Hacker publishes PS3′s root key as Fail0verflow claims complete PS3 crack

Monday, 3rd January 2011 08:24 GMT By Johnny Cullen


While PSGroove reports that infamous iPhone hacker Geohot has published PS3′s root key, hacker team Fail0verflow has told the 27th Chaos Communication Conference that PS3 is now completely, and irrevocably, cracked.

Geohot has released what he claims is the Metldr key for the console, which can’t be updated, apparently meaning he’s exposed the Sony hardware for good.

“No donate link, just use this info wisely. I do not condone piracy,” he said in a message.

He continued: “If you want your next console to be secure, get in touch with me. Any of you three. It’d be fun to be on the other side.”

Last year, PS3 homebrew jailbreaks, such as PS Groove and PS Jailbreak broke cover, but several firmware updates killed them off at the time.

The addition of these Firmware updates were needed if you were to play games like Medal of Honor.

If true, this new release apparently means that users can now develop homebrew apps, bootloaders and more, and digitally sign them to the PS3 with no risk of a Firmware update to close the hole (thanks, Mike).

The move allows apps like XMBC, which plays old SNES games, to be used on PS3.

The publication of the codes could also have major implications for piracy. Assuming the release is legitimate, users can now circumvent any kind of restriction Sony may issue to stop downloaded games running on the machine.

“PS3 security in tatters”

The news is just the latest blow against Sony in what appears to now be a fully lost war against hacking PS3.

Speaking at the 27th Chaos Communication Conference at the end of December, the Fail0verflow team claimed, as per Digital Foundry, that “PlayStation 3′s internal security scheme is a shambles, with all of its major anti-piracy features failing abysmally. The system is so vulnerable that hackers now have the exact same privileges as Sony in deciding what code can run on the console.”

Fail0verflow claims to now be in possession of all of the encryption keys Sony uses and can create DLC-style packages that will run on any PlayStation 3, including custom Firmware upgrades.

Fail0ver’s presentation at 27c3 made the case that PS3′s OtherOS staved off interest in hacking the machine, postponing piracy for years.

When OtherOS was removed, said the team, piracy followed.

Speaking to VG247 today, a PS3 developer said he was “angered” that PS3 had been so completely cracked, but that there was the real possibility that the news could boost hardware sales.

“It may actually be good for PS3,” said the coder, speaking off the record. “Remember PS2 was massively pirated too.”



  1. getbradshaw

    You mean to say NFS: Hot Pursuit and GT5 cos Medal of Honor was playable.

    #1 4 years ago
  2. Robo_1

    “I do not condone piracy, but anyway, here, have probably the most important component in enabling wide spread piracy on the system.”

    Hypocritical tosser, and that goes for all the hackers who cry a river about not condoning piracy, but enable it anyway. Congratulations, you’ve just screwed over a lot of hard working people.

    #2 4 years ago
  3. Quak0r

    @2 I know, right? Just like US law condemns murder but does allow for wide distribution of guns at the same time. And like Sony condemning piracy but still selling CD/DVD/Blu-ray Burners. Hypocrites, all of them.

    #3 4 years ago
  4. Syrok

    And for those of us who don’t have a degree in computer science: What’s a root key? And what are the implications of this (if any) for the average user?

    #4 4 years ago
  5. Robo_1

    @3 And for the devs who are about to lose a whole chunk of their income? Or gamers who are about to have PSN ruined with cheaters? What’s their crime?

    You’re outright delusional if you’re implying that Sony’s sale of recordable media undermines their right to protect the copyrighted works of others who use the format.

    Sony is a massive content producer/publisher of games, music and films, your implication that they secretly support piracy to sell a few extra blank blu rays is completely ludicrous.

    #5 4 years ago
  6. Mike

    @syrok: It basically means that people can now develop homebrew/bootloaders/whatever apps and digitally sign it to the PS3 so it’ll work. There’s no firmware update that can close the hole any more.

    So stuff like XMBC which plays old SNES stuff etc. can now be used on PS3.

    The major problem here is piracy. As now you can circumvent any kind of restriction Sony would want to lay down to stop you running a downloaded game on the console. As the article says, the PS3 is now wide open.

    #6 4 years ago
  7. Syrok

    Aha. Thanks, Mike. :)

    #7 4 years ago
  8. Patrick Garratt

    Thanks. I’ve updated it. Trying to get someone to talk about it on the record now.

    #8 4 years ago
  9. Quak0r

    @5 What I’m saying is that it’s simply false and delusional to condemn every piece of technology or the people responsible for them as criminal if there is even the slightest chance it could be use to commit crimes.

    #9 4 years ago
  10. Robo_1

    I sincerely doubt you’ll get any official comment from Sony. They’re best off just closing down the hatches media wise.

    Since PS3 is now essentially as open as a PC, I suppose one trick they could try is DRM for future games. Not as effective of course, but I imagine it’s one option open to them, and their partners are going to be screaming for them to do something.

    Personally I think we’ll be seeing PS4 for Christmas 2012. At least all this didn’t happen during the first year!


    True, but in this instance it’s unquestionable that piracy is going to be the most popular application of this hack, and given the potential scale of the problem, it’s utterly galling to hear one of the key players in enabling it, trying to claim he’s not supportive of it.

    Sure, it may not have been his ultimate goal (or that of any hacker), but it’s a bit like saying you don’t condone animal cruelty, whilst simultaneously working in the fur trade. The end goal may be a fur coat, but that doesn’t stop many animals suffering for it.

    #10 4 years ago
  11. Mike

    Also, it’s worth nothing that this is both for Blu Ray and PSP. Apparently a hombrew installer has already been built for PS3.

    It’s open-season, it seems.

    #11 4 years ago
  12. Mike

    There’s a decent thread on EG discussing the implications.

    #12 4 years ago
  13. Mike

    A decent quote from the thread:

    “Proof of concept home brew installer has been built already, PSP and blu-ray keys have also been picked out of the system. Hackers and pirates should be throwing a party about all this but for honest gamers it’s going to be quite a ballache. Online game hacks can completely kill an online service, anybody who played PSO on the dreamcast will remember how bad that got :(“

    #13 4 years ago
  14. Erthazus

    I’m still waiting for the moment when they can launch Gran Turismo 5.

    To be honest they took 4 fucking years to understand the structure of hypervizor.
    With the next generation hackers will hack all consoles for 4 damn years from now on all the time.

    Next Generation for consoles is multicore processing. To hack something like that will be extremely difficult.

    #14 4 years ago
  15. Rhythm

    Geohot might have just killed the console second-hand market

    EA and Activision are going to fucking *love* Sony for this news. Never mind “project ten dollar”, they’ve now just been given everything they need to justify PC-esque one-time codes with every game sale.

    #15 4 years ago
  16. Robo_1

    Yup, I think online activation is going to be the first response we see from this, and to be honest, if it helps protect PSN from cheaters, then bring it on.

    #16 4 years ago
  17. Quak0r

    @16 Just keep in mind that Steam ( Steamworks with Portal 2 ) was announced for the PS3 :)

    #17 4 years ago
  18. Kuwabara

    i love you sony, but u should have never released the firmware that killed linux.. now look what has happened!!

    #18 4 years ago
  19. Erthazus

    @Robo_1, Semi-DRM?

    Sony must be pretty out of their minds if they are going to do THAT.

    #19 4 years ago
  20. Robo_1


    Rock and a hard place isn’t it. Do nothing and you lose publisher confidence, so you’re only option is to be seen to be doing something, even if it is going to be largely ineffectual, they can’t just throw their hands in the air and give up.


    Indeed, that should be interesting!!!

    #20 4 years ago
  21. Erthazus

    @20, you need to understand that Semi-DRM will unleash Law-suits of Epic proportions.

    I remember Sony back in E3 of 2010 hinted about a Cloud based system (Jack Tretton hinted btw.), but not every PS3 is connected to the internet.

    #21 4 years ago
  22. Robo_1

    Oh they couldn’t do anything about offline consoles, this would just be to prevent online play, so if you’re offline, it’s not going to effect you.

    It’s nothing that EA haven’t done with their project 10 dollar stuff.

    #22 4 years ago
  23. theevilaires

    I love how Mike has posted more comments on this article than he’s ever posted in 2010 altogether :D

    (so sickening you get your kicks off negative news toward anything SONY)

    #23 4 years ago
  24. Psychotext

    “EA and Activision are going to fucking *love* Sony for this news. Never mind “project ten dollar”, they’ve now just been given everything they need to justify PC-esque one-time codes with every game sale.”

    Yeah, I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see that. People without internet connections are screwed.

    #24 4 years ago
  25. mojo

    “Theoretically, this would allow apps like XMBC, which plays old SNES stuff, and so on, to be used on PS3.”

    practicaly this meansn the PS3 is open as it can propably be.
    Its not a case of u magicaly haveing the key to a always locked door.
    Its more like they took away the whole door.

    “I’m still waiting for the moment when they can launch Gran Turismo 5.”
    has allready happened. gt5 and nfshp running on 3.41

    The PS3 is done guys!
    theres nothing sony can do about it..

    #25 4 years ago
  26. theevilaires

    I remember HD loader for PS2. It would let you copy games to a 3.5 HDD installed in your PS2. Some say it forced SONY to then release the PS2 slim….which within a matter of months also had a usb supported version of HD Loader…..

    ….the PS2 has since then went on to sell well over 100,000,000 consoles. Ensuring its place in video gaming history as the king of all consoles.

    I will admit I had a copy of the disc. I owned my own video game store back then and it was fun letting the locale kids all come after school and play a game they wanted without worrying about one of the little punks stealing the disc.

    The point I’m trying to make is, no one of regular consumer standards will learn about this exploit. Only geeks like the neofags will try and attempt to spread the word along with the hardcore extremist XBOTS.

    Sony will figure something out rest assured.

    #26 4 years ago
  27. undeadwolfy

    I am very dissapointed in this. It was great to be able to bring up the point that Sony’s console is the most secure this gen but not anymore.

    I actually did have a “chipped” PS1 but that was beyond my control. I was only like 8 then and I didnt know what was legal and what wasnt. Ever since my PS2 I havent “chipped” any console and dont intend to on my PS3. This is a major kick in the teeth for sales figures and fair gameplay.

    Just a question, does this meant that hacks in online games (such as CoD, KZ or Uncharted) will be more prevalent? Will we see them in lobbys because of the available access to the PS3?

    #27 4 years ago
  28. OrbitMonkey

    Have to admit, on hearing this all I can think is that now i might get a chance to get my hands on some fallout/oblivion mods :)

    #28 4 years ago
  29. Patrick Garratt


    #29 4 years ago
  30. mojo

    basicaly its zero hour now.
    anything is possible.

    now it finaly can do everything, hax included.

    #30 4 years ago
  31. xino

    Sony farked themselves from the start!


    You are making OtherOS as one of your selling point…KNOWNING that hackers may use the OtherOS to hack the ps3. So why include it in the first place???

    Geohot boasted he will crack the ps3, Sony got scared and removed the OtherOS, forcing hackers to purposely HACK the ps3!


    to the other people commenting!
    hacking a console does not mean piracy!

    #31 4 years ago
  32. Gama_888

    just a little thought i had.
    if the ps3 has been hacked so completely, so that u can digitally sign any software you want and make it work with the ps3, could it be done for hardware aswell?
    i.e. kinect?

    #32 4 years ago
  33. Syrok

    “hacking a console does not mean piracy!”

    Buying a gun does not mean shooting a men.
    Having an army does not mean going to war.
    Building enrichments plants does not mean building nuclear bombs.

    But it can easily lead to it!

    #33 4 years ago
  34. LOLshock94

    where do i find out how to do this?

    #34 4 years ago
  35. Hybridpsycho

    He who hacked it should be shot.

    “Syrok: “hacking a console does not mean piracy!”

    Buying a gun does not mean shooting a men.
    Having an army does not mean going to war.
    Building enrichments plants does not mean building nuclear bombs.

    But it can easily lead to it!”

    Hacking a console is like giving a terrorist a gun. Doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll kill someone, but most likely he will.

    #35 4 years ago
  36. theevilaires

    I tell you what. When you get wii games running on a PS3 and I can use MOVE with Metroid other M and Zelda and find away to add trophies to level up my PSN Status then I’ll hack my PS3.

    If that never happens then fuck it. All of you scream about saving the games industry and whats best for it but are up here posting links to damage it *Cough Mike Bowden Cough*

    SONY has been the only game company pushing high quality games to the fore front with titles like Uncharted, MotorStorm, GT5 and many more and now you all want to spit on them again like its 2006. Some gamers you guys are.

    Yea lets help the gaming industry we love so much……right down the shitter….but you all know as I know its only a few select people here on this site who are truly excited about this and its not because they can get free games. Its because its SONY.

    #36 4 years ago
  37. Mike


    #37 4 years ago
  38. Mike

    GT5 is now playable on cracked 3.41 firmware. That didn’t take long, did it.

    #38 4 years ago
  39. KrazyKraut

    My pS1 and PS2 had both MOD-CHIPs to play imports from Japan and USA. Imports which i bought. Like all other games.

    #39 4 years ago
  40. Kuwabara

    i wouldnt mod mine unless its an external add on, cause i intend on trading my ps3 for a ps4 later. I love sony so iwouldnt want to cheat them on sales.

    #40 4 years ago
  41. gorman

    Hi Pat. XBMC (not XMBC) is a media center open source software that does not have anything to do, directly, with emulators. It ties into them if you install it on your machine (currently available for Windows, OSX and Linux), but it’s not more conducive to emulation than, say, Windows itself.

    Cheers and happy new year.

    #41 4 years ago
  42. Dr.Ghettoblaster

    So what does this hacking mean in a nutshell for the average gamer?

    Will more information come on how we can now emulate different systems/games on the PS3?

    #42 4 years ago
  43. sultaniez

    nice i want program that is for play station from where get it

    #43 3 years ago

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