Tech Talk: PS3 PSJailbreak nullified with no custom firmware in sight

October 13, 2010

Tech Talk: PS3 PSJailbreak nullified with no custom firmware in sight It seems like those expecting a custom firmware to hack the PS3 can give up now as Sony has pretty much nullified the PSJailbreak exploit. Even though people like to call it a PS3 hack it was in essence a glitch.

I call it a glitch because “hackers” didn’t circumvent the core PS3 security measures which Geohot was working on before he gave up. These alleged hackers pretty much took a jig key, probably from someone that works in technical support for Sony in China, and used it to create the PSJailbreak.

Tech support centers use this special jig key to turn any PS3 sent in for repair to enter what’s called a debug mode. Once in debug mode the PS3 can playback unsigned code. As you can see all of hooks have been put in place by Sony for unsigned code to be played on the PS3 deliberately for troubleshooting.

The only thing that is even close to a hack is the fact that the PSJailbreak’s version of the jig key is deployed via a heap overflow using the USB ports. This isn’t all that impressive as overloading the system with a USB (switch on/off) is an old trick. It just happens that these hackers had a legitimate jig key to inject as the payload.

Over the course of two months Sony quietly combated the exploit in two ways – from a legal and technical standpoint. Sony was able to get the PSJailbreak banned in pretty much most of the major countries preventing sales of the exploit in mass quantities.

As reported by Digital Foundry, Sony released firmware 3.42 which pretty much nullified the ability to run unsigned code on the PS3, including the PSJailbreak. In firmware 3.50, Sony introduced a USB “white list” which pretty much blocked out any non-storage based USB devices, including the modified PSJailbreak USB drive.

Also, new games such as Medal of Honor are using a new encryption that can only be decrypted with a new key unknown to the public. Basically, even the PS3 doesn’t have the key to unlock the game unless you have firmware 3.50.

In order to really hack the PS3 like the PSP, hackers must get through the Hypervisor, which is the lowest level of security on the hardware. Believe it or not the Hypervisor security layer runs on the PPE (core processor) and uses one the reserved SPE (SPU). This SPE is isolated in a way so that even the main core PPE can’t even access it.

The single SPE uses the hardware root key to decrypt the encryption code while being tied to a random ID generator. This is probably one of the most complex security systems ever invented utilizing one of the Cell SPUs to handle decryption in isolation mode.

Sony has nullified the PS3 exploit rather efficiently and swiftly without making a major scene. It almost seems like Sony had a contingency handbook for this exact scenario. I suppose, the engineers at Sony figured this many happen eventually as the human element is always an unknown factor.

37 Responses to “Tech Talk: PS3 PSJailbreak nullified with no custom firmware in sight”

  1. The Future of Sega:

    Is it possible to write a PS3 worm virus? To the man, woman, cat or moose that hacks the PS3, you deserve GOLD!!! lol.

    I’ll make a wager…if the PS3 is “FULLY” hacked (with none of that bullshit of usb’s or heatware) I’ll shave all of my pubic hair off. Game on!!! :D

  2. SW:

    “preventing sales of the exploit in mass quantities. ”

    Yeah but not the spreading (e.g. PSGroove), and Sony can’t touch the USB dev boards because they’re designed for, well, USB development stuffs.

  3. CarlB:

    “Also, new games such as Medal of Honor are using a new encryption that can only be decrypted with a new key unknown to the public. Basically, even the PS3 doesn’t have the key to unlock the game unless you have firmware 3.50.”

    Wait a sec, does this mean that people who do not have access to an internet connection can’t play the new games they just bought? I hope “the engineers at Sony” have a “contingency handbook for this exact scenario.”

  4. FahKinSuPah:

    @CarlB

    “Wait a sec, does this mean that people who do not have access to an internet connection can’t play the new games they just bought? I hope “the engineers at Sony” have a “contingency handbook for this exact scenario.”

    Will probably be set up like the PSP, were the required firmware updates are included on disc.

  5. Roca.:

    firware is on the disc CarlB. So I guess Sony did had ‘a contingency handbook for this exact scenario’

  6. Roca.:

    @SW
    The USB is useless if you have the lastest FW, the PS3 won’t read it at all.

  7. Roca.:

    “Starting this Saturday, the PlayStation Store will update with one free movie rental as part of its “Midnight Movies” promotion”

    Enjoy a free downloadable movie every Saturday on PSN (free for all users)

  8. phranctoast:

    @Roca
    I just saw that. Kinda cool if it’s a good movie, and it’s nice that’s it’s not just for + members.

  9. SW:

    “The USB is useless if you have the latest FW, the PS3 won’t read it at all.”

    I know, but I was just pointing out that Sony haven’t stopped anyone who ordered a jailbreak device from *really* getting one. I understand that they simply HAVE to go after suppliers etc, tho.

  10. phranctoast:

    It seems like the scenario initially explained that these hackers were trying to make as much money as possible before disappearing is the most likely.

    Good. Hacking is stealing. There’s not two ways about it. People can try and justify it anyway they like, with examples such as

    ‘trying out the game so if I like it, I’ll buy the sequel ‘ and other nonsense like that.

    In the end your getting something without paying for it, and that’s stealing.

  11. Roca.:

    Sony won the court case in some regions and The court banned and ordered retailers to stop the distribution of the jailbreak device in Australia and all Europe.

    Recently they filed some court documents targeting PS Jailbreak, PSGroove, OpenPSJailbreak, and PSFreedom here in the US.

  12. Roca.:

    @UK PS3 Owner (sorry HH)
    “Lovefilm – which is essentially European Netflix, for those of you who don’t recognize the name – will have its streaming movie service available on PS3s in the UK this November. The app appears to be pretty robust, allowing users to not only stream movies, but also manage their general queue and search by films or actors.

    http://www.joystiq.com/2010/10/13/lovefilm-coming-to-uk-ps3s-in-november/

    @US PS3 owners
    “Starting Monday, October 18 you’ll be able to instantly watch movies and TV shows without inserting an instant streaming disc into your console.

    In addition to eliminating the disc, there is a new user interface that brings a much richer and faster browsing experience, content search directly on the device, and dramatic improvements in how fast playback starts (no more sliding…thanks god)”

  13. phranctoast:

    I’ve been looking for an excuse to get Netflix again. This and the Dolby Digital 5.1 upgrade may be that excuse.

  14. ncaissie:

    @Roca
    Netflix locked up on us yesterday. Had to hard reboot the PS3. And the movie had to buffer for a couple of minutes in the middle.

  15. phranctoast:

    Shoddy Canadian internet connections ;)

  16. ncaissie:

    “Shoddy Canadian internet connections”
    Exactly. My shitty 50gb downlowd speed sucks ass.

  17. Roca.:

    I doubt you have a 50GB download speed

  18. Barnabe Jones:

    Did the original Xbox and GameCube ever get hacked?

  19. Roca.:

    yup. Xbox was fully hacked really quickly (like every other MS product)

  20. The Future of Sega:

    Proof of the original Xbox hack: “http://www.joystiq.com/2006/02/03/original-xbox-thoroughly-hacked/”.

    The Gamecube has been hacked as well but there were rumors that the controller wouldn’t function properly…

  21. The Future of Sega:

    It’s been 4 years since the PS3 was released and still…no one has been able to hack the PS3 :D. Just two more years of non-hack-ability and the PS3 will go down in the Guinness Book of World Records. :D

  22. CAD:

    Yep the 360 is hacked but yet it still sells more games then the PS3.

  23. CAD:

    So Roca what about the games I thought you didn’t care about all those other services LOL. Your such a Hypocrite and proud of it.

  24. CAD:

    Sony is giving away free movies now. Wow they must be desperate. It just amazes me that a free service has to try so hard against a piad service to attrack customers. After all Sony boast a bigger subscriber base yet Live makes more money. They just don’t get it. Provide a proper infastructure for gaming and the rest just falls in place.

  25. CarlB:

    “firware is on the disc CarlB. So I guess Sony did had ‘a contingency handbook for this exact scenario’”

    So as long as you don’t update you can still have a hacked PS3 and be able to play all media that has been released in the last 4 years?

  26. Rhino:

    No matter what your gaming persuasion is…you gotta hand it to Sony for the thought they’ve put into to prevent hacking.

    As for CAD…fuck off you fucking lame ass Greenberg cock sucking blind inbred foul chess smelling fucking MS fanboy with your “Provide a proper infastructure for gaming and the rest just falls in place” bullshit.

    It’s there you fucking idiot and it’s FREE!!!!

    Don’t you fucking get it. Free to play games online….always!!!!

    Not when Sony are feeling generous….it’s 24hours a day 7days a week free.

    Fuck….you are such a fucking tool I mean really I’ve met some fucking moronic people in my time but seriously dude you take the fucking cake as the biggest lamest one-eyed fucking moronic fanboy on the planet.

    You give Canadian a bad name and I fucking love Canadians!!!

  27. Rhino:

    And I’m usually a very tolerant person.

  28. Kushy:

    ^
    Yeah Rhino, CAD is not your average Canadian, he’s very special! CAD = Constantly A Douchebag

    Lol, don’t let the little troll get to you, you only encourage him! :)

  29. The Future of Sega:

    Woah oh WOAH Roca is R-E-A-L-L-Y pissed off today! :-) Lol. Hey don’t let him get to ya ;) Trust me I’ve been through much worst with dealing with morons but it’s best to keep your cool.

    CAD you may be right in investing in a product…but do you think Sony wants to attract irate, infantile, and immature 360/Wii fanboys JUST to increase profits? I think not.

    I seriously do not understand why you support the 360 so much, given it’s “bad” decorum. I would rather watch Amy Winehouse snort coke than to play an Xbox 360 ever again :D Maybe it’s my maturity level or personal interests, but I just don’t find it entertaining hearing morons screaming or using defamatory language in MW2.

    On top of that the 360′s prowess was maxed out in 2007. PS3 first party games that were made 3 or 4 years ago, look waaaay better than current Xbox 360 exclusives such as Halo Reach (which uses the same engine as Halo 3…another cash cow for Microsoft).

  30. Rhino:

    Lol guys he didn’t get to me…I just loooooooove trying to come up with new ways of noting what a total tool he is. I mean seriously I put a message through to our equally moronic PM asking if she could send every nuke we have to bomb the fuck out of the tent that douche lives in.

    But I suppose the ps3′s architecture means that people won’t get caught up in the regular ms ban of consoles, thereby forcing people to buy another console, and inflating their sales figures.

    CAD your a fuckwit

  31. Roca.:

    @TFOS
    did you mean Rhino?

    I can understand Rhino’s hate towards CAD..I remember CAD arguing against us about things that Microsoft invented and made them standard in the gaming industry – like USB drive LMAO

    @Rhino
    They charge 360 owners for XBL (mainly online) – a service that is suppose to be free and yet:

    *They have closed a bunch of their internal studios.
    *Canned 1 vs 100
    *can’t provide dedicated servers
    *online games are full of cheaters
    *Don’t have as many first party games or developers
    *Krome Studios, the Australian developer behind the Xbox 360′s Game Room, has just shut down.
    *You dont nothing in return (unlike PSN+)
    *UI is a mess full of ads
    *Free DLC are paid-DLC on XBL (Valve is not happy about it)

  32. ncaissie:

    “I doubt you have a 50GB download speed”
    50Mbps

  33. ncaissie:

    LOL

  34. CAD:

    LOL I Love pissing off PS3 Fanboys.

  35. Roca.:

    ^ by lying to yourself.

  36. ncaissie:

    “LOL I Love pissing off PS3 Fanboys.”
    You don’t piss us off you just make yourself look stupid.

  37. The Future of Sega:

    Lol oh sorry Roca. “You don’t piss us off you just make yourself look stupid.” LMFAO.

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