Hotz releases PlayStation 3 hack

Exploit goes public to "ignite the PS3 scene"

PlayStation 3 hacker George Hotz has released his exploit for the console, inviting others to expand on and develop his work.

"Hopefully this will ignite the PS3 scene, and you will organise and figure out how to use this to do practical things, like the iPhone when jailbreaks were first released," wrote Hotz on his blog. "I have a life to get back to and can't keep working on this all day and night."

According to Digital Foundry's Richard Leadbetter, writing for, "the released hack contains details of the interface Hotz created and sample code for adding complete read/write access to the PS3 via OtherOS/Linux. It also explains how the hardware is used in opening up the system, with Hotz glitching the memory bus to effectively turn a small hole in RAM into one that encompasses the entire system."

Hotz confirmed over the weekend that he had hacked the console, saying that he did it out of curiosity and did not intend to get involved in any games piracy.

"I'm not going to personally have anything to do with that," said Hotz. "To tell you the truth, I've never really played a PS3. I have one game, but I've never really played it."

Although Hotz claims the PS3 has now been hacked, the internal decryption algorithms of the CELL processor are impenetrable and no homebrew code has yet been seen running on the console.

"Hacking is breaking the security of the system, which I have done," said Hotz. "I'm not spending my time writing custom firmware, ISO loaders, and an open SDK. Leave that to somebody else...

"I didn't give up, I'm just not spending all day on it any more. I have other things to do. Just because I don't do something doesn't mean I can't do it. Unlike the iPhone, there isn't a clear definition of hacked (as in unlocked or jailbroken). This is code execution at the highest privilege level."

A detailed account of Hotz's exploit can be read on Digital Foundry.

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Latest comments (3)

Otakar Schon Technology editor, Economia12 years ago
This guy is a genius and there is no doubt about it. And he is right he has more important things to do as with mind like this he can do great things for any ITC company out there. As much as I hope there will be no piracy on PS3 for a long time to come, I wish Hotz the very best luck in his further endeavors.
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Kingman Cheng Illustrator and Animator 12 years ago
I think this is fantastic, it was very arrogant of Sony to claim the PS3 was unhackable when nothing we humans make is hack-proof. Genius.
I say that not to support piracy but because I think it's a good wake up call for Sony.
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Andrew Jakobs Lead Programmer 12 years ago
According to some people in the PS3-homebrew scene, Hotz hasn't really done anything that wasn't already partially possible, he only 'hacked' the tiny first part of the whole security of the PS3, and appearantly it isn't possible to get to the needed rootkey which is embedded into the hardware and is not accessible via the cpu/memory.. Also this hack is only possible on the older PS3's which support OtherOS, so any Slim version is out of 'luck', and it wasn't tested with the latest firmware..
Also Sony never claimed the PS3 was unhackable, it was mere reporters who made that claim as it really still hasn't been hacked..

But we will see what this 'hack' might eventually turn into, it might open up the possibility of creating hardware accelerated 3D drivers under linux, and as an indy-developer that's a lot to look forward to..
I do hope they can't hack the PS3 to be able to use ISOloaders etc, as now a lot of developers where slowly flocking to the PS3 because there weren't any possible ways of pirating PS3 games, and I still hope this stays that way..
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