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PS3 modders claiming to be able to unban machines

Mon 21 Feb 2011 1:38pm GMT / 8:38am EST / 5:38am PST
HardwareRumour

New hack allegedly allows users to ban other consoles, too

Sony Computer Entertainment

Sony Computer Entertainment is a Japanese videogame company specialising in a variety of areas in the...

playstation.com

Reports indicate that a new PlayStation 3 hack has enabled modders and hackers to unban their consoles from PSN, as well as letting them ban any other console which they have the serial number for.

Just last week, Sony threatened that anyone detected using a hacked or modded PS3 would be kicked from the PlayStation Network and permanently banned.

Now, Destructoid reports that this has been circumvented by a new security breach allowing users to control the ban-state of their machines and accounts.

The move is another escalation in the ongoing conflict between hackers and Sony, which has centred around George 'GeoHotz' Hotz and the hacking team fail0verflow, who collectively are accused of programming and publishing the "Jailbreak" hack which allows PS3 owners to play uncopyrighted material. Sony is in the process of suing those involved.

23 Comments

"The bigger they are, the harder they fall", huh? Well, the PS3 DID take some 4 years to crack...

Posted:3 years ago

#1

Aleksi Ranta
Product Manager - Hardware

246 96 0.4
Pretty worrying if this is true. Coming home and finding your consoled banned for no reason.

Posted:3 years ago

#2

David Vink
Freelance

19 14 0.7
These hackers are really starting to get on my nerves. I feel like I'm downloading a new firmware update every other day because of them.

Posted:3 years ago

#3

Tom Keresztes
Programmer

632 223 0.4
All of the major platforms were cracked sooner or later, but i dont think any 'crack' received as much publicity as the recent PS3...

Posted:3 years ago

#4

Graeme Quantrill
Mobile App Developer

43 8 0.2
Perhaps if Sony made some differentiation between pirate and hacker (i.e. homebrew) then they might not attract so much unwanted attention. As it stands though, they don't therefore have all this coming. Oh, and perhaps if they had some form of prevention in place before this happened rather than afterwards; that'd be an advantage

Posted:3 years ago

#5

Jas Purewal
Solicitor

35 0 0.0
@Graeme - in fairness to Sony, they had some decent arguments that the PS3 homebrew functionality only had a small legitimate usage, and was mainly used for piracy. That's why they got rid of Other OS in the first place.

Posted:3 years ago

#6

Greg Wilcox
Creator, Destroy All Fanboys!

1,993 902 0.5
Er... Graeme. These "homebrewers?" Where the hell are they and if they have games that are so damn good, why aren't they making money selling them as minis on PSN or otherwise getting the word out about what they do that's so interesting?

This is getting out of hand, period. Legitimate gripes against the removal of a function over 90% of the core user base cares not two shits about and a bunch of jerks now threatening a mod that can ban users who shouldn't even NEED to be worrying about this sort of crap are a few leagues apart.

If they all want to get the bag of legal hammers thrown at their heads, let them keep it up. It's just going to turn more folks against THEM in the long run when Sony keeps adding updates and other restrictions because a bunch of talented babies can't let it go. Basta es basta, already.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Greg Wilcox on 21st February 2011 4:38pm

Posted:3 years ago

#7

Alan Pierce
Programmer

63 19 0.3
@Greg. Homebrew isn't necessarily about making great games, it's about making programs on consoles without the use of official libraries. That's the challenge, and it makes it worthwhile to them.

If they do have access to to be able to ban consoles, then that is a huge flaw and I'm glad it's been given some publicity.

Posted:3 years ago

#8

David Bachowski
VP Business Development

66 0 0.0
unfortunately I see these issues getting worse in the future...

Posted:3 years ago

#9

Andrew Jakobs
Lead Programmer

209 74 0.4
@Jas: If OtherOS was a problem for piracy, why did they remove it in the first place on the Slim, well before Geohot had an 'opening' through OtherOS (because that's what it was, just an opening, the whole real hacking and progress was because of the USB Jailbreak method, not Geohot's HW modding hack).
And even if it was a small percentage of users that was actually using OtherOS, it still was a promoted feature and for those people a big reason to buy the PS3.. No the only reason Sony had OtherOS in the first place was to circumvent tax laws in some countries, when the productionprice was lower they could remove it because it wasn't a big chunk of the costs anymore, so it was removed from the Slim with some BS that it was due to technical difficulties (well we all know now that that was pure BS because it runs perfectly on a Slim) but then they still had to support it on the Phat which was a major thorn in there eye (as maintaining it also costs some money), but luckily they found a plausible reason for removing it, which was Geohot..

@greg: even if it's 90% who didn't care about the feature, it's still a feature that the PS3 was sold with and for 10% a reason to buy the PS3 (for me actually it was the feature that made me decide to buy the PS3 next to the blurayplayer, playing PS3 games was a nice extra). Just imagine how you would like it if they removes the gaming part just because it would interfere with their bluraymovie business... The only way to use my PS3 now with all the function when I bought it, is by running a CFW..
Ofcourse I agree with sony banning people who cheat (but you don't need a hacked PS3 for that), or people who pirate games (those are people who misuse the tools given by the hackers), especially with the current alleged 'spying'software running on the PS3 sony could certainly detect if someone is using the CFW for homebrew or for pirating..

Posted:3 years ago

#10

Lee Ward
Education

8 0 0.0
It's rather shoddy that Sony's development team did such a terrible botch job in the first place. First, a random number generator that generates 4 every time, next credit card details being sent in plain-text (not via SSL) and now it's possible to, from outside of Sony's private networks, to remove console bans? How soon before we see PSN Server emulators, followed by people hosting their own PSN game servers as if the consoles were PCs?

Microsoft really nailed it with pretty much everything. I'm assuming from a lack of news that Nintendo got their system security right too (as simple as it is) unless I missed something.

Posted:3 years ago

#11

Josef Brett
Animator

296 0 0.0
Can these people just leave it now

Posted:3 years ago

#12

Private
Industry

1,187 185 0.2
This is not more than a theory, it`s nothing they can actually do at the moment. It`s like theorizing about building a base on the moon, it`s perfectly easy in theory but problematic once you actually try to do it.

@Andrew: It does not mater why OtherOS was not included in the slim, it did not ship with it period and the slim was never advertised with it. If people didn`t like it the fat PS3`s where discounted and cheaper anyway. Did it save them money? Maybe. When every person is complaining it`s to expensive you look at what you can sacrifice that`s not important. And Linux support for a game console is very very high on the list of not important things. We are talking here about a company that needs to make money in order to keep producing devices in that category. As for OtherOS, as you say yourself it was removed after Hotz started hacking into the system using Linux. It doesn`t mater how far he got, it was a security risk and got shut down and it was thanks to him.

If I would have bought a PS3 for the reason of OtherOS and it got removed I would be very thankful to Hotz since it was his doings that caused that. I`m sure without the hacking it would be still there.

Regarding homebrew, well I would suggest those people to get XNA that`s for free, start doing stuff for Android or just get a PC. With those options they can do a lot more useful stuff and even might make money by doing that. Where was all that amazing homebrew stuff while OtherOS was still there and where is it now? Great now you can unlock trophies and use pirated games, that`s certainly a great homebrew community that Hotz is supporting there. Without them and their awesome creations life would be meaningless.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Private on 21st February 2011 11:28pm

Posted:3 years ago

#13

Gregory Hommel
writer

92 53 0.6
There's plenty of hacking/modding on the 360. No one has ever needed much of an excuse to give Sony bad press. The gaming industry has found a rut that it wants to stay in and exploit for every dollar they can. The PS3 has significantly raised development costs as well as consumers' expectations. There is no doubt in my mind that the heavy coverage of this story is due to that very situation. I would even go farther by saying that very sentiment in the industry is what led to the hacking in the first place. If malice or distribution were the goal, the 360 makes a much better environment. I really can't remember the last bit of bad press Sony had before this. The news was overwhelmingly positive for a long time actually. The future of the PS3 looks bright indeed. Conversely, what are 360 users looking forward to? Adding their avatars to Live Arcade games?

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Gregory Hommel on 22nd February 2011 3:52am

Posted:3 years ago

#14

Klaus Preisinger
Freelance Writing

953 804 0.8
I can only point to Valve. They introduced VAC, but they did not ban all cheaters from all multiplayer access, they tried to establish a VAC zone and a wild zone. Even if the borders are blurry, the resulting trust into Steam and VAC is relatively higher than in the PSN with its extremist approach.

The facts are simple. Sony tries to stop hacks by remotely accessing PS3 systems as deeply as humanly possible. Their problem being that hackers can penetrate the system just as deep. With both sides having equal access, the current situation cannot be resolved by a shitting contest of who can switch bytes in firmware fastest.

Posted:3 years ago

#15
@Aleksi You shouldn't worry about coming home and seeing your console banned on PSN it's not that simple, every PS3 has a unique serial number that you can only know if you look it up on your console and send it to them in your email.

In other words, as long as you don't know your own serial like I do, you got nothing to fear ;)

Just be carefull of emails or something pretending to ask for your serial...even tho they might look completly official, 100% sure they're not.

Posted:3 years ago

#16

James Verity

132 25 0.2
George 'GeoHotz' Hotz has just been touting for donations for legal defence... he's alleged been given it in $2,500 wedges... hes stopped asking now as he now has enough money for the time being...

as for Sony threatening people hacking will be banned from PSN... yeah right... friends and I have reported in access of 150 people running hacks and Sony has done twiddly pop about them, they are still active on PSN, and still running their hacks...

anyone thought of a PS3 serial number generator?

Edited 1 times. Last edit by James Verity on 22nd February 2011 9:07am

Posted:3 years ago

#17

Curt Sampson
Sofware Developer

564 278 0.5
Andrew:

Nice try on the tax thing, but the law that taxed consoles more than computers has been gone since 2005.

We can ignore the BS from Sony; you know as well as I do that maintaining features costs money (and often a lot of money), and it's pretty darn likely that they just didn't want to spend the money to maintain the other OS feature, especially given the tiny market for it.

Sony was doing the world a favour by providing the ability to run Linux on a PS3 in 2005; at that point it was a fairly powerful machine for the price. Now, buying a PS3 to run Linux for that reason would be just silly when you can get far, far more processing power for the same price with a PC. If Sony's going to spend money just to make the world a better place, there are better places they could spend it.

As for it being "a feature the PS3 was sold with": it's still in the PS3s sold with it unless you updated the firmware, and if you did that, you knew what you were doing. I don't see why we get all this brouhaha about losing Linux when we lost the PS2 emulation, which is far more valuable to the vast majority of PS3 owners.

Nobody seems to realize that when they say that Sony should have kept the ability to run Linux, they're also saying that either a) Sony should have raised the price of the PS3 to cover the cost of this feature, or b) Sony should have dropped some other feature in favour of this. All software development is a trade-off, folks.

Update: I was incorrect; duty hasn't been an issue for "computers" vs. "consoles" since 2004. Here are the details.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Curt Sampson on 22nd February 2011 12:01pm

Posted:3 years ago

#18

Shane Sweeney
Academic

329 211 0.6
@Greg Wilcox
"Er... Graeme. These "homebrewers?" Where the hell are they and if they have games that are so damn good, why aren't they making money selling them as minis on PSN or otherwise getting the word out about what they do that's so interesting?"
Home Brew is illegal. So only subversives with no financial motivations dare try. Arguing there is no legitimate home brew scene (read not just games) when legitimacy is impossible is flawed reasoning to ban hacking.

Posted:3 years ago

#19

Shane Sweeney
Academic

329 211 0.6
@Greg Wilcox
"Er... Graeme. These "homebrewers?" Where the hell are they and if they have games that are so damn good, why aren't they making money selling them as minis on PSN or otherwise getting the word out about what they do that's so interesting?"
Home Brew is illegal. So only subversives with no financial motivations dare try. Arguing there is no legitimate home brew scene (read not just games) when legitimacy is impossible is flawed reasoning to ban hacking.

I find this entire path of reasoning flawed. Just because only 2% of people contribute to Free Software projects does not mean the free software movement is dead anymore then the fact that only 2% remix content so the pursuit of lesser copyright laws are flawed.

The 2% is why start ups like Google were possible.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Shane Sweeney on 22nd February 2011 11:24am

Posted:3 years ago

#20

Curt Sampson
Sofware Developer

564 278 0.5
Home-brew isn't illegal. Doing certain things to enable yourself to make home-brew apps where you otherwise couldn't is illegal in some places (particularly anywhere where there's a DMCA-like law), but that's a much more limited scenario. (There exist large perfectly legal home-brew communities for, e.g., the Atari 2600.) There's also a reasonable moral and societal case to be made that even the current things one needs to do to do home-brew on some platforms should be legal.

Posted:3 years ago

#21

Paul Cardy
Programmer

16 0 0.0
@Curt

Your second article seems to describe the PS3 as a computer - i.e., it has (had) programmable functionality. Also, both articles mention the PS2, which lacked an 'OtherOS' and would seem to support the argument that an 'OtherOS' was added to the PS3 as a tax dodge.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Paul Cardy on 22nd February 2011 12:30pm

Posted:3 years ago

#22

Curt Sampson
Sofware Developer

564 278 0.5
Paul: how can it be a tax dodge if they pay the same in taxes with or without OtherOS? I made it quite clear in my post that the taxes under which Sony made their appeal about the PS2 simply didn't exist by the time the PS3 came out. And the PS2 ran Linux; are you trying to claim that it didn't, or just saying that while it's the same funtionality, it's not "OtherOS" in some way?

Posted:3 years ago

#23

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