Tuesday, September 7, 2010

And the Hacks Go Marching In

In case you haven't already heard, the PS3 has been hacked. Yep, it took long enough but it's been done. It was bound to happen and it did. Balance is restored to the universe.

I've been keeping a really close eye on what's been going on, and it's actually a pretty fascinating series of events. Allow me to give you guys the Coles Notes version of what's happened so far.

Sometime around mid-August, an Australian website announced it was going to start selling the world's first PS3 mod chip. It's essentially a USB chip that plugs into your PS3 and tricks it into thinking it's a debug unit. This allows it to run unsigned code (ie: home made applications) and yes, even copy games. Well about 2 seconds later Sony got wind of this worst-kept-secret-ever, and the Lawyer-mobile peeled out of there faster than Ecto-1.

Sony filed a temporary injunction against them to keep the website from selling the chips until a final ruling was reached. But it was too late, the flood gates were opened. Other outfits were already hard at work manufacturing knock-off mod chips like so many fake rolexes. Then another hacker ceremoniously flipped them all the bird and released the code for the hack online for FREE. He disabled game copying in his version to help prevent piracy.

With the code online, all people needed was a cheap ($20-30) USB development board and a little programming know-how. The boards sold out faster than Garth Brooks tickets at a mullet festival. So hackers began porting the exploit to anything they could, including Android phones, iphone, PSP, graphing calculators, even a dual shock controller!!

Sony wasted no time in disabling the hack with a firmware update (3.42), which hackers have already found a way around. So now the eternal war wages on. The ball's in your court again, Sony!

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