First Custom PS3 Firmware Hack Prevents Piracy

First Custom PS3 Firmware Hack Prevents Piracy

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If you want to hack your PS3, but have no interest in piracy, one developer has the firmware update for you.

The latest movements in the world of PlayStation 3 hacking saw a group called "fail0verflow" give a tour of the console's security system and its "master key" posted online. Ever since the PS3's copy protection was broken in August 2010, Sony has been trying to put Humpty Dumpty back together again to prevent the spread of piracy. However, a new bit of custom firmware created by "KaKaRoTo" might be a PS3 homebrew solution Sony can live with, as it's specifically designed to prevent users from running pirated games.

KaKaRoTo writes on his blog that he's been able to develop the first working "custom firmware" for the PlayStation 3. He says the effort was possible thanks to the tools created by fail0verflow, but emphasizes that the purpose of his work is not to allow people to play pirated content.

The custom firmware works by slightly altering any version of Sony's PS3 firmware. It adds an "Install Package Files" option to the game section of PS3 XrossMediaBar (XMB) so that users can install "pkg" files like those used for PSN downloads. KaKaRoTo writes: "Since the kernel is left unmodified, this means that this custom firmware is really meant for future homebrew installation, and it will not allow piracy. I plan on keeping it that way."

Most of the currently available PS3 homebrew software has to be altered to install through KaKaRoTo's new method. KaKaRoTo says that this is only the beginning and he plans to add more features into his custom firmware in the future, but he apparently doesn't have any interest in aiding game pirates.

Videogame console hacks have always been an intriguing topic, because it's really cool to be able to "free" these systems to make them do more than they're designed for. However, it's understandable that Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo don't want users to do this because of how it can make piracy easier. It's nice to see that there's a group of hackers out there that only wants to tinker with the game consoles they own without any intention for wrongdoing.

Source: KaKaRoTo's Blog, via Joystiq

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I'm not a hacker, but I fail to see how this would prevent piracy. I understand it closes a loophole that would allow piracy, but if someone really wanted to, I'm sure they could get around it. Also, however this pans out, I'm sure Sony probably won't approve and will do it's best to patch it out in an official firmware update.

so this hack allows you to only install homebrew and fix the removed features see Sony THIS is an update!

dragontiers:
I'm not a hacker, but I fail to see how this would prevent piracy. I understand it closes a loophole that would allow piracy, but if someone really wanted to, I'm sure they could get around it. Also, however this pans out, I'm sure Sony probably won't approve and will do it's best to patch it out in an official firmware update.

Must disagree. I think they'll see the opportunity and be thankful really. Look at the kinect. Everyone is hacking it and find new uses for it, uses that could help Microsoft or other devellopers alot. SONY might benefit from this if they leave it be, and work with this guy

Or, they'll pay lots of money to buy it, and put it in an official patch. I could see Sony doing that one too. That's the funny thing about updates like that one. I don't have any problems with this update.

I won't get the update because I don't feel like homebrewing on my PS3. I don't have any plans to pirate PS3 games, so it's a non-issue.

Every utility that adds useful features but prevents piracy is one less chance someone who wants that functionality will write it themselves but leave it open to piracy.

Sony needs to take note, removing OtherOS was the catalyst for full cracking of the system. If they had just left OtherOS the vast majority of the hobbyists would be happy with that option.

Celtic_Kerr:

dragontiers:
I'm not a hacker, but I fail to see how this would prevent piracy. I understand it closes a loophole that would allow piracy, but if someone really wanted to, I'm sure they could get around it. Also, however this pans out, I'm sure Sony probably won't approve and will do it's best to patch it out in an official firmware update.

Must disagree. I think they'll see the opportunity and be thankful really. Look at the kinect. Everyone is hacking it and find new uses for it, uses that could help Microsoft or other devellopers alot. SONY might benefit from this if they leave it be, and work with this guy

Keep in mind, Sony patched out the "Other OS" option because of "security issues" (and are/were getting sued over it as well), so I can see them trying to get rid of this with a firmware update. I think they will see it as just too much of a risk, even if it supposedly prevents piracy.

I applaud them for that. Finally some proof that someone who is tinkering with the hardware doesn't neccessarily do it for the sake of piracy.

...Kakarot?

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Dammit why do I still remember this crap!?!?!

henritje:
so this hack allows you to only install homebrew and fix the removed features see Sony THIS is an update!

Yeah. This is actually a good idea. Allowing homebrew to be used on the ps3....i love it.

I applaud this guy for getting a system that lets him and others run homebrew while still allowing the copy protection to stay intact. Granted we are just taking his word for it but still kudos. I would love to see sony do something like microsofts independent market maybe they should talk with this guy.

midpipps:
I applaud this guy for getting a system that lets him and others run homebrew while still allowing the copy protection to stay intact. Granted we are just taking his word for it but still kudos. I would love to see sony do something like microsofts independent market maybe they should talk with this guy.

It's not leaving the copy protection intact. It's fixing the broken copy protection.

vxicepickxv:

midpipps:
I applaud this guy for getting a system that lets him and others run homebrew while still allowing the copy protection to stay intact. Granted we are just taking his word for it but still kudos. I would love to see sony do something like microsofts independent market maybe they should talk with this guy.

It's not leaving the copy protection intact. It's fixing the broken copy protection.

I guess that was not the way I read it mostly due to this

Since the kernel is left unmodified, this means that this custom firmware is really meant for future homebrew installation, and it will not allow piracy. I plan on keeping it that way.

Well, my thoughts on this are that I don't consider a lot of the "piracy" they are concerned about to actually be "piracy" in the problematic sense that most people think of.

Typically it seems that people who are breaking the copy protection and "modding" consoles are doing things in order to bypass various kinds of region locks. Say someone importing a game from Japan that for whatever reason they aren't selling in the US, and having the system modded to play it. No real money is being lost, it's just a way of bypassing bureaucratic nonsense that shouldn't be there anyway. What's more "regional releases" have been a touchy subject for a long time, in this arena anyway.

I've never messed around with it (little motive) but it seems that a lot of these modifications are done for that reason, or so that people don't have to monkey around with things like maintaining foreign accounts they have to log in and out of to play games that were only released for download to Europeans, Japan, etc... (or in reverse with say people from the EU using US PSN accounts to get games from the US stores).

The bottom line is that they should be putting everything up for sale everywhere, and just basically take a fire axe to the red tape. All pretensions of things being "region free" tend not to work out as PSN has demonstrated on numerous occasions.

It's possible I could be misunderstanding a lot of this, but honestly it always struck me that actual piracy of console games was a relatively small issue compared to the PC. Most such complaints actually revolving around breaking locks to play otherwise legitimatly aquired media.

Would that make Sony "VeGiTa"?

Wait wait. Like the others users said:

- Allows the inital feature the PS3 advertised on the Box.
- Doesn't allow pirated games to be run.
- Allows homebrew content.

This is amazing, you cannot refuse/say no to this offer, you CANNOT SONY!

"KaKaRoTo": +100 for the name!
Dragonball forever ;)

Straying Bullet:
Wait wait. Like the others users said:

- Allows the inital feature the PS3 advertised on the Box.
- Doesn't allow pirated games to be run.
- Allows homebrew content.

This is amazing, you cannot refuse/say no to this offer, you CANNOT SONY!

Oh, but they CAN. Like they removed that option for no good reason at all.
Really, it cost them money to program a way to rip it out, it wouldn't have cost them a dime to keep it in.

[Insert any Dilbert management joke here and it would sadly be true]

dragontiers:

Celtic_Kerr:

dragontiers:
I'm not a hacker, but I fail to see how this would prevent piracy. I understand it closes a loophole that would allow piracy, but if someone really wanted to, I'm sure they could get around it. Also, however this pans out, I'm sure Sony probably won't approve and will do it's best to patch it out in an official firmware update.

Must disagree. I think they'll see the opportunity and be thankful really. Look at the kinect. Everyone is hacking it and find new uses for it, uses that could help Microsoft or other devellopers alot. SONY might benefit from this if they leave it be, and work with this guy

Keep in mind, Sony patched out the "Other OS" option because of "security issues" (and are/were getting sued over it as well), so I can see them trying to get rid of this with a firmware update. I think they will see it as just too much of a risk, even if it supposedly prevents piracy.

Actually, I'm pretty sure this custom firmware would do the trick as it's advertised, as one thing you're not considering is that for the most part the number of people who are able to do this sort of tinkering/programming in a console do it for homebrew reasons (yes, I did say 'most', not all), so I can see a lot of support for this system of running homebrew apps and games from now on. 'Pirates' are the ones who download the games, and if you go to any tracker and look at the comments or thread posts on major released games you'll get a decent impression for the communal level of patience, gratitude, and err, 'technical expertise' a lot of them have. And possibly a real good laugh.

Secondly, and unfortunately for Sony, to my understanding there's no real way to 'patch' this out. For the PSP they had to redesign the motherboard on the 3000 model to 'patch' out the main exploit to install custom firmware (seriously, it's designed to brick itself now if you try), therefore keeping one from loading custom code and such. On the PS3 the main 'key' for the console to recognise games, PSN releases and approved software has been released, meaning you don't have to go to any special lengths or processes to load anything other than just downloading it and running it through the main dashboard (sorry, don't own a PS3, not sure if that's the right term for the main interface). To patch that out risks the fact that Little Timmy's copy of GOW 3 might not be recognised by the console the next time he tries to run it. I think the risk/reward for that is not exactly in Sony's favour.

Forgive me if I'm talking out of my ass here but... if you don't want to play pirated game, why not just stop trying to hack your PS3 in the first place? Its like removing the timer from your microwave, then adding your own custom timer. Pointless.

And then someone writes a homebrew app like ESR or HDLoader that allows end users to boot backups. You know it's only a matter of time. Of course, who in their right mind would want to try to install a 25-128GB game. It's ludicrous and not worth my time.

matrix3509:
Forgive me if I'm talking out of my ass here but... if you don't want to play pirated game, why not just stop trying to hack your PS3 in the first place? Its like removing the timer from your microwave, then adding your own custom timer. Pointless.

Because they want to develop Homebrew, and the removal of Other OS prevented them from doing that. 90% of all hacking is a code monkey somewhere seeing what he can make on a system, for example making PSP games emulatable on the PS3. There's no real reason to other than seeing that you can.

you may have a point in thinking "Then why not just develop on PCs' but you aren't thinking like a code monkey. To them it's about devouring information.

matrix3509:
Forgive me if I'm talking out of my ass here but... if you don't want to play pirated game, why not just stop trying to hack your PS3 in the first place? Its like removing the timer from your microwave, then adding your own custom timer. Pointless.

Is it that hard to think up the advantages? Maybe if you're only 5 years old then you may have never seen anything different, which I don't suspect you are, but there are a million types of timers out there, many of them extremely shitty. Some are just dials that twist to a minute designation and have no options. Some are digital and let you add minutes while it is still running, and some of those also have presets for various foods. Obviously the consoles are now just compact computers and can do more than load up a game.

 

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