SciTechBlog   « Back to Blog Main
January 26, 2010

Hacker says he's unlocked the PS3

Posted: 03:35 PM ET

More than three years after its initial release, the PlayStation 3 has allegedly been hacked.

George Hotz, aka "GeoHot," recently announced the feat on his blog. "I have read/write access to the entire system memory, and HV level access to the processor. In other words, I have hacked the PS3."

The practice of hacking or "modding" a video game console is fairly common. Directions to modify the Xbox and Xbox 360, and even instructional videos, can be found online. But the PS3 has remained largely secure.

"It's supposed to be unhackable - but nothing is unhackable," Hotz told BBC News.

Hotz, a 20-year-old American who is famous for his iPhone jailbreaking and unlocking software, has not yet released the PS3 exploit, but claims updates are coming.

Unlike cell-phone unlocking (which receives an exemption from the Digital Millennium Copyright Act), bypassing the DRM security of a video game system can be considered a violation of the DMCA, and "modders" have been arrested for circumventing anti-piracy measures in the past.

While speaking with BBC news, Hotz admitted the hack could allow people to run pirated games or homemade software, but says his motivation was primarily curiosity at "opening up the system."

"To tell you the truth, I've never really played a PS3," he said. "I have one game, but I've never really played it."

Update (1/27/10):

Hotz has decided to release the PS3 exploit on his blog: http://geohotps3.blogspot.com/

Posted by:
Filed under: DRM • Gaming • iPhone • piracy


Share this on:
Jarrod   January 26th, 2010 3:56 pm ET

I dont see how this really opens things up for people other than Pirated software. With the changes required, it should be extremely easy to identify rogue systems and cut them off at that. For the majority of people this wont even be a big thing. The PS3 already covers the wants of people who would normally Mod a box such as your own OS, streaming media, movies etc etc etc. One thumbs up for at least keeping yourself entertained.


BosleyBeats   January 26th, 2010 4:02 pm ET

My favourite quote of the whole article:

"To tell you the truth, I've never really played a PS3," he said. "I have one game, but I've never really played it."

Hah!

Yes, Sony's offering of a console this go-around has been a *littttttle* weak, sadly to say; and I love my sony products! MS just got it right with that XB360...


shua   January 26th, 2010 4:09 pm ET

how do you think these companies come up with their security measures? by finding out about the weaknesses in the system. This guy just did sony a favor.


heeeeyyyyy   January 26th, 2010 4:23 pm ET

@Jarrod
WRONG. There is tons of potential for modding the PS3 that has nothing to do with piracy. Similar to jailbroken iphones, one could "hack" their PS3 and load custom applications for their systems. Better web browsers, a non-disc based Netflix streaming application, Twitter/Facebook apps, custom made games, etc..


Micheal M.   January 26th, 2010 4:24 pm ET

This is a great thing if your a tech-geek or a videogame fan. If you're neither this is just as important as the date the predessessor of pong was accidently discovered. An unlocked console is a great thing for those of us who are interested in the dealings with the video game industry. I compare it to space exploration. Because, that can also lead to underground or homebrew games. Even though the homebrew scene is frowned upon by most. Its the one of the things aspiring video game designers or avid fans of the industry love because of the knowlege and possibilities that it gives. Next stop. THE SLATE!!!


Bro   January 26th, 2010 4:30 pm ET

PS3 has no games.


Riley   January 26th, 2010 4:49 pm ET

Will proper discipline actions take place if this video is released on how to hack the PS3?


shutupjarrod   January 26th, 2010 5:20 pm ET

Kudos to Sony for making a system that took so many years to hack.

But hacking a system you OWN should not be illegal. The government has no business in this. Microsoft or Sony or Nintendo or whoever are free to develop and market other systems that are even more difficult to hack and to sell their games @ 70% margins until the next Hotz figures it out. The cycle continues, thats business.

Maybe hire this kid Hotz and get him under contract instead of running off whining to big brother government to squash him for you.


Steve   January 26th, 2010 5:53 pm ET

The real potential and threat to hacking a PS3/xbox 360 is running an OS capable of running pc games. The reason being the PS3/Xbox 360 is under a special contract with it's customized hardware developers. If people are able to bypass spending hundreds on their PC home brew to play the latest video games, then money spent on their hardware goes down. A normal gaming pc with similar specs goes around 600-700 bucks if used. A normal ps3/xbox is around 200-300 for the same specs. Any pc gamer that needs to upgrade their pc would not purchase any new hardware but purchase these consoles and modify them as PC's. That's why it threatens the entire gaming market if you start making console pc hybrids.


Johnny Five   January 26th, 2010 5:56 pm ET

This is actually very old news. He also isn't the first person to do this, A south american modder by the name of DarkAlex modded the PSP and the PS3. (And has subsequently modded through every firmware that Sony has released.)


Marcus   January 26th, 2010 6:07 pm ET

This is big news and seeing as how i know the guy and he hasnt told me about it, it makes me very sad indeed..

We'll talk and i will assure that he wont be releasing the exploit just yet because its to risky atm.


orB   January 26th, 2010 8:46 pm ET

I'm assuming this crack will allow you to play games on the PS3 since it has no games.


haidar   January 26th, 2010 9:40 pm ET

LOLOLOLOLOL!!!!!!!!!

I mean I love Sony and think that their work is great but honestly, this PS3 hacking isnt something special. now don't get me wrong there's alot of potential in a hacked PS3 system but i'm just saying that it was expected, no need to winge and whine about something that you would expect.

Everything gets hacked one day.


NAS   January 26th, 2010 10:24 pm ET

i think that's true up to the point where hacking the hardware gives you access to things that in real life would be the equivalent of stealing.

For example, if hacking the ps3 somehow opened up the sony online game store contents and one were now able to be downloaded one or them all for free.

The netflix mod above would be a great example of something that should be protected. It doesn't give the end user anything but a little more convenience.

I think it's laughable that companies sell millions of people a hunk of plastic and metal and then say oh by the way we still own it in x y and z circumstances and all the lil bits of code on the pieces of silicone inside ur lil plastic box are still ours and you're not allowed to try to look at it. Really corporate america, you can't have it both ways. Next we'll have EULA's for copyrighted air we'll breathe to confer some health benefits once we get old.

"The nanobots in your lungs, airway, and bloodstream remain the property of the microsoft corporation and you are not allowed to view, analyze or reverse engineer the code within them for any reason. Side effects may include spontaneously talking like PC Guy (easter egg), verbally uttering Zune ads at inappropriate moments, or turning spontaneiously turning blue and passing out. Please consult your doctor before taking MSNaNo v 1.a...

Brave new world we'll be living in if the political and judicial system don't severely do an about face on ownership concepts in our society.


XBOX Man   January 26th, 2010 11:10 pm ET

I wish I had a PS3 after 3 XBOX fails.


Steve J   January 27th, 2010 12:24 am ET

The hack has already been released to those who want it.

BTW, the hack is ONLY FOR OLDER (non-sliim) PS3s running Linux...it's not a hack to the firmware that controls all the gaming functions. And he has no intentions of doing that!


Kevin   January 27th, 2010 12:30 am ET

We don't arrest people in cars because they have the potential to commit vehicular homicide. It's basically the same with a console. I bought it with my money so as long as I pay for what I play I should be able to do what I want with it.


Mike   January 27th, 2010 4:52 am ET

Well, congratulations. Perhaps GeoHot will apply for a job with the US military, who are building supercomputers from hundreds of linked PS3s running a custom Operating System. They are tapping the main GPUs for computing power, but someone with the right skills could also tap the video GPUs for even far more horsepower. Certainly hacking the PS3 would be the right credentials on a resume for a job on that project!

Although the hack could be used to run pirated software on the PS3 platform, I think most hackers are motivated more out of intellectual challenge and curiosity than trying to cause financial loss to the manufacturers.


TJRedneck   January 27th, 2010 9:26 am ET

No games for the PS3? Have you looked at the games isle lately? Maybe they haven't caught up with Microsoft yet but they are definitely closing the gap. PS3's technology is way ahead and they have barely scratched the surface on what it can do. PS3 will be able to handle 3D games with just a minor software upgrade. Of course with the PS3 you don't get that pretty red screen of death and you can't use it as a hot plate to cook your popcorn on like you can the Xbox. The only way Microsoft can upgrade is by waiting for their competition to innovate so that they can steal it and then figure out how it works.
Anything can be hacked, it just so happens that Microsoft is the easiest of all to hack. It is amazing that it took 3 years for someone to finally hack Sony.


usmcJohnson   January 27th, 2010 11:31 am ET

Sony has been hacked many times before.... i know since psp has been out that i have been pirating games and software on it. And alot of you are wrong most of us "hackers" do, do it for the challenge. i dont do it to hurt microsoft or sony or whoever. On the other hand someone will always use thier knowledge to maliciouly attack something or someone.


Jack   January 27th, 2010 12:08 pm ET

I'm always happy when i heard any story about hacking. i want to know hacking also,not for bad but for good. if there's anyone who can teach me please don't hesitatate to write me via iphonehomestore@gmail.com.

As for the guy,i don't think he should be purnish for that. let sunny work hard on their security.


Andy O.   January 27th, 2010 12:21 pm ET

I think this is great. It's been a while since I've seen something hacked, and the PS3 which many touted as "unhackable" has finally been cracked. I should learn how to do this so I can do more than watch my movies on it (because that's all it's good for). I was actually considering using it as a doorstop but a BluRay/Ipod works just as well I can imagine.


Jim   January 27th, 2010 1:47 pm ET

Who cares?


Pawl   January 27th, 2010 1:59 pm ET

"MS just got it right with that XB360..."

are you serious? did they get it right after the fourth box you had replaced, or the fifth one?

everyone knows that the PS3 owns and the 360 is for children.

before you freak out, please understand that i own both consoles. not only is the 360 loud, the controllers suck, the first gen HD space was a joke, no HDMI on the first gen, and what about that $300 HD DVD player?

If only to buy a PS3 for the Blu Ray drive would be a worthy investment. But, don't forget MGS 4: undoubtedly one of, if not *the* most, amazing game to be released so far in the 21st century.


Tony   January 27th, 2010 4:57 pm ET

I suppose what it all comes back to is the basic question of if you own the hardware should you be able to do what you want with it? This is why I don't own any consoles, they are expensive technological dead ends which require total replacement for upgrades. Instead I use a PC because I get to do what I want with it and not have to worry about some over protective and over reaching nanny corporation trying to put me in jail for it. I am surprised however that it has take so long for someone to crack the PS3. I would have thought people would be all over that.


tentsi   January 27th, 2010 5:22 pm ET

@Pawl I love how you said "i own both consoles" but to say "everyone knows that the PS3 owns and 360 is for children" is just biased and arrogant. so everyone eh? just where are the statistics to back up your argument? here let me be brief and explain facts,

PSN vs XBL
XBL wins. why? because you pay for the best services.
PSN=free online service. it may not have the best connection, but it is free.

BTW i love the new PS3 slim design!


Mike   January 27th, 2010 5:46 pm ET

The Wii was hacked almost immediately
The 360 was hacked not too long after the release
The fact that the PS3 has gone 3 years without being hacked is not just unusual, but also pretty impressive on Sony's end. As stated, nothing is unhackable. These companies should put in security measures to prevent it however I always laugh when I hear of a software or hardware dev that dumps as much as 7 or 8 figures into security only to have it come down by some kid in his basement.

Fun fact: HD-DVD encryption was hacked before it was even released.


TECHNO - NERD   January 27th, 2010 6:17 pm ET

Wow,

I thought with core processor and all PS3 was secure.


Alec   January 27th, 2010 6:33 pm ET

Hacking consols is illegal?

So... why are you putting links to illegal software? Doesn't this make you liable for any damages?


Steve J   January 27th, 2010 6:46 pm ET

Mike – They are not using the (arguably underpowered) GPU...that's what some are doing with the Xbox 360. They are running Linux (not a "custom OS," as previous articles online have said) and software written to use the superfast SPEs/SPUs of the Cell processor.


EL OSO   January 27th, 2010 7:31 pm ET

I done hacked this system and its awesome now my library has gotten five times deeper. my nephew hacked xbox and hes 10 they're a


Brian   January 27th, 2010 8:53 pm ET

I would have been impressed if he had asked Sony for permission to hack their system. Because he didn't, he should be prosecuted to the full extent of the DMCA.


RedSoxfan14   January 27th, 2010 10:20 pm ET

I really do not understand the point of hacking or modding a game console or video game. You are just putting yourself at risk.


copperkid   January 28th, 2010 1:45 am ET

$60 is outrages for a game maybe this will make it that they lower the price or im buying pirated games from pittsburgh.


Wolowizard   January 28th, 2010 10:37 am ET

yeah its to much 60$ for a game i think they will lower the prices man i think it would be much better


wolowizard   January 28th, 2010 10:40 am ET

Red Sox has a point there your putting yourself at risk off ruining your ps3 so be careful i think ill just let it pass


wowowowowo   January 28th, 2010 12:21 pm ET

who cares if he hacked the system the big companys charge way to much when they get it made my little chinese kids for 8 cents a hour!!!!


Ohreallynow?   January 28th, 2010 12:39 pm ET

Xboxlive is better because you pay for the best services? Really now? Having both systems myself and having even bought COD4 for both systems, as a side by side, neither service outperformed the other. Both have issues. I have yet to see a shred of evidence that paying for XBoxlive has made it perform better than the PSN.

I will tell you Live does seem to be filled with tons more children than PSN, but that will probably change before long with the $300 systems.


ksl52   January 28th, 2010 12:46 pm ET

I think game console makers should make the consoles "secure" in term of playing games, but open in terms of letting people use them like computers. I bought the PS3 fot its Bluray payer and its web browser. It'll be nice if I can. e.g., read a PDF file or compose an email with it.


Scott   February 1st, 2010 3:23 am ET

He's right any system can be hacked into....


jk   February 2nd, 2010 5:57 pm ET

Companies buy competitor's goods all the time and take them apart to see how they work. Then use what they find for financial gain. Do you see Ford suing Toyota or vice-versa? Zenith suing RCA?
It's like a 7th grader picking on 4th graders, but won't bully other 7th graders.
The corporations won't take on another corporation because they will wind up in years of litigation and tons of money, to end up with a counter-suit. They can take on the little guy with little or no recrimination.
I can understand what 'COULD' happen by opening up the system, but we're not predictors of the future.
See the Stalone movie 'Judge Dredd' or spelling...


Sniffit   February 2nd, 2010 7:40 pm ET

Another pathetic rich white GOP kid trying to learn how to hack things so he can rig elections!


russell   February 4th, 2010 2:20 pm ET

Well all of you idiots out there that's so into console hacking , NEWS FLASH , that console may belong to you , but when attempt to connect to our servers , we'll shut it down and you'll be left with just a box sitting next to your television ,........


Alfonzo   February 4th, 2010 4:14 pm ET

I think the Wii is better than both.


Brandon   February 4th, 2010 7:59 pm ET

@Sniffit ....what?


craig   February 4th, 2010 8:18 pm ET

the ps3 haters are crazy I have every system and never play the 360 ive had it replaced twice for crashing and the very few games dont offer anything unless I want to play football or the 2 good shooters they have ps3 has 10 times the games and their all better then 95% of 360 garbage and the wiis for girls kids and sissies


Anonymous   February 5th, 2010 3:11 am ET

Sure it will fry the box if it attempts that connection Russel. But change where your connecting to say a private server and poof Its a whole new big gaming world.


pete   February 6th, 2010 3:11 pm ET

Yet another ridiculous big business FAIL.

Hotz is a Robin Hood of our times. Big cappi mafiosi like disgusting Robert Murdoch are the Sheriff of Nottingham.

:))


PS3 fan   October 7th, 2010 7:07 am ET

Its now possible to modd your playstation 3 with PS3 unlocker software, to find out more visit http://ps3-unlock.blogspot.com/


abujara7   May 5th, 2011 1:42 am ET

who hacked the psn?


The Future of Cydia and Jailbreaking - iPhone, iPad, iPod Forums at TiPb.com   September 17th, 2011 9:31 pm ET

[...] cell-phone unlocking (which receives an exemption from the Digital Millennium Copyright Act), Hacker says he's unlocked the PS3 – SciTechBlog – CNN.com Blogs Library of Congress rules in favor of jailbreaking | TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog [...]


Security IT   April 11th, 2012 8:46 pm ET

I really enjoy looking through on this website, it has got excellent posts. "One should die proudly when it is no longer possible to live proudly." by Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche.


Leave Your Comment


 

CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.


subscribe RSS Icon
About this blog

Are you a gadgethead? Do you spend hours a day online? Or are you just curious about how technology impacts your life? In this digital age, it's increasingly important to be fluent, or at least familiar, with the big tech trends. From gadgets to Google, smartphones to social media, this blog will help keep you informed.

subscribe RSS Icon
twitter
Powered by WordPress.com VIP