Newest PS3 firmware hacked in less than 24 hours

All Sony's horses and all Sony's men...


Hackers say they unlocked the latest firmware for the PlayStation 3 game console, less than 24 hours after Sony released it in a desperate attempt to stuff the jailbreaking genie back in the bottle.

Sony announced the release of Version 3.56 on Wednesday. That same day, game console hacker Youness Alaoui, aka KaKaRoToKS, tweeted that he had released the tools to unpack the files, allowing him to uncover the new version's signing keys.

The hack is the latest volley in Sony's never-ending campaign to lock down the PS3 so only authorized (read: sponsored) games and software run on the console. In the crosshairs are some of the PS3's most enthusiastic users, who want to dissolve the artificial shackles so they can run homebrewed software and other customized software on the hardware they legally own.

The hack underscores the futility of Sony's legal maneuvers. It came 24 hours before a federal judge ordered the seizure of computers belonging to George Hotz, one of the hackers who unlocked Version 3.55 and published the key used to sign authorized games. In other words, before the draconian temporary restraining order even went into effect, the PS3 baton had already been passed to another hacker, who was under no such restrictions.

One can imagine this pattern playing out indefinitely.

So far, Alaoui has released only the signing keys for 3.56, which have since been removed from Github.com following copyright take-down demands. Determined gamers can still find the data in underground sites, including on Gitorious.org. It's now a matter of someone using the key to create a customized version of the firmware and releasing it. That hasn't happened yet, although there are reports of several hoaxes offering fakes.

According to unconfirmed reports, Version 3.56 contains hidden functionality that allows Sony to scan PS3 consoles for custom firmware and other unauthorized software and report the results back to the company. Sony reportedly can modify the scanner anytime it wants to, without having to update the firmware. Microsoft is said to have put similar features in its Xbox 360 so it can ban modded consoles from its gaming network.

Version 3.56 also introduces a significantly re-engineered private encryption key that makes it next to impossible to roll back the update. PS3 users with older firmware are required to update if they want to continue using the PlayStation Network. ®

Similar topics

Broader topics


Other stories you might like

  • DigitalOcean tries to take sting out of price hike with $4 VM
    Cloud biz says it is reacting to customer mix largely shifting from lone devs to SMEs

    DigitalOcean attempted to lessen the sting of higher prices this week by announcing a cut-rate instance aimed at developers and hobbyists.

    The $4-a-month droplet — what the infrastructure-as-a-service outfit calls its virtual machines — pairs a single virtual CPU with 512 MB of memory, 10 GB of SSD storage, and 500 GB a month in network bandwidth.

    The launch comes as DigitalOcean plans a sweeping price hike across much of its product portfolio, effective July 1. On the low-end, most instances will see pricing increase between $1 and $16 a month, but on the high-end, some products will see increases of as much as $120 in the case of DigitalOceans’ top-tier storage-optimized virtual machines.

    Continue reading
  • GPL legal battle: Vizio told by judge it will have to answer breach-of-contract claims
    Fine-print crucially deemed contractual agreement as well as copyright license in smartTV source-code case

    The Software Freedom Conservancy (SFC) has won a significant legal victory in its ongoing effort to force Vizio to publish the source code of its SmartCast TV software, which is said to contain GPLv2 and LGPLv2.1 copyleft-licensed components.

    SFC sued Vizio, claiming it was in breach of contract by failing to obey the terms of the GPLv2 and LGPLv2.1 licenses that require source code to be made public when certain conditions are met, and sought declaratory relief on behalf of Vizio TV owners. SFC wanted its breach-of-contract arguments to be heard by the Orange County Superior Court in California, though Vizio kicked the matter up to the district court level in central California where it hoped to avoid the contract issue and defend its corner using just federal copyright law.

    On Friday, Federal District Judge Josephine Staton sided with SFC and granted its motion to send its lawsuit back to superior court. To do so, Judge Staton had to decide whether or not the federal Copyright Act preempted the SFC's breach-of-contract allegations; in the end, she decided it didn't.

    Continue reading
  • US brings first-of-its-kind criminal charges of Bitcoin-based sanctions-busting
    Citizen allegedly moved $10m-plus in BTC into banned nation

    US prosecutors have accused an American citizen of illegally funneling more than $10 million in Bitcoin into an economically sanctioned country.

    It's said the resulting criminal charges of sanctions busting through the use of cryptocurrency are the first of their kind to be brought in the US.

    Under the United States' International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEA), it is illegal for a citizen or institution within the US to transfer funds, directly or indirectly, to a sanctioned country, such as Iran, Cuba, North Korea, or Russia. If there is evidence the IEEA was willfully violated, a criminal case should follow. If an individual or financial exchange was unwittingly involved in evading sanctions, they may be subject to civil action. 

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022