back to article Prolific hacker releases PlayStation exploit

On Monday, when we reported that the prolific hacker geohot had successfully penetrated the previously impervious PlayStation 3 gaming console, readers were understandably skeptical. After all, the 20-year-old readily admitted his hack wasn't reliable, and he provided no evidence he was able to do some of the things modders …


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  1. William Andrews

    Linux Intergration...

    I see the greatest potential in this exploit being used to give Linux on Ps3 full access. This must happen. Ps3 Ubuntu is significantly limited, or at least less appealing, because of it's lack of complete Cell integration.

    This could be the answer!

  2. TC1

    Izz naize

    Congrats man, but people, for the love of all things good, don't screw us all by using the hack just for copied games. Make us proud! Give us a decent media player/centre that plays everything including Internet streams, some funky OS with its full hardware support, and other fun stuff, but please lets not piss off Sony and all the game companies even more?

    1. Anonymous Coward


      "...don't screw us all by using the hack just for copied games"

      Good luck with that. You know this is just going to bring out people's inner twat.

      Fail to people.

    2. Gary Littlemore
      Thumb Up

      RE: Izz naize

      Well said, but I can't see them taking any notice.

    3. M man
      Thumb Up

      hear hear!

      hear, hear!

      1. Scott Mckenzie


        'People's inner twat' - Brilliant! But as with the others I do agree... i don't give a shit about cracked games....

    4. Peter Kay

      Not likely..

      Only a small minority are interested in anything other than copying games.

      What can't the PS3 currently do, anyway? It can already play Blu-ray and DVD, iPlayer, youtube and other flash based content. I don't have one but it looks like it can also stream some Internet radio, and there's a load of Linux options.

      OK, so perhaps everything isn't always available simultaneously, but I'm not seeing a huge lack of features.

  3. ratfox

    In before...

    Comments complaining that no, he did not REALLY hack it

  4. jake Silver badge

    Unclear on the concept.

    "His instructions conclude: "The PS3 is hacked, "

    Post proof or retract, li'l georgie.

    "its your job to figure out something useful to do with it."

    Uh ... no. If you claim the hack, you need to show it's useful. That's how it works.

    1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    2. Anonymous Coward


      Why not have a look at the code and see if it works so you can give a qualitative reply? No, that would entail way too much work and require actual understanding.

  5. Annihilator Silver badge


    Difficult it may be, but I'm hoping it's the thin end of the wedge. From there he can potentially figure out a way to load non-official firmware, but that the PS3 *believes* is official.

  6. Anonymous Coward

    "The PS3 is hacked, its your job to figure out something useful to do with it."

    Good luck with that - Sony have been trying and failing to do something useful with the PS3 for years.

    1. Citizen Kaned

      what an ignorant idiot.

      go on then. find a media player, blu-ray player, games console and internet machine for £250.

      1. Anonymous Coward


        Wake me up if GT5 ever gets released.

  7. It wasnt me

    Its a bit quiet round here

    Where is everyone from yesterday saying he hasnt hacked anything?

    1. Highlander

      Right here. What has he hacked exactly?

      All he's done is use a memory bus glitch to interrupt the hypervisor and inject commands to the hypervisor - in otherOS mode - NOT game mode.

      1) this requires physical modification to the PS3 motherboard.

      2) this is only in otherOS mode, which doesn't exist on the new Slim models.

      3) this 'hack' doesn't actually break the security, it bypasses a specific part of the security system.

      4) the fundamental security of the PS3 and CellBE architecture is encryption keys and hardware that exist inside the Cell processor and cannot be accessed externally - this hack doesn't touch that in any way.

      5) this hack does not persist between boots, you have to glitch the system every time to achieve the effect.

      Without access t the encryption system and keys (all of them) no custom firmware will ever run, so the PS3 is not hacked wide open. This might best be described as "PS3 glitched by renowned iPhone hacker".

  8. Anonymous Coward

    @ Stike Vomit

    Your an Idiot!

    What is it with fanboys! I no your only waiting for MarkOne to comment but seriously, have you nothing better to do... loser

    1. Anonymous Coward

      re: "Your(sic) an Idiot!"

      Impressive bit of self-pwning there, kid.

  9. Anonymous Coward

    "its your job to figure out something useful to do with it."

    erm, play games?

    Maybe watch DVD's?

    Listen to a bit of music?

    nah! Don't be silly!

    Lets install Linux on it man, yeah! - w00t. Ssh into it and make it, erm, make it, erm

    serve web pages, yeah, nobodys done that yet!

    play PS1 and PS2 games - w00t - fantastic!

    erm ... tap tap tap ... ah heck, just do it because you can - you know, like when you were five and took all the doorhandles apart in your house, or aged seven when you dismantled your Dads favourite watch, rendering it irrepairable.

    Sock it to da man! - those dirty Sony execs, locking down their games consoles so we can't... erm, well, unlock them... and putting DRM on disks so we can't, erm, copy them... and worse still, not allowing us to play 10 year old games on them - that just sucks!

    ... geohot, oh boy, he has the power man - hot diggidy, he's successfully hacked a games console... what an achievement! - nobel prize for you sonny!

    ... tell ya what, geohot me old son, why don't you try and *make* a games console, now THAT would be impressive.

    1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

      Go ahead, laugh

      I wonder if you will still be laughing when

      - your refrigerator will have DRMs which will not allow you to store red meat (unhealthy) or tomatoes from your local grocer (not "fairtrade" - i.e. not coming from Tesco),

      - your electric tea pot's DRM will only let you boil the water twice a day (to save the planet, Greenies make a lot of campaign contributions, you know),

      - your door lock will have DRM asking your bank whether to let you in (or out) or not (you've accepted that discounted mortgage offer, haven't you?) and

      - your TV will phone the police every time you try to watch an unapproved channel.

      That's not to say about your phone that will log every instance of you saying a politically proscribed word and report it to Google and the Ministry of Truth.

      You will then beg these "5-year olds" to come and hack your equipment for you. And you will not even ask them to find a use for that hack first.

      1. Peter Kay
        Thumb Down

        It's a console, not a PC

        A console. A mostly fixed function, locked down device predominently for playing games and a few films. DRM has been mandatory on pretty much every console, ever, precisely because games were copied (The pricing argument can be had elsewhere). The other reason was to control the games market(Nintendo, Atari, others), which is not necessarily a bad idea if done well.

        I really don't see the problem provided the protection is only on the disk itself, and not tied to either a specific PS3 or requiring online activation - the two evils of the PC world. It's not going to make your spreadsheet crash or otherwise interfere with other programs. It's not a general purpose system, and it is not designed to let the user modify it.

        I have a Dreamcast - a system that permitted easy pirating, which was one reason it failed. It also has quite a good homebrew and emulation scene - and I appreciate this somewhat. The reason I bought it though was the games - any extras are merely a nice to have and can generally also be run on my general purpose computers.

        1. Highlander

          locking down and protecting the device is required

          I think you're missing something when you say that locking down the discs isn;t a problem, but locking down the device is. That logic works when no games are online, and the console is not online. However once you go online you have all the problems of online including cheating, and transaction fraud. For these reasons the device itself has to be secured otherwise there can be n0o basis for any financial transactions, and the ability to prevent cheating in games is compromised completely.

          The problem with all this security is not Sony or the corporations implementing security in their products. The problem is all the fools who try to do the wrong thing with devices. Security would not be required if morons and idiots didn't steal content, use stolen credit cards, fake identities, stolen identities and all the rest. To protect users as well as the companies serving the users, security is required. Without it online commerce would be impossible.

      2. jake Silver badge

        @Vladimir Plouzhnikov

        "I wonder if you will still be laughing when"

        You seem to be unclear on the concept that "hack" means "understanding the issue at hand" ... mostly brought about by the concept that 2a+2b=4 ... when 2a comes from one field, and 2b comes from another ... and 4 is 4, all by itself.

        "- your refrigerator will have DRMs which will not allow you to store red meat (unhealthy) or tomatoes from your local grocer (not "fairtrade" - i.e. not coming from Tesco),"

        I don't store red meat in the fridge or freezer. I dry-age it in my meat locker. Nor do I refrigerate tomatoes, refrigeration kills the flavor (unless you cook the tomatoes first ...).

        "- your electric tea pot's DRM will only let you boil the water twice a day (to save the planet, Greenies make a lot of campaign contributions, you know),"

        I have a pot to boil water in. I have a gas ring (eight, actually, if you include the 85,000 BTU wok station). Gas is cheaper than electricity, per BTU. Why would I use electricity to boil water?

        "- your door lock will have DRM asking your bank whether to let you in (or out) or not (you've accepted that discounted mortgage offer, haven't you?)"

        Unlikely. I install all my own door locks ... and I can pick yours ... Picking locks is a useful skill, occasionally. It's only illegal if the intent is illegal.

        "- your TV will phone the police every time you try to watch an unapproved channel."

        If it's unapproved, it won't be available. And I don't connect the 'phone line to my TV. For that matter, I don't watch TV ... it's a vast wasteland that I see no use in pursuing ...

        "That's not to say about your phone that will log every instance of you saying a politically proscribed word and report it to Google and the Ministry of Truth."

        Might happen. Not here yet ... I'm not going to loose any sleep over this option any time soon.

        "You will then beg these "5-year olds" to come and hack your equipment for you. And you will not even ask them to find a use for that hack first."

        Nah. I can take care of my own ... and I doubt they can pick my door locks. Lack of basics does not a good education make.

  10. Scott Mckenzie


    A decent Media Centre with Media Browser (a la WMC) combined with the PlayTV could be excellent... get AwkwardTV or Media Browser Folk on the case... also it may now be possible to open it up as a Multi Region player for both DVD and BR. If it could do all of those things, whilst streaming your stored content from a NAS it could become an excellent home player.

    As for the games, if they released any good ones i may be interested but i buy my games for my Xbox 360 :)

    1. Citizen Kaned

      drakes fortune 2

      better than anything the xbox has offered since its creation.

      most people will agree FPS on consoles suck. 16 players? pah.

      why do some idiots feel the need to be such fanboys. its a frikkin console. it can do much better media than the xbox (truehd and BR etc) for a little bit more. personally i'd take a ps3 over an xbox any day of the week, but thats my preference. i dont feel the need to bash the deluded fools who bought a crashbox

    2. MJI Silver badge

      Decent games

      There are a lot of decent games, including the best game of last year Uncharted 2 : Among Thieves, definately one of the best games of this generation.

      I could also add in Little Big Planet and Motorstorm.

      Is this an Mk-NDI?

      1. Aortic Aneurysm

        lets not forget

        The upcoming Heavy Rain, and last years Batman game.

        But wait, the ecksbawx has mass effect 2 and bioshock 2 coming out.

        And before anyone starts, I own both consoles, much prefer my ps3 as it is multi-functional out the box. No yearly subscriptions and built-in wireless and bluetooth. You also get a USB charger out the box too. I got this as a present for around £300. I also got 2 free games and 2 Bluray movies as part of the deal.

        Whereas for my xbox (20gb one, bought at £150ish in 2007) I had to buy a wireless adapter (£60 at the time) x2 1 year subs to live (say another £80) plus a charging kit, which I paid around £40 for at the time. I didn't even get a game thrown in, which is my own fault.

        Fanboi's do my nut in.

  11. b b

    "If you claim the hack, you need to show it's useful"

    Spoonfed much?

    He just needs to demonstrate that what he claims to work, works.

    His hack is completely useless to me - I don't even own a PS3. Does that mean the hack doesn't qualify as a hack any more?

    Thought not.

    And people wonder why the RE scene is shrinking - too many kids expecting it all done for them and served up on a plate.


    1. Highlander

      Script kiddies...

      That's what happens when the loudest voices in the tech world are script kiddies who think that hacking consists of assembling pieces of code written by someone else.

    2. jake Silver badge

      @b b

      "Spoonfed much?"

      Don't be daft. I couldn't care too much less about anything to do with the game console scene ... I stopped playing computer games over a third of a century ago, after I completed a port of BASIC Wumpus to PDP 11/40 assembler ...

      Yes, li'l georgie has created a hack in the hackish sense ... however, it is roughly the mid '70s equivalent of wardialing your entire local exchange several times in a row, and getting a login prompt once ... without the login name and password to do the follow-up. And without the ability to guarantee that login prompt in the future.

      In other words, bloody useless.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    That's "peek", not "peak"

    And I hope you're typing "console" with the stress on the first syllable...

  13. Joe K
    Dead Vulture

    Right here

    He hasn't "hacked it wide open".

    Using a hardware interface he can spam a few memory allocation calls behind the veil of the HyperVisor, while in Linux on an old PS3.

    Actually, he has hacked, in the very old skool sense, and in the best way, using hardware to see how something works and make it do something it shouldn't.

    But from his blog it looks like he's given up now, probably realised that no amount of poking will get the decryption keys out of the locked down SPU, anymore than shouting at a safe will unlock it.

    1. Highlander


      He has done exactly what I thought he would. He is an attention seeker, and has blitzed the media with "I hacked the PS3" claims. Now he got the web hits and the fame, he's doing something else. But when you go back and look at this hack, it really doesn't do anything or bring anything new. As you say, he finally read the Cell documentation and the various papers on cell architecture and security and realized that his chances of getting any further are slim to non-existent. So, he backs off feigning a lack of interest.

      I've no doubt he's smart and talented, but I think his ambition overtook his knowledge of the POS3 and he made a very public and premature claim that he can't really substantiate.

      Who knows? I could be wrong - but I doubt it.

  14. Anonymous Coward

    take a peak


  15. Cameron Colley

    Isn't this a DMCA violation?

    Will be interesting to see Sony's response to this.

    1. Highlander

      Why bother responding?

      So far this hack has done little more than impact on the surface of Cell/PS3 security. Short of using the force, I don't know this 'hack' will go any further towards custom firmware, or game theft.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The best possibly outcome of this hack....

    Multi-Region Blue Ray playback ?

    1. Citizen Kaned

      a lot of BR are region free anyway.

      just in case you didnt know. have a look on the net and there are some lists

  17. Alexander Kaye

    only thing i'm interested in is.....

    being able to play multi-region dvd and blu-rays.

    1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov


      ... not being concerned that your player will be bricked through key revocation next time you insert a new disc or it connects to the 'net to get a forced firmware update.

  18. Anonymous Coward

    accoarding to the bbc

    Accoarding to the bbc R1 newsbeat It now means you can play pirate games and blu-rays, and also a number of Radio1 listeners have been playing pirated games on the ps3 since it came out. Both made me laugh as neither is remotely true. In the old days Journalists used to check their facts before running stories.

    1. MJI Silver badge

      Pirate games

      Pirates of the Caribbean games get pretty poor reviews

    2. IndianaJ

      Oh so true

      I love a tech story making the main news. Watching the bumbling 'expert' try and explain something in layman's terms. And Click! just makes me whince at the amount of bollocks it spouts.

    3. Andrew James


      Radio 1, hell, the BBC in general, has been dumbing down its news to an astonishing degree. I have noticed it more and more in recent months. I heard the example that you gave too.

      And if you check the bbc technology news pages there is a story running on the Apple product launch today that is pathetic. Only marginally better than the version of it that was read out on BBC Radio 5 live this morning by a woman who had no idea that a fruit could also be a communications technology company.

    4. Highlander

      What is the BBCs problem with Sony?

      The Beeb seems to have a real passion for disinformation about the PS3. What's their problem? Does someone high up in the corporation own a chunk of Microsoft?

  19. Craig 12

    No need?

    The PS3 can already do most stuff, there is barely any need to all this very hit-and-miss hacking.

    It can already do blu ray, dvd, xvid, net surfing, iplayer, flash, stream from nas, freeview + recording, the list gos on. SD cards, replaceable hard drives; sony couldn't have made a nicer 'corporate' machine.

    Get a launch one, and you can play SACDs in addition to PS1 and PS2 games fully.

    If it still doesn't do it for you, get an atom/ion based blu pc or popcorn hour, both similarly priced. If anything comes of this, it'll be piracy.

    1. John H Woods Silver badge


      ... get a launch one, and when it eventually breaks down, SONY will provide you a replacement for 140 GBP. No receipt, no warranty, no matter. I have one complaint about my PS3 - no DVORAK keyboard setting (despite having all kinds of esoteric language options).

      Not a huge deal, because when I complained about it on teh interwebtubes some electronics genius from the far east sent me instructions on how to make an in-line keyboard translator using a micro controller. And when I told him it was too hard for me, he made me one and sent it! Now that's more useful to me than Geohot's work :-)

      1. Peter Kay

        Nice, although there are also other ways

        If you google for 'pckeyboards' you'll reach the homepage of Unicomp, who took over manufacturing of IBM's keyboards including the Model M ('the clicky one'). They'll do you a custom PS/2 keyboard hard wired to whichever keyboard layout you specify for a very reasonable price (shipping is a bit painful, though, due to weight and duty).

        The only issue is that I presume the PS3 takes a USB input. PS/2 to USB converters tend to be a bit picky with older IBM keyboards, but some do work.

        This message typed on a hardwired UK Dvorak keyboard, although Windows thinks it's a UK keyboard.

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