PlayStation 3 Hacks Threaten Games, Trophies

By Steve Watts, Jan 14, 2011 3:20pm PST Sony has been building a response to the hacker who exposed the PlayStation 3 root key, even as the fallout from the hack continues to grow. "Geohot," the hacker responsible, is known for his iPhone exploits, but gained more notoriety recently when he broke the key and sent word out to fellow hackers. Geohot claims he doesn't condone piracy, and offered to be a security tester for the next set of consoles.

Despite the claim, though, hackers and home brew makers had shown proof of pirated games running on the PS3 just over a week after the root key was published. PlayStation 3 hacks started in earnest last year, but Sony was able to update the PS3 firmware to stay ahead of the curve. This hack, by exposing a piece of code that isn't updated, won't be so easy to reverse.

Engadget reports that Sony has responded to Geohot with a restraining order, apparently trying to pull any pages that include the code. Unfortunately, once a code like this has hit the internet, it's nearly impossible to erase all traces of it.

As if that weren't enough, a new home brew application could devalue Trophies as well. CVG reports that the application can unlock all Trophies in a PS3 game instantly, with random timestamps. Some games like Batman: Arkham Asylum are apparently immune to the hack, but users are already bragging about unlocking all the trophies in other titles.

Sony has issued a statement on the Trophy issue: "We are aware of this, and are currently looking into it. We will fix the issues through network updates, but because this is a security issue, we are not able to provide you with any more details." We'll probably be hearing similar lines in the near future as Sony continues its attempts to put a lid on these security concerns.

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  • I think this is all a smokescreen to help cover for the fact that Geohot released a firmware update that added back features that in no way impact piracy and yet that's the argument they want to make for why he should be stopped.

    Laughable, though. It's not going to matter. They can kill everyone who did the hack or bury them in a bunker somewhere, but it's not going to make any difference. The code's floating out there. Everything Sony does with lawyers is just fueling the fire to go out and use that code in the way they don't want (and keep screaming to the world).

    If Sony had some imagination, they'd have embraced the new possibilities of the firmware update by enabling on their own homebrew and Linux again (since the reason they took it away was because of security).

    Their whole mess with Geohot began when they took away Linux support. If they enabled everything he did on their official firmware or on an "alternative firmware release," then they could get some good will and at the same time reinforce the notion that they remain the best place to get firmwares for your PS3. If they let people go off and get used to getting third party firmwares (because someone wants Linux or homebrew), then that will build up confidence in using third party firmwares and could lead eventually to them trusting "piracy firmwares," too.

    Or Sony can sue Geohot and make big stories of the whole affair, advertising their vulnerability and the existence of code that will never be locked down again. It just seems like one option has the benefit of having a chance in hell of being a success and the other seems like stupidity.