Print 21 comment(s) - last by kalak.. on Jan 7 at 7:55 AM

PS3 root keys were first worked out by a group of German hackers

Sony Computer Entertainment, Inc. (SCEI) has been thus far relatively successful at preventing pesky hackers from gaining full access to its PS3, opening the door to piracy, homebrews, and heavy modding.  Those happy days for SCEI may soon be at an end, though.

A team of German hackers called fail0verflow (Twitter, the group is currently building a webpage) developed a hack to calculate the super-secret security keys that the PS3 uses to determine if an application is legitimate or not.  The "epic PS3 security bypass" opens the door to just about everything ambitious console hackers ever dreamed of, software-wise.

As the hack makes use [video] of a smartphone, like an iPhone or Android phone, iPhone expert hacker Geohot (real name George Hotz) became involved and has officially released a polished version of the exploit.

He writes:

props to fail0verflow for the asymmetric half
no donate link, just use this info wisely
i do not condone piracy

if you want your next console to be secure, get in touch with me. any of you 3.
it'd be fun to be on the other side.

...and this is a real self, hello world
although it's not NPDRM, so it won't run off the hard drive
shouts to the guys who did PSL1GHT
without you, I couldn't release this

The Xbox 360's DRM protections were cracked some time ago.  Microsoft has worked to ban modded consoles from online play, though, so don't be surprise if SCEI resorts to similar measures.

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By Darkefire on 1/3/2011 8:46:44 PM , Rating: 5
If Penny Arcade is to be believed (and they usually are) the driving force behind the PS3 finally being cracked was Sony's removal of the OtherOS feature. Who knew the loss of Linux would ultimately spur the homebrew hackers to finally crack a system that's over four years old? Maybe Sony will be the first to finally learn that people don't crack because they want free games, they crack because they want full control over their hardware; even providing the illusion of such freedom with a concession like a neutered Linux install is enough to pacify the bigshots of the community.

RE: Irony
By chick0n on 1/3/2011 10:58:33 PM , Rating: 1
they didn't really "hack" anything, the Master key leaked out. from SCEI themselves.

Its a stupid part on Sony, very stupid indeed.

RE: Irony
By indignation on 1/3/2011 11:29:13 PM , Rating: 5
Nope, the key was solved from algebra. Sony failed to use random numbers in their signed hashes so 2 of such hashes were enough to solve for the 2 unknowns.

RE: Irony
By Shadowmaster625 on 1/4/2011 8:26:56 AM , Rating: 2
Didnt the military have a bunch of bricked PS3s?

Best Article yet!
By Cr0nJ0b on 1/3/2011 5:07:10 PM , Rating: 5
I love the way you use prose to emphasize the beauty that swirls around the tech world. Thanks!

RE: Best Article yet!
By GulWestfale on 1/3/2011 7:01:07 PM , Rating: 2
I love the way you use prose to emphasize the beauty that swirls around the tech world. Thanks!

and i love your sarcasm.

RE: Best Article yet!
By jtemplin on 1/3/2011 8:49:38 PM , Rating: 4
Sarcasm or not--I love how seemingly noone appreciates that the word prose specifically refers to plain, ordinary, everyday language.

By chiadog on 1/4/2011 4:08:15 AM , Rating: 3
if you want your next console to be secure , get in touch with me. any of you 3. it'd be fun to be on the other side.

Isn't that a bit arrogant? Even if he went to the other side, there will be other hackers to take up the vacancy.

RE: Hmm
By Taft12 on 1/4/2011 10:21:44 AM , Rating: 2
Yes, there will always be others to take the place of great hackers, but geohot's arrogance is earned here. There has never been a piece of consumer hardware locked down with as many layers of DRM as the PS3.

This is one of the finest hacking achievements the world has ever seen (full credit to fail0ver, however -- geohot was standing on the shoulders of giants)

RE: Hmm
By bill4 on 1/4/2011 10:57:07 PM , Rating: 2
Umm no LOL. The Xbox 360 was (and is) much more secure than the PS3.

Hackers never attempted to hack the PS3 until recently (which they claimed was because of other OS). Once they tried, the Ps3 security was a joke. Literally, Sony's keys were found because a random number generator in Sony's encryption code always returned the same number. That is truly epic fail.

360 still to this day hasn't been blown open anywhere near to the level Ps3 has just in the last few days. The DVD firmware of the 360 was cracked early on allowing for pirated games, but that's a separate issue.

360 was actually hacked, after extreme difficulty, to run code, those are called JTAG'ed consoles and are rare (it's only a few old consoles now), but it was extraordinarily difficult and Microsoft quickly and easily closed the hole through blowing an efuse.

Thats one of the issues with this Ps3 hack, it's so deep, they have near total control of the PS3. Nothing like that exists on 360. For example, one might expect rampant cheating on PSN to possibly occur with this hack in the future, which obviously would be a huge problem.

RE: Hmm
By kalak on 1/7/2011 7:51:36 AM , Rating: 2
beeeeeep !
beeeeeep !
FanBoy detected !
FanBoy detected !

(stupid DailyTech... This is NOT SPAM....)

By nangryo on 1/4/2011 1:00:46 AM , Rating: 2
In my area, you could purchase sony PS3 with a mod. The game was ripped into the HDD and you play the game from there. You don't need actual disc. You could "buy" ripped game for U$5 dollar each, and they will be installed on your hdd.

I thought it's been world wide already

By flyingrooster on 1/4/2011 1:36:38 AM , Rating: 3
That was different, the PS3 jailbreak usb stick emulated a usb hub and was basically a timing attack taking advantage of a bug which allowed memory to be directly written. The bug was found (and quickly patched) by sony. These teams have discovered sony's private key used to sign the official apps and games. There is no way for sony to counter this because changing the keys would render all current games unplayable.

By Visual on 1/4/2011 6:35:45 AM , Rating: 2
Well its not like there's no way. They can change the key and let it be used for future titles, and also include a complete whitelist of all old title signatures that would be permitted, no matter that they don't match the new key. It might be a rather large patch, but it is doable.

It's about damn time!
By tastyratz on 1/4/2011 8:22:29 AM , Rating: 2
The ps3 has been cracked wide open for months! There has been TONS of news and this is prettymuch the final "huzzah" of big news for the ps3. You can't say you didn't know I have been suggesting articles repeatedly for months!

For those who wish to know more about the ps3 community I recommend for a complete up to date news source. There is a lot you can do with a ps3 right now...

Forget Piracy!
By rhuarch on 1/6/2011 1:50:53 PM , Rating: 2
I'll be honest, I might experiment with piracy on the PS3 if it becomes available, but the sheer size of bluray games is going to be an obstacle to making rampant piracy practical. Besides, I hacked my Wii and immediately downloaded a bunch of games which I promptly neglected to ever play. What do I use my Wii for now? Playing my old Super NES Roms mostly, and browsing the homebrew channel for interesting looking apps. Doing the research and applying the Hack is usually much more fun than actually playing the pirated games. That part usually ends up being kind of a let down, as I realize quickly why I never bought those games in the first place.

I'm much more excited about having the option to install linux with full access to the PS3 hardware. I might finally be able to turn my ps3 into a fully functioning media center that doesn't require me to jump through ridiculous hurdles to transcode and stream media from a server if it doesn't use Sony's holy list of codecs/containers.

another pirate pushing his spin
By michal1980 on 1/4/11, Rating: -1
By xkrakenx on 1/4/2011 8:50:50 AM , Rating: 5
what? sure pirates will use this, but a broken system and the act of breaking it is a challenge that is separate from promoting piracy.

P.S. - you are an asshat.

RE: another pirate pushing his spin
By Taft12 on 1/4/2011 10:18:05 AM , Rating: 2
Take your lies and spin elsewhere.

OtherOS was an advertised feature of the PS3 - one that prompted many buyers to purchase the unit. It was the removal of this feature that led to the flurry of work to break the DRM. This is the end result.

Still wish you took that feature away, Sony?

RE: another pirate pushing his spin
By wempa on 1/4/2011 12:38:20 PM , Rating: 5
I never understood how Sony could get away with removing that feature. Because MS came out with the Xbox 360 a full year ahead of the PS3, Sony had to emphasize the PS3 system's extra power and features in order to compete. Two of the features they always bragged about from the very beginning were (1) true hardware backwards compatibility and (2) Linux support. Now, they are both gone. I don't have as much of a problem with them removing the backwards compatibility since it was done in subsequent system revisions. However, I have a REAL problem with them removing the Linux support because it was done through software. I'm no lawyer, but it seems to me that it should be illegal for a company to make such a fundamental change to a device AFTER it has already been released.

RE: another pirate pushing his spin
By kalak on 1/7/2011 7:55:37 AM , Rating: 1
It can't be helped. If you speak against piracy here, you will be "terminated"....
DailyTech readers are "pro piracy".

I agree with every line you wrote.

"If they're going to pirate somebody, we want it to be us rather than somebody else." -- Microsoft Business Group President Jeff Raikes

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