Tuesday, 30 October 2012

The Biggest Playstation 3 Hack to Date

It's probably the last one of this magnitude because after this they won't need anymore.

I only caught wind of this a day or two ago despite the fact that it's been floating around on the Internet since about last week. Apparently the Playstation 3's level 0 security layer has been hacked and released to the public at large. What exactly does any of that mean? Well, read on to find out.

Now, before I go on, I have to stress that from what I've read, this isn't really going to affect anyone that wasn't already using custom firmware for their PS3 to do whatever, whether that be running pirated games, using Linux after Sony took away that functionality, emulating stuff, you name it. If you're one of the people who just has a PS3 and gets the firmware updates and doesn't tinker around with anything then you basically don't really have to be worried, your console isn't going to explode or download all the viruses or whatever.

The long and short of it is that this level 0 is basically the ground floor that all the other hardware and firmware updates get the okay from. If this got hacked (which it did) then a hacker could then just tell the system that essentially whatever they wanted was a O.K.. Like I said, this means that systems that were already running custom firmware can and will continue to do so, even when Sony attempts to release it's own firmware updates. Future updates will not be able to revert the systems, because they can and eventually will be tampered with through the use of the level 0 key.

Maybe it would be better just to link to this, which does a better job of explaining this entire thing than I probably could. Even though it's written in plainer English there's still a lot here that is going over my head at least. Still, if you want to begin to make heads or tails of this it's a good place to start.

Anyways, what does this mean for Sony? Well, there's probably going to be costs involved to make sure that future iterations of the Playstation 3 are using different level 0 security than the ones that are currently just floating out there in the open. Basically anything that has been released up to this point has been rendered completely hackable by the fact that this key has gone public. Now for systems with the latest firmware this would actually mean having to somehow get to an older version, which is easier said than done, but if the person is willing to expend the effort, then now it's entirely possible.

Whether or not larger ramifications of this will come to pass is a mystery at the moment. I would imagine that Sony will certainly want to find and prosecute the members of the hacking group taking responsibility for the release. Interestingly enough, the group which calls itself "The Three Musketeers" claims to have had the access for a while, and that they were supposedly willing to sit on it until a rival group stole the information and was going to start charging for firmware based on it. Somehow I still doubt the Sony really sees this as noble.

I'll have more on this as it develops, if indeed it does. This might be extra incentive for Sony to get the Playstation 4 out there, but for now it remains an interesting piece of news that doesn't affect many people, yet.

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