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PlayStation 3 hacked again?

PSJailbreak "successor" spotted in Far East.

Reports are emerging that the PlayStation 3 has been hacked once again in the form of a successor to the original PSJailbreak, dubbed "JB2".

Similar to the first hack, JB2 apparently takes the form of a USB dongle that plugs directly into the PS3 and compromises the system on power-up. Videos released so far of the device in action appear to show an extended boot -up period before the XMB finally appears, featuring a number of options only available to developer consoles, allowing for the installation of unsigned code.

The hack is curious in that unlike the older Jailbreaks, newer games cannot be run from the hard drive: instead, burned Blu-ray discs are used instead with the PS3 appearing to recognise them as legitimate pressed games. Older titles that pre-date the 3.60 update that locked out current piracy methods allegedly work from the hard drive as normal. This opens up the unpalatable suggestion that not only will the makers of JB2 make money from selling the dongles, but a black market of burned software could also emerge. Alternatively, it may simply mean that a debug console - which can work with BD-R discs - was used to create a fabricated video.

According to sources, the dongle has undergone a small launch in Indonesia ahead of a global roll-out, with a small range of pirate games including titles like PES 2012, Driver: San Francisco, God of War Collection Volume II and FIFA 12 being made available. The notion of limited titles being available may suggest that the games are being reverse-engineered, and that only some games may work with the new hack. Alternatively, the makers may simply be releasing the latest games first in order to maximise revenues with the small window of opportunity available before Sony legal gets on the case.

Previous "custom firmwares" could allow for the modification of game code and assets, allowing for an unfair advantage for cheats accessing the PlayStation Network. Although it appears to run new games, JB2 is apparently based on the same 3.55 firmware as older hacks, so there's a very strong possibility that PSN access will remain off limits for those running pirate software.

It's still unconfirmed beyond all doubt whether JB2 is the real deal or not. However, the evidence piling up over the last 24 hours does suggest that Sony's successful anti-piracy measures - which kicked off with the release of Portal 2 and the 3.60 firmware just over six months ago - may have finally been overcome.

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Richard Leadbetter avatar

Richard Leadbetter

Technology Editor, Digital Foundry

Rich has been a games journalist since the days of 16-bit and specialises in technical analysis. He's commonly known around Eurogamer as the Blacksmith of the Future.

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