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New firmware fixes PSP exploit

3.51 crushes Lumines hack.

Sony has updated PlayStation Portable firmware to version 3.51 after hackers found a way to bypass security in its most recent update and downgrade firmware.

The virtue of doing that from a hacker's perspective is that older firmware is capable of running homebrew applications and - the bit Sony worries about - pirated games.

PSPUpdates.com, which follows the homebrew scene and associated hacks closely, explains that all the exploit entails is getting hold of a copy of Q Entertainment's Lumines, unzipping some files onto a Memory Stick in a certain directory, and then pressing the Start button at a certain point during the game's initial load sequence.

Sony's new firmware, which doesn't appear to include any other changes, is available through the platform holder's Japanese website, although its US and European equivalents have yet to catch up.

The latest firmware drama marks yet another turn in a running battle Sony has been conducting with hackers ever since the PSP launched in December 2004. Previous hacks have included an exploit built around Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories - the PSP's best-selling game to date - and the game was subsequently patched and re-released by published Take-Two.