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Has PlayStation 4 been hacked?

System RAM dumped via high-level exploit.

A couple of days ago, reports emerged that an exploit that been found on PlayStation 4, giving users complete access to the system RAM of Sony's latest console. Hacker CTurt revealed the methodology, which involves exploiting PS4's WebKit browser, and somehow giving the process Kernel-level access - essentially the highest security level available within the system.

This NeoGAF thread gives an overall outlook on what has been achieved with this exploit so far, but it is safe to say that it's early days and the net result of the exploit so far has been to provide a new insight into the operating system and its processes along with a basic look at the PS4's hard drive file system.

CTurt commented that "you could say that PS4 is now officially Jailbroken", producing a torrent of Twitter requests for piracy, but the truth is that the short-term damage offered by this exploit is minimal. It seems that the exploit was carried out on a PlayStation 4 running the ancient firmware 1.76, and it was patched out of existence with the 2.0 system software update. Right now, the PS4 runs with version 3.11 software.

However, even if the exploit still persisted on the newest firmware, dismantling PS4's security would not be an easy task, even with this hack - the all-important encryption keys required to create custom firmware appear to remain completely out of reach.

This seemingly isn't the first time that PS4 security has been compromised - reports emerged in May of Brazilian retailers cloning the PS4's NAND flash and hard drive in order to sell batches of pirate software to consumers. We looked into it at the time and couldn't find first-hand confirmation, but certainly this involved, limited technique didn't seem to catch on.

We'll be keeping an eye on this new exploit, but right now it seems that hackers have a useful tool in researching the PlayStation 4 OS but little more. However, on a more general level, the concern is that any kind of high-level access to the system could give more malicious hackers a helping hand in more fully compromising the system further on down the road. We would hope that Sony learned a lot from the PS3 hack, and will hopefully be able to respond to any genuine security threat quickly and effectively.

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