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Hackers revive PS3 OtherOS feature

Linux compatibility returns to PlayStation 3 in unofficial firmware update

Hobbyists have released an unofficial patch for the PlayStation 3 which adds an enhanced version of the original OtherOS feature, allowing Linux to be installed on the console.

The update is named OtherOS++ and according to hacker Graf Chokolo, "can read/write anything in PS3 RAM" and is "very useful for HV hacking".

The software allows for much greater control of the PlayStation 3's memory and systems than the original official feature and works by exploiting an older version of the firmware.

The OtherOS option was disabled from the PlayStation 3 in March 2010, amidst "security concerns". These followed from infamous hacker George Hotz exploiting the feature to gain full read/write access to the console.

Although OtherOS was not widely used by ordinary users its removal became a rallying cause for hackers and only increased their interest in the PlayStation 3.

In January of this year hacking team Fail0verflow released information on how to completely circumvent the security measures of the PlayStation 3 - citing the removal of OtherOS as the catalyst for their actions.

Other disgruntled users chose to sue Sony as part of a class action in the U.S., while activist group Anonymous often mentioned the feature as a key reason behind their attacks on Sony.

However, there has been no suggestion thus far that the feature is involved in the ongoing PlayStation Network security breach, in terms of either the motivations of the hackers or their means of entry into the system.

Author

David Jenkins

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