TECH NEWS – A security engineer has uncovered a flaw in the way Blu-ray discs work on PlayStation that could allow “homemade” modifications to be made.
Two entire generations of PlayStation consoles, plus a possible third, will soon be opened up to colossal software modification possibilities. A significant security vulnerability disclosed today exploits a flaw in the system’s handling of Blu-ray discs to open the way for custom codes.
Sony has been vigilant about the security of its PlayStation range, patching exploits and preventing owners from modifying their consoles.
This is generally done to prevent fraud and piracy, although it also excludes innocent homebrew developers who simply want to create custom PS5 software.
Security engineer Andy Nguyen revealed at the “hardwear” security conference an exploit that allows arbitrary code execution on PS4 and PS5, essentially opening the way for attackers to run custom code on both consoles. This is an essential step in bringing homebrew to PS5 and opens up an opportunity that could be a reliable starting point for modifications.
The exploit could theoretically work on PS3, though the tutorial only goes as far as an assumption, offering no reliable method or guarantee.
The exploit quickly attracted the attention of prominent figures in the modder community, with some comparing it to the FreeDVDBoot hack for PlayStation 2. FreeDVDBoot allows games to be run from “burned in” backup disks without modifying the console hardware. Backup discs can be ideal for preservationists, as playing rare games with official discs can be risky, as if the official disc breaks, replacing it can be costly.
Modding itself is crucial for preservation, as physical media do not last forever, and is also attractive to hobbyists who like to develop games and other custom software for consoles.
However, Sony has consistently sought to stifle attempts at modding.
Most famously, it removed Linux from the PS3 in 2010 after it was exploited to modify the system’s core software. Unfortunately for Sony, the removal of Linux sparked a community outcry at the time, which ultimately fuelled successful efforts to re-hack the system.
Despite the PS4 being challenging to modify, the scene was finally opened recently with the 9.0 firmware hack, around which a thriving homebrew community was built. As more and more exploits are discovered for PS5, it seems natural that homebrew enthusiasts will find a home in the current generation.
Oh my lord. This is sounding like an upcoming FreeBDBoot for PS5, PS4, and possibly PS3 😱 https://t.co/1tzzHezU6T
— MrMario2011 (@MrMario2011) June 10, 2022