correction and other functions of the ship come from the bridge. To prevent hijack, the command and control system now requires that all orders are confirmed using a passcode that is generated using an encryption key that only the captain knows.

      Now, a group of Somali pirates attack and board the ship. Immediately the captain and the other men retreat to a safe room in the bowels of this ship. The safe room is impenetrable, and self contained, the captain and crew can remain safe indefinitely.

      The pirates take the bridge and set about making the ship do as they want. Immediately they realize that the command system requires a code that they don't have, so they send some guys to the engine room to control things manually. However they find that every time they try to do something there, the integrated command and control system requests a code from the captain - which they don't have and so the system refuses to comply. No amount of effort will get the pirates into the safe room, so they cannot get the codes. In the end in their frustration, they use explosives to try to get into the safe room, causing it to jettison from the ship. The captain and crew safe and sound are later rescued by the navy.

      Frustrated by this, the Pirates physically disconnect the command and control systems in the engine room, and eventually they gain rudimentary control of the ship. Basic rudder and speed are controlled by them. However nothing else on the ship works for them because the command and control system is no longer working. The ship no longer transmits the correct friend or foe signals, radar is down, navigation is down, communications are down, the lights are off, there is no control over the deck gear. Eventually the pirates could improvise and replace some of this equipment with their own, but no one will ever believe that the ship is the same ship it was.

      This is all that GeoHot has done to the PS3.

  6. John Sanders
    Thumb Up

    The PS3 cracking saga is far from over...

    But one thing is for sure, I do not have a PS3 already because it can not be pirated.

    And so does everybody I know, and in fact that is the very reason I have an XBOX 360 despite not likening the platform at all.

    Like most of the people who can afford those gaming beasts, I have two pairs of little hands that love to literally destroy anything expensive daddy has, specially if comes in 120 mm cute funny colored disks with a hole in the middle.

    They destroyed many CD's of my PS2 game collection, broke my light gun.

    I'm not buying a PS3 until I can make copies of the CD's. Will I pirate games? yes of course, I will not buy everything that gets published. But so far of the 40 games I have for the XBOX, I bought about 10 original games, and those I got them because a friend had tried them pirate at first. I would not have bought those if I did not have the console, I will probably buy some more during the lifetime of the console.

    Those tittles, and that console could have been Sony's.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    I thought I read somewhere...

    ...that the HV on PPC (cell, xenon etc) and POWER was the same code?

    If he has bust in, then IBM are about to shit a brick. Maybe he'll just 'disappear' like those guys that allegedly did cold fusion in a test tube!


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