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PlayStation 3 hack could be online within weeks

iPhone hacker George Hotz breaks Sony's console, opening system to piracy, backwards compatibility and other operating systems

Notorious iPhone hacker George Hotz has apparently cracked Sony's PlayStation 3, opening the console up to pirate and homebrew software.

Hotz, who spent five weeks working on the hack, told BBC News that he did it out of curiosity, and is likely to post details online as soon as he's completely finished his work.

"It's supposed to be unhackable - but nothing is unhackable," said Hotz. "I can now do whatever I want with the system. It's like I've got an awesome new power - I'm just not sure how to wield it."

Hotz hasn't cracked the entire system, but claims to have accessed the root key, with a method using "5 per cent hardware and 95 per cent software". "You can use hardware to inject an insecurity and then you can build on that," he detailed.

"PS3 is the most secure games console ever released," said Richard Leadbetter, editor of Eurogamer's Digital Foundry blog. "The modchip makers have been puzzling over it for years, other hackers have tried their hands at reverse-engineering development hardware and all attempts to turn retail units into the debug ones (opening the door to piracy) have also failed.

"The security on the Blu-ray games has never been cracked either. All bets are off now if hackers have access to the system right from the moment it boots."

The hack could allow users to run alternative operating systems on the PlayStation 3, as well as play PlayStation 2 software and pirated games.

"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."

Sony said that it was "investigating the report and will clarify the situation once we have more information."

Hotz unlocked the iPhone when was he was 17, opening it up more than one network, and posted details online for others to take advantage of.

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Matt Martin avatar
Matt Martin: Matt Martin joined GamesIndustry in 2006 and was made editor of the site in 2008. With over ten years experience in journalism, he has written for multiple trade, consumer, contract and business-to-business publications in the games, retail and technology sectors.
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