The Paranoia of PS3 hacking

This is a real conversation that happened between me and a friend recently (names are made up, but the email exchange is real):

me: Hey Jim, didn’t you have a PS3 you wanted to get rid of? I’m interested if you haven’t given it away already. I’d need it for a few tests.

Jim: I actually promised it to Bob, what do you want to do with it? Are you going to destroy it?

me: No, I just want to run custom stuff on it. Mine is on 4.11, so I can’t hack it, but I seem to remember you haven’t touched yours in years, so if I’m lucky it’s in 3.55 or below. Do you know what firmware is running on it?

Jim: Hey, for the playstation, forget about it, dude! I don’t want any trouble the day Sony gets access to all your email in court. I’ll give it to Bob, and he will use it for games! Otherwise, I’ll just throw it away, and please, don’t email me anymore on that subject.

My friend Jim is a software engineer, the kind that uses Linux on a regular basis, who understands open source, etc… not a hacker, but not your typical brainless gamer either. And yet, last year’s event between Geohot and Sony had such a strong impact on people like him (people who are vaguely aware of hacking news, as soon as they make it to mainstream media) that he simply refused to even discuss about giving away his console for hacking purposes. Let me emphasize that I’ve known the guy for years. I am shocked that he thinks I am planning to do anything that would be remotely illegal.

I am sure this is the type of result that Sony’s lawyers are expecting when they go after a guy like Geohot. Months after the event, people don’t remember who was right, who was wrong, what were the fundamental reasons behind the legal action. No, the only thing people remember is that if you try to tinker with a Sony device, you get into massive legal trouble, even if what you planned to do was perfectly legal.

Slowly but surely, companies like Sony are changing the rules of ownership, making it sounds more and more normal that you are not buying hardware, you just rent it, independently of what the law has to say about it. To a point where even your friends point fingers at you the day you are doing something that is outside of the boundaries unilaterally put in place by the manufacturer, even when you are in your own right.

Oh, and before you ask, no, I am not on my way to hack the PS3, I just want to catch up and be less clueless on the subject :) But oh well, my only good lead is gone now.

  1. cris’s avatar

    untill sony understands that hardware paid is owned by the buyer and if he wants he can make it even a vase,they will loose their market sales.
    i see the example of android or even more the example of wii ,they are very succesfull not for their specs but due to the companies giving breath space to the end-user

    Reply

  2. jlo138’s avatar

    You could explain to him the details of the case or what you really intend to do with it. But it also seems he made his mind up already. Maybe he’s worried about Sony getting his information from the console that they would look to him in such events. Sony has him scared.

    Reply

  3. WhyKlef’s avatar

    It would seem to me that your friend is somewhat sensitive to paranoia… And I don’t say that in a meaningful way but a little logic and basic knowledge would have him understand that he is doing absolutely NOTHING wrong by giving his PS3 and plus, how would he think that Sony reads your e-mails and would then go after him for giving out garbage? (Not literally but in the sense of someone throwing away something they do not use or take advantage of.)

    And also, the new Terms of Condition that his required by Sony would have been signed if he updated the PS3 making him subject to the new terms for any Sony device he would own and would have purchased AFTER the document was legally dated. It would never hold in court if you bought a car, 2 years later the manufacturer sends you a letter, you sign it and the day after, they come and take back your car because you installed new mags and a skirt kit… That’s just not how it works.

    Reply

  4. yosh’s avatar

    weird friend imho oO

    Reply

  5. Aizen_Idiot’s avatar

    Who’s Bob?

    Reply

    1. wololo’s avatar

      Another friend

      Reply

      1. Jerrett OQuinn’s avatar

        I’m trying to get someone to hook me up with a 3.55 or below firmware as well.

        Reply

      2. Aizen_Idiot’s avatar

        Then why not convince Jim to give it to Bob and then convince Bob to give it to you without informing Jim about it.

        Reply

  6. n00neimp0rtant’s avatar

    “Slowly but surely, companies like Sony are changing the rules of ownership, making it sounds more and more normal that you are not buying hardware, you just rent it, independently of what the law has to say about it.”

    Have you ever read the EULA that you have to agree to every time you update your PSP’s software? It says something along the lines of “your purchase of this device does not give you ownership of it. You are leasing the right to use it.”

    My jaw dropped the first time I read it.

    Reply

    1. wololo’s avatar

      Right. Although they legally have to give the precision that all their claims in the EULA might be completely void depending on the laws of your country.

      It’s something that looks like “To the extent permitted by applicable law….”

      Which is usually another way of saying: “we can only enforce this in the US, but we are 1) too lazy to write different EULA for different countries and 2) we’d rather scare you and rely on the fact that you don’t know the law in your own country”

      Reply

      1. corvis87’s avatar

        And that is why the vita will probably be the last product I will buy from them. The vita handles all my need for when I travel. With that kind of EULA they better repair all devices for free, but they wont. I hate it when people make up things as they go just because they dont like something. OtherOS was a great feature to use your PS3 as a comuter and play games. Getting rid of it is what really drove people into hacking into it to bring back the feature with better features.

        Reply

    2. Aces’s avatar

      rather convenient that they show you this AFTER you pay for it, which is akin to a car dealer selling you a car at full price, then taking you to court when you give it a paint job.
      never should a contract be legal if it is signed after a purchase, you be made aware of your rights and the terms and conditions before any money exchanges hands.

      Reply

  7. Raziel’s avatar

    btw, can we expect any hack for 3.56 anytime soon ?

    Reply

    1. Green Ranger’s avatar

      There’s already a 3.56 CFW! But i think you mean a CFW for FW’s above 3.56. Then the answer is no.

      Reply

  8. skreama’s avatar

    i will send you one where abouts are you?
    just pay shipping

    Reply

  9. skreama’s avatar

    email me
    screw sony i will prejailbreak it for if you want

    Reply

  10. dmnchief001’s avatar

    Geohot was allowed to unlock portable devices but not non-portable devices. Wasn’t that the final court decision? Isn’t the PSVita a portable device?

    Reply

    1. jc_gagrma’s avatar

      No, Sony was not that careless.
      Under the settlement terms, Geohot was forbidden:
      – to use a Sony product in any way not listed in a Sony ToS regardless of signing a ToS for that device or not
      – from reverse engineering/modifying/decompiling any Sony code
      – from developing or using any tools (either digital or hardware) that would allow unauthorized software to run on a Sony product
      – from running unauthorized software (homebrew) on a Sony product
      – from aiding anyone in attempts to do so on a Sony product
      – from distributing any of these

      If he attempted to hack one or help someone hack one would instantly land him in jail for violating the settlement.

      Reply

  11. svenn.dhert’s avatar

    Honestly I doubt your friend is very smart, sorry. I see your point here, but legally in most countries a console you buy, you do own and unless you are making money of it, or making company’s lose money on a ‘non-fair’ way you have no problem.

    Also, there is no problem if I/anyone else gives you a PS3, for all I care you crack the white house with it, its a public available game console.

    I’d say get smarter friends. But I suppose you are trying to increase the hate campaign against Sony, or try getting a free PS3, anyways, goodluck with that.

    Reply

  12. deltaechoe’s avatar

    This post reminds me of the futurama episode where cubert and the professor are taken to court for overclocking bender and all the courtroom is reviling them for it

    Reply

  13. James Way’s avatar

    Sony shmony. If it were not for having FF7 on my ps3 and the possibility of getting it on the vita, along with chrono trigger, I’d have stuck to just my xbox. Microsoft pays hackers to tinker with their stuff; it allows them to note any vulnerabilities before they move up from beta. Sony gets hacked because their security was flawed. Now they know what was wrong and they patched, though knowing them they just opened a whole elsewehere. I didn’t even get the PS3 it was gifted about 6 months ago. If someone gave it to me when it just came out I would have asked to return it. Sony is known for faulty products when they just come out, until they patch it up right. Why be the guinea pig? Pay me if you want me to be your testee. Same thing with the vita; I got it as a gift. I was kinda upset, as right now it does nothing I want, or everything my laptop and android phone does, the games are $40 a piece, obviously there are the minis too, and the only good thing that we thought would come out of it is still to be seen, psone games. I was gearing to get any tab with IR, even sony’s looked nice, but I was not interested in the vita, just didn’t tickle my fancy. The only thing going for sony are the hackers that are making their devices worthwhile.

    Reply

  14. m’s avatar

    [quote]Slowly but surely, companies like Sony are changing the rules of ownership, making it sounds more and more normal that you are not buying hardware, you just rent it, independently of what the law has to say about it.[/quote]

    what other companies are doing this? can you list a few please?

    anyway, i was thinking of buying vita, but now that i see, due to sony’s logic, i can only rent it, i think i will pass.
    congrats sony, you once again manage to loose another customer… even if you make the greatest game of all time, i still wont buy it!

    Reply

  15. docj’s avatar

    “I’ll just throw it away, and please, don’t email me anymore on that subject.”

    Your friend sounds like an @$$hole.

    He’d be one less friend on my list

    Reply

  16. Rebel’s avatar

    I have a PS3 that I could share and I haven’t touched it for the past year(s). I will be more than happy to share it with you. If you want otherwise, to do any tests remotely, you can share with me whatever you like to execute and I’ll send you back the results.

    I buy consoles in the first place to open them :P, before getting the console into my home I’ll get my screwdrivers ready. I paid for it, I own it, I can even burry it if I want to right?. As for the legalities (you know what? press Next -> Next -> Next-> Finish) now you can start thinking out of the box.

    I surely respect what you guys do. And I’m hoping to see the day where you’ll make the psp act through your homebrew maybe as phone for calling or somthing. Maybe turn the ps3 to a dish washer as well. :)

    Unleash the full potential of these useless devices please!
    Peace Dude.

    Reply

  17. ISO’s avatar

    whiy u need 3.55 u can run backups ISO on 4.11 jailbrake works onet

    Reply

    1. jc_gagrma’s avatar

      No you can’t. There is no jailbreak above 3.56

      Reply

    2. Jerrett OQuinn’s avatar

      there is no 4.11 jailbreak

      Reply

  18. Leonhart’s avatar

    Jim is a software engineer…what a shame. “Coward”

    Wololo you are the best!!!

    Reply

  19. maastersplinter’s avatar

    Get an E3 Flasher and flash it back to 3.55. Then you can run homebrew all day. You can even do a dual boot from 4.11 OFW to 3.55 CFW with it.

    Reply

  20. Riku’s avatar

    Obviously the next course of action will be to ask bob if he’ll trade his 3.55 or lower PS3 to your 4.11+ PS3

    Reply

  21. DeadlyData’s avatar

    Wololo you still haven’t added me on MSN, zack6925@gmail.com

    As I said before considering you’ve got an updated PS3 I have a bit of a present for you.

    Reply

    1. wololo’s avatar

      apologies, I use MSN once per year at most, let me find my password again and I’ll add you

      Reply

      1. skreama’s avatar

        did you miss the post where i have said i will gladly give you a ps3
        im a repair engineer and i have spare unit just gathering dust
        i will jailbreak it for you it was a genuine offer
        you just pay the shipping
        its the least i can do for all the VHBL fun i have on my vita

        Reply

  22. toBsucht’s avatar

    Jim: ..Are you going to destroy it?
    U: No, I just want to run custom stuff on it. ..
    :) :)
    Jim: ..Sony gets access to all your email in court.
    in germany you got a good chance that your employer do this. Most big supermarkets had such a scandal and this was true not only for store manager

    ..I’ll give it to Bob, and he will use it for games!
    sounds like.. wtf do you want me to loss my job
    Otherwise, I’ll just throw it away, and please, don’t email me anymore on that subject.
    i guess it´s a hacked psp or a hackable and he don´t want to writte to anyone that he maybe got a lot of backup at his device

    Reply

  23. gamerb0y’s avatar

    F**K Sony!!! I can do whatever I want with my console..

    Reply

  24. Yoti’s avatar

    In Russia we may do what we want ^_^

    Reply

  25. Korben’s avatar

    Actually, this story reflect perfectly one of the main factor which lead to “Why there’re no new *public* exploits and not so many homebrew on the PlayStation 3 hacking/homebrew scene ?”.

    SONY got the very good (and evil) idea to beheaded the main contributors in term of “hacking/reversing”. Geohot, Fail0verflow and last but not least (and with no doubt, the best), Graf_Chokolo.

    The message has been receive by the majority of the PlayStation 3 hackers and the result has been very concluding, for example, Xorloser (one of the most skilled hacker) left the PlayStation 3 hacking/reversing.

    The rest of the hackers/developers were scattered and “frightened”. Some of them decided to quit, some decided to “assemble” and work “underground” and others decided to do something that SONY seems to no care : WAREZ and money (for those who had not noticed, SONY put down the guy who brought back OtherOS, but they do nothing about True Blue or the WAREZ boards).

    So i think the story of Wololo is a good metaphor for what happened to the “PlayStation 3 scene”. But don’t get me wrong, there’re still good contributors and skilled hackers/developers, but in the present state of things (and because of what happened), it will never be the same than before the Empire struck back.

    In conclusion, nice shot SONY and you’re very good at “Mafia business”.

    Reply

  26. Norml’s avatar

    LEAKS will happen in the future or the authors will release their work anonymously. If it’s about sharing as is always claimed(you shouldn’t want credit), in reality, no credit ever gets given besides some text that most people never even think twice about.
    We appreciate it but…

    Reply

  27. iso’s avatar

    yes there is 4.11 jailbreak i se on google and the show youtube many say works

    Reply

    1. wololo’s avatar

      If google and youtube say there is a 4.11 jailbreak, then surely it’s true -_-

      Reply

      1. Um’s avatar

        Dude, some guy is willing to give you a PS3. Scroll up! :) (Incase you missed that comment)

        Reply

  28. Cercata’s avatar

    ” I don’t want any trouble the day Sony gets access to all your email in court”

    AMAZINNG !!!!!!! that’s really America on Terror. Terror to big companies’ lawyers …

    Reply

  29. Zimond’s avatar

    Sorry, but this friend is a real idiot. If it was your father/grandfather or any other person who is not into computers and stuff i could lightly understand that he might think this could fall back on him, but for someone who uses Linux on a regular basis this is just plane stupid.

    Reply

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