Unbreakable No More; PS3 Hacked

Hackers are not ones to back away from a fight, or a task that seems at first glance to be nigh impossible. And after 4+ years of being hailed as an unbreakable system, the PS3 has finally gone the way of every console and gaming system before it, and been cracked open for the world to see.

PS3 Hacked

Think You’ve Heard This One Before?

Yes, it wasn’t that long ago that hackers were also claiming victory over the PS3, as they attacked it via its own USB ports, using a program that would trick the system into thinking it was a development system, and you, a developer, giving you free reign over the use of the system and the ability to play backup discs. Of course, Sony had a quick answer to this, releasing a firmware update that slammed the door shut on this program. While a user could simply avoid downloading this firmware update by not going online, they would never be able to play games online and receive any other useful system updates as a result.

The Ball is in Sony’s Court

While Sony’s response to the last hacking attempt was an easy one, the hackers this time say they’ve bypassed the PS3’s security in such a way that will make it impossible for Sony to do anything about it. They claim no possible firmware update can stop what they’ve unleashed, nor can the hacked systems even be detected and banned from playing online.

Sony’s first official statement regarding this matter was released today:

"We are aware of this, and are currently looking into it,” Sony said in a statement given to Edge Magazine. “We will fix the issues through network updates, but because this is a security issue, we are not able to provide you with any more details.”

While Sony’s statement indicates confidence that they can fix the breach with a firmware update, the hackers were quite adamant that the war was over, and that while Sony may have won a series of battles up to this point, they have now lost the war.

"The complete console is compromised - there is no recovery from this" pytey, a member of the hacker group fail0verflow told BBC News."The only way to fix this is to issue new hardware," he continued. "Sony will have to accept this."

Of Cryptography and Signatures

Ultimately, the hackers admitted that it was a cryptographic error on Sony’s part that led to their hacking of the system, otherwise it may very well have remained uncracked for the foreseeable future. This error allowed the hackers to compute the private key that the PS3 uses to sign and validate firmware updates.

With this key released, other hackers are now free to create their own firmware updates and programs that the PS3 will now recognize as legitimate, allowing any manner of homebrew programs to be run on the system, most notably programs that will allow the playing of backup games.

This not only creates obvious issues as far as gamers playing burned games, but it creates the potential for severe cheating online. Gamers will now be able to run programs that will let them do just about anything in online games without anything to stop them. This does, unfortunately, have the potential to ruin online gaming on the PlayStation 3.

Now you may be thinking, can’t Sony just change the private key with a firmware update? While this would probably be possible, this just isn’t an option, as every current game and product on the market that requires the use of that key to run would then be unusable.

Could This Mean the PS4 Comes Out Sooner Than Later Now?

It’s quite possible that if Sony indeed can’t fix this security issue, that we may see the PS4 sooner as a result. As Sony makes the majority of their money through software sales (in fact they were selling PS3’s at a loss for quite awhile), a sharp decrease in sales would greatly outweigh any benefit to be had from increased hardware sales.

Still, there are other things to consider that may not make the issue quite as severe as it seems on the surface. For one, burning PS3 games requires a Blu-ray burner, which most people don’t possess, and which are by no means cheap. Next, PS3 games are quite large in size, meaning massive hits on bandwidth usage (which is capped for most people in North America and Europe) from burning just one or two games. The Blu-ray discs themselves are also fairly expensive (though cheaper than actually buying the game certainly).

More to Come

We’ll be following developments on this issue closely in the days and weeks to come, so check back for all the latest updates.

Let us know your thoughts on this below. Are you glad the PS3 is cracked? Can Sony fix it? Will this ruin the PS3, and might we see the PS4 sooner as a result? We want your opinions on this major story below.

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Comments

Victor

Hi, I'm from Brazil and, in my opinion, hacking consoles in my country are a must. Imported games in Brazil have a huge amount of taxes, and some other huge terms of policy. Not to mention that it is almost impossible to find the game you're looking for, unless you buy it from some commercial sites in the net. Most of the people I know that bought a PS3, just have sold it in the next month, or returned. You can't find games for less than R$200 (US$118). Plus, PS3 will get more famous than it already is here. I'm excited with this news, and I hope Sony will just accept defeat this time.

Hey

Thanks for sharing your viewpoint. I feel for you, it must be tough being a gamer in South America/parts of Asia/etc. where you have shitty selection and have to pay terrible prices, especially after conversion and if you're shipping it in. In the other article I wrote on piracy, I mentioned the Zeebo, which is a Brazilian console, and how they had taken strong anti-piracy measures because of the market. Maybe it isn't so much the market though (although I do believe piracy is viewed very differently in different parts of the world), but rather some of the factors you mentioned that make piracy all but a necessity.

A Necessity

The system has basically hit a dead end, constantly releasing the same game over and over. It's time for progress and the market competitive as a result Sony may now have to do some work to keep their customers paying.

do you even bother reading

do you even bother reading what you type before you press submit? i guess stupidity truly is bliss, your argument is void.

Just to complement what the

Just to complement what the guy that lives in Brazil said, in Brazil it's not hard to see people that make 8 grants a month and people that make 1 grant a month, and those guys may perhaps be neighbors, now, how can someone pay 300 bucks in a game when the minimun wage is 500 bucks and the average is 1500 or 2000 a person? it's a product not very well accepted due to not anyone can buy it (the console costs 1500) I usually buy them in US, it costs me 20% of the price. 5-1 seems an unfair comparison, but that's the way it is.

Brazil FTW

Brazil FTW

wow

i, personally, am cheering sony to try and win this war. dont get me wrong ive hacked a few games in my day but not my ps3. i mean imagine hacks + spammers = epic fail. theres already an abundnce of spammers on most if not all ps3 games do would it really be cool if they could hack their way to a virtual god?

Wrong

"Still, there are other things to consider that may not make the issue quite as severe as it seems on the surface. For one, burning PS3 games requires a Blu-ray burner, which most people don’t possess, and which are by no means cheap. Next, PS3 games are quite large in size, meaning massive hits on bandwidth usage (which is capped for most people in North America and Europe) from burning just one or two games. The Blu-ray discs themselves are also fairly expensive (though cheaper than actually buying the game certainly)." this is TOTALLY WRONG ! let me explain: - 1st, to run backup on the PS3, you plug an external harddrive that has the games on it (NO NEED to buy BlueRay Disks !) - 2nd, PS3 games are around 4 to 16 Gigabytes (they do not use the full size of a BlueRay: 50GB), I from europe and I download at 2MB/s ... So anyone that leave in europe and have a ADSL2+ can get a PS3 game between 1h to 4h ...

ehh...

I'll admit to having pirated a couple of PC titles/ movies before. But I've stopped doing so, because I've learned to appreciate the hard work the authors/ programmers/ etc [everyone in the credits of the media] put into it. I mean, yeah, I'm not willing to pay $60 for a brand new title. So I just suck it up and wait a few months for the price to drop. But this news of the cracked firmware and Sony's inability to fix it makes my mind shudder... Such hacks could allow for much worse than pirating and cheating in games- the production and distribution of nasty viruses targeted at the PS3 system. Hell, hackers could wipe out all of people's saved games, pictures, videos, personal info, and worst yet- steal their credit cards.

True

I did not touch on that aspect of hacking in the article, as it's not clear just how easy it will be for hackers to pull that off or what the mechanism will be, but it's certainly something I'll be paying attention to, and everyone will need to be wary of going forward.

Hackers = suck at video games so they have to cheat.

Why don't the hackers just come out and say it. "We suck at playing video games so we had to figure out a way we can cheat so we can look like we are good." I hope all hackers fall into a pit of human effluence and drown.

what??? they made it possible

what??? they made it possible to play with backup disks and you say they suck playing? wth? what does it have to do with what they did?

You don't actually think that they are going to stop there?

Pleeeeeeease. It is exactly what happen with the Xbox. Someone breaks the coding then someone else creates a program that can be run in the background that makes you faster in a car game, invincible in a war game, and a god in every other game. So I say it again Hackers = Cheats = suck at games. Period.

How do you guys like your

How do you guys like your hackers now??? Brought down the whole PSN so NOBODY can play. Hackers still suck.........spoiled brats the lot of them.

you are incorrect

Im afraid that this situation has as of today been fixed by sony, And now the play station three. Is truely a unbreakable console.

Many hackers ARE skilled...

Many are, but have gotten bored of the game having beat it, so they mod or hack to do things that weren't possible. That and just to troll the gaming community trying to use the standard boundaries of the game. "Hackers" are freelancing programmers, who (when in business) are part of a development team. The ones that took down PSN were deliberately attacking Sony because of wrongdoings they believed them of committing. It wasn't just PSN they attacked and even aimed to shut down their entire online store for all products. No code or system is unbreakable. Code is made to be used, and there's always a way in. It just gets more and more difficult with time, but the skill of the coders go up too.

yay

I'm glad it was hacked. with all the hackers out there breaking throught the barriers, the companies see the flaws of their merchandice and implement ways to prevent it from being hacked that way and other ways of the like. If its full proof then you better believe every kid that finds out will go crazy an start backing up their games and playing them via usb or internal memory( screw burning them, cost too much) an then start downloading them off the internet Everything worth something WILL BE HACKED EVENTUALLY, it was guaranteed from the start that this would happen

Figure it out!

Nobody gives a shit if millions of players can't play for 2 days. Get over it. Actually hackers could code and run circles around your ass. They do it because its stupid to pay $$$ for something you can't have free reign over. Cry some more cause your broke ass wont pay for xbox live. oh wait mommy and daddy will right. love your ps3 hacking friend!

remember what happened to dreamcast

you guys remember what happened to dreamcast when hackers figured out how to burn and sell titles for dirt cheap killing the sales of the dreamcast sending sega to eternal hell to never see the console wars as a combatant well sooner or later with hackers continuing to destroy these consoles and the hard work what was put to perfecting it, they will see the same fate as the dreamcast (ps3,xbox). it great to run homebrew to play sega, nintendo, and perhaps xbox 360 and wii titles on the ps3 would be great but to play back ups will kill our fun as well as the hacks playing codmw2 while hacked was fun at first but after awhile it gets annoying please sony i know ya got a trick up your sleeve its time to show it

Better Cracked

First Of All Will You Pay 60-82 BUCKS For An All New Game Or Will You Wait Whole Year For The Price To Go Down?! There's NO POINT Doing THAT!!! Imagine You Wait A YEAR And A 2x Better Game Came Out Huh? See What I Mean??

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