The PS3 has been hacked, but probably not the way you might have expected.

Logan King
August 19, 2010
Tags Games Sony PS3

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So, after »that whole Linux fiasco happened (which is currently tied up in courts, just so you know), Sony probably thought that they were safe from any major threats to their system. Then this happened.


Who needs George Hotz anyway? A USB modchip for the PS3 has emerged from the mists this morning, purporting to allow the dumping of games onto nearby storage -- the console's internal HDD and external drives are both a-ok -- as well as the subsequent playing of said games without the need for the original disc. Could it be the backup/piracy nirvana Sony loyalists have been awaiting for so long? Well, there's a video showing the little USB device apparently working, and the PSX-Scene team say they have personally verified that it does what it claims to do, but skepticism remains advisable here. The PS3 has been a fortress of hacker unfriendliness, so we'd rather kick back, relax, and wait for some braver souls than us to do the testing. For now, the video awaits after the break.


Just... wow.

What it basically does is work the same way that Pre-2009 PSPs did with Pandora Batteries, in that inserting the proprietary drive into the USB port kicks the system into service mode so you can fiddle with it. Basically, this exploit exists for the same reason as it did on the PSP, because that is the method that Sony themselves use in order to fix PS3 consoles that ended up with screwed up firmware installs and other low level issues. This supposedly allows everything from dumping your PS3 games to the hard drive (internal or external) to downgrading the system firmware. And because the dongle interacts with the hardware on a machine code level using Sony's own software, there is nothing Sony could do to prevent its use until they change the hardware itself to no longer allow the system to boot in that way (which is what they ultimately had to do with the PSP with the 3000).

One thing that must be kept in mind is that, regardless of where you usually come down on the "open platform versus closed platform and consumers rights therein" argument, this is completely, totally crazy illegal. Not because of any whining Sony will do about their hardware being hacked, but because the way this thing was developed was apparently by the guys that made it getting their hands of one of the dongle's that Sony's guys use themselves, copying the hardware and dumping the software, then copying both to their own drive design. Because of that, when this explodes like it obviously will, Sony will probably be able to successfully block the sale of them in America/Britain/etc. Not that that really matters, I suppose.



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