Skip to main content

Long read: The beauty and drama of video games and their clouds

"It's a little bit hard to work out without knowing the altitude of that dragon..."

If you click on a link and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. Read our editorial policy.

Geohot releases "hack" for PS3

"Hopefully this will ignite the scene."

iPhone hacker George Hotz, aka Geohot, today released his PlayStation 3 "hack" - inviting other coders to pick up the baton and continue his research.

"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," Hotz wrote on his blog. "I have a life to get back to and can't keep working on this all day and night."

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. In time-honoured hacking fashion, Hotz is glitching the memory bus to effectively turn a small hole in RAM into one that encompasses the entire system.

In terms of what the hack is, what it isn't, and what it potentially leads to, Hotz himself suggests taking a look at yesterday's Digital Foundry article about his work, which explains the relationship between his exploit and the overall security scheme that makes PlayStation 3 one of the most hacker-unfriendly games machine ever released.

Reaction to Geohot's work has been somewhat mixed. While it is acknowledged that the system itself is now more vulnerable to a more concentrated attack, many take issue with Hotz's claims that the PS3 has been "hacked", as the CELL processor's internal decryption algorithms remain impenetrable (for now) and we have yet to see actual "homebrew" code running within the GameOS area of the console.

"Hacking is breaking the security of the system, which I have done," Hotz responded. "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 anymore. 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."