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Is it ok to sell a console hacking service?

wololo

We are constantly looking for guest bloggers at wololo.net. If you like to write, and have a strong interest in the console hacking scene, contact me either with a comment here, or in a PM on /talk!

70 Responses

  1. Jesse says:

    Meh, it’s one thing to pay for free software, and it’s another to expect someone to install it for you for free. I see it the same as installing Windows for somebody, it isn’t difficult to do, but some people want the piece of mind of someone who knows what they’re doing to do it.

    • Jesse says:

      And on another example, I’m not going to downgrade and install CFW on a PS3 slim for free either.

      • Neal C says:

        I’ve made some money install CFW on PS3 and PSP, some people don’t know how to do stuff like that so like you said, not gonna do it for free and it pays for your time to do it

        • Tommy says:

          Very bed!!!
          I’ve install maaaaany CFW for PS3 & PSP always for free!!!
          It is not your work! People offer money to me but i tell you donate! Donate to rebug to deank to darkalex to the scene!
          Only one coffe for a time!

          • Tentacled Manhat says:

            Except, the people are paying for mainly the service. If they weren’t, they could have installed these hacks themselves since most of these stuff is freely available on the web. But because they don’t want to, maybe they don’t want to go through the trouble or don’t have the knowledge and/or time, they pay people to do it for them

          • Jesse says:

            I’ll do PSP for free, but I’m not spending the time (disassemble, dump, patch, reflash, new thermal paste, reassemble) or the risk that comes with downgrading for free. Not happening.

    • Alpmaster says:

      This sounds like Hyperkin Retron 5 they were using code for emulators without permission. I do not agree if it was free for us to use it doesnt matter. If Hackinformer got permission that would be a different story.

    • troll says:

      I was going to post the exact same example. Win 10 is free to download, I can still pay someone to format my PC and install it if I’m lazy or if I’m not sure how to do it.

  2. ombus says:

    People that complain about they programs are being sold without they consent should think the same as the companies that get their games pirated.

    • DayVeeBoi says:

      Not at all. Most, if not all of the software in question is released under GPL which allows sale of the software as long as long as the source is included. Commercial games aren’t sold with redistributable licensing. I think the main issue here is transparency and that these guys are pretty much on a first name basis but are hearing it first through other sources, which kinda makes it seem like HI knew it wasn’t really in the spirit of the scene he is helping build.

      • wololo says:

        DayVeeBoi: exactly. The problem is less with the service than the fact that Hackinformer (who knows me on a first name basis, has my skype, email, twitter, has worked as a guest blogger on this site for months before making hackinformer a thing) didn’t tell me and others about it. He didn’t need our approval, but a heads up would have been nice.

  3. Acviper says:

    In my opinion what hackinformer is trying to do is good. But, it is understandable for the reasons of hating it. He is wasting his own personal time on this, but you can say the same thing for the hacks being made by people for free. Its a weird thing to think about. :/ Just please dont hate on either website for having different opinions on the matter.

  4. Gop says:

    I used to be against the idea of anything like this being a paid service. But after seeing the type of people show up to these paid services its a no brainer the reason they should charge. The people wanting the installations are usually lazy and dont like the idea of straining the brain in the way of the learning curve. Sad i only showed up to one of these places because one of my tools was damaged and the shark doing the installs wanted more than what the tool was worth so i haggled him with knowledge then he re assest the situation and charged me what i wanted to give him. I dont recommend going to get these services done only do so if your brain cant learn and your willing you waive your rights to any *** ups.

  5. 173210 says:

    In my opinion, it’s OK if he follows the laws and releases the source code of his HBL if he modified it. GPL, the license of HBL permits to sell the work if you release the source code in the same license. I agree with the idea.

    By the way, it looks like he is also able to create genuine (retail) bubbles? As far as I know, only retail bubbles can be backed up by CMA.

  6. nope says:

    I think it’s fine personally, he’s selling a service, he’s not selling the products as his own. In my opinion it’s like the people who sell, I don’t know, E3 Downgrader demanding a portion of the service fee people charge for installing it in others PS3’s. I was actually also contemplating doing something similar, but unlike with Hackinformer I’d charge a cheaper fee and make a cookie cutter service where people can’t customize it but they get what I include. Can change it up later.

    If you take out the customization process the whole thing becomes dramatically shorter and easier to do. And if the buyer wants different themes they just swap out the picture files from a theme they don’t want, ezpz

  7. Rolenzo says:

    If he’s gonna use Yifanlu, tomtom/mr,gas etc… work, he should at least give them a portion of the money he receives.

    I wouldn’t want people using work to fleece people out of their money. It would infuriate me.

    • Anunnymous says:

      So if you were to buy, let’s say Super Mario Brothers. You paid 10 bucks at a garage sell. You find out it’s a super rare copy that’s worth 1000 bucks. How much are you going to write the check out to Nintendo for? You’re profiting on their efforts, it’s only right to cut them in… right?

      Don’t tell me this example is different cause it’s not. The only difference is HI is selling a SERVICE, not the developers products. I installed many-a-modchips in PS1’s for people back in the day. I charged 10 bucks + chip cost. I didn’t write the code that went on the chip. I did however do the leg-work soldering them in because an awful lot of people aren’t comfortable with soldering. This is the SAME thing. HI isn’t telling people that it’s his code. He’s not getting credit for developing any of the software (within reason, average people don’t know where hacks originate, they just want free games).

      Should the developers get a cut? Absolutely not, their software is free and they’re not installing it on the consumers devices. If they want to profit from their software then start charging. But don’t complain when it’s too difficult for the average end-user to install so they resort to paying someone to install it for them.

      • Rolenzo says:

        That’s not a good comparison. Especially where physical modification is concerned.

        YiFan and company do free work in the name of the community. Mod chip companies don’t and Nintendo certainly doesn’t. You didn’t either. That’s why the comparison fails.

        If hackinformer was actually hacking the vita, not exploiting the free exploits, more power to him. Write a tutorial to help people out, or write your own code and sell it. Like I said, if I was them, I wouldn’t be comfortable with this.

  8. pbanj says:

    As long as the person is transparent about it all I don’t see the issue. It is their time they are taking out of their day to do it. I think people should be paid for their time with things like this but not make a living off it. Back when I use to hack wii’s for people I charged 80$ but for a reason. I called it the stupid or lazy tax. I would tell ever single person what was needed and what I was doing. I even let them watch in the hope they would learn(they didn’t). They would bring me more systems after the first. One guy would bring me at least one a week. He would sit and watch, still brought more. I would ask him why don’t you just do it? He would say every time because I knew what I was doing. I figured if people are going to be lazy they will pay for it. Now when it came to hard mods like the 360 I charged for parts(at cost), shipping(if needed), and 10$ for me to do it. Why only 10$? Because it required soldering which not everyone knew how to do or could do. So no stupid or lazy tax. I would still show people what it was I was doing and how to do it. Same with flashing 360 drives I charged 10$(included free with hardmods) for the time as a lot of the time it needed a tool not everyone had. With all that said I would donate every now and then to the wii devs as they should be paid for their time. I can’t remember if I ever donated to any 360 devs though.

  9. ANU815 says:

    I have commented on Hackinformers Twitter feed and his article similar to this one. Let me start off agreeing with wololo that I respect what Hackinformer has contributed to date with the tutorials and articles on his site. It’s easily my #2 stop for vita and 3ds hacking news.

    As to the paid service, I really dislike the move for two reasons (one of which wololo covered well:

    – open source hacks, whether actual coded software or even methods (e.g. Email hack, bubbles) were all made available for FREE by the author in the spirit of an open and free scene which builds off each and every contributor. This method profits from these freely available tools and methods

    – I dislike how this “hack” works in general. I think restoring a system backup from one users device to another, swapping license info is VERY close to selling ROMS which is the big no no. What’s stopping Hackinformer from installing all of his PSN purchased games for the other person? Literally stealing games. Now it’s one thing to use ROM/ISOS personally. I use a lot of them. But if I saw someone selling them I’d be ***.

    I’ve only paid for 3 hacking related things in 17/18 years: a PS1 modchip (that I installed), PS3 downgrade service on eBay, and a 3ds gateway card. The beauty of the PlayStation hacking scene, other than true blue, has been the amazing network of sceners that make this work freely available to us public low-lifes. We’ve largely not had to deal with the cart ***.

    In short, I dislike the selling of this service. In fact, I don’t love the implications of messing with game licenses in general. Just my two cents.

    • ANU815 says:

      Another point to this method, what’s stopping someone from buying the 50 best vita games on PSN and just transferring them through a service like this? I find messing with licenses a VERY slippery slope.

      • Simple Answer says:

        PSN limit of portables per account. And that is3.

      • DayVeeBoi says:

        This is a possibility? Did I miss something big in the last few months?

      • piotrekhenry says:

        There is a limit of devices registered per account.
        You can only register 3 portable devices (PSP, PSVita) and 4 or 5 stationary devices (PS3, PS4) per account. To free a space you need to disable a device first – which also disables any content bought on that device linked with the account.

  10. Sukunda says:

    I don’t really see an issue as long as they follow a few rules.

    1. It’s public information at this point and said user could easily do it themselves. If they were selling an exploit that no one else had published, that would be pretty dirty.

    2. They inform them that they could more than likely do it by themselves and if they don’t want to deal with the hassle and want someone else to do it for them, sounds like fair game.

    3. Summarize what they’re going to do to the device they’re modifying and let them know of all the risks. Such as if they’re able to go online after they’ve modded said device.

    4. Only install what they say they’re going to and not add any kind of spyware.etc to the device for their own gain.

  11. Bill says:

    Your a *** why have the option for leaving comments non offensive and modding them to delete it you ***.

    • wololo says:

      We don’t delete comments, even offensive ones, however we delete spam. There’s a thin line here, but in general if your comment disappears it’s most likely a problem with the website’s cache. Wait for 24 h and refresh the page, your comment should be back

  12. Ashton says:

    It’s been always a thing though ? it was often done by modchip sellers in here. heck i’d use the option when i was a kid and were too afraid to solder or when soldering seemed to sensitive for my shaky hands (reset glitch hack?).

    Than again if there was no such option i’d just get modchip and hire someone with skills to solder it if i felt like i couldn’t. Better than destroying your hardware doing something you don’t have confidence in.

    It’s another thing for fw etc, those were always easy for me, but then again i was into pc’s since i was a kid, but i can understand if someone has no confidence or doesn’t know how to do it but wants it to hire someone for that.

  13. Lennyvita says:

    I would think this is ok to do. The task is being sold is a service to install this for people that are not comfortable or have the knowledge to do it themselves. It would be like any other service, People pay for computer repair, software installation, car repair etc… many many more.

    It is no different than installing a piece of software for a paying customer. If the software is free or paid, the installing of the software is the service that it is paid for, not the software itself. if developers want to get paid for their software, start charging for it.

  14. ANU815 says:

    Wololo – your manual mod review for posting replies drives me crazy…. What the triggers that create the need for comment review so I know how to avoid? Puts my last post out of context until other comment clears review…

    • lmao says:

      Ah, i’ve been replying a few times that he should change comment section to Disqus or other.. This one is very annoying AND SLOW

  15. naki says:

    I kinda think its unfair on the people who’ve worked on the tools and such. Its people like wololo, 173210 and others who worked on VHBL and other tools that should be receiving payment. Hackinformer is just a “reporter” in my opinion

  16. Derf says:

    I don’t see the problem. People should research the service they want done and see how easy it is, it’s their fault if they don’t. On the other hand, some people just aren’t tech savvy enough and would rather pay someone else to do it, even if it’s just running a file off a flash drive, than try it themselves and potentially mess up their hardware. If you can make money off of offering a service, then good on you. If the scene devs want to make money off of it, they’d offer the service themselves and not release it publicly, or find a way to DRM it like the original PSjailbreak did.

    I’m not sure about the Vita, but in the PS3 scene I had run a downgrading service for a while and justified the price tag to labor and parts, since solder costs money and it wears out your flasher clip. I also included full customization (CFW, PSN ball, coldboots, theme, basic apps) as well as help on how to get started with their new CFW.

  17. Salar says:

    Well at some point u can see its good for people that dont own a specific device or the game that used to be on market or something , i agree to it but for a reasonable price , but i myself try to get the data for free and then as something in return contribute to the community , like giving out ideas , making new tut , helping people. but for the devs that orginally created this stuff , yup i dont think that using their work to make money for ure self is good , but there is some thing out again , that for example u have learned all the stuff and hard work , and trying after trying to hack a device then uve learnet enough , u can do that by charging small fee from the people who dont want to put their time on learning it. but again i think it have a side effect to the programmer , they say hey i made this , now some one else is having all the glory , forget about the scene. so it kinda may kill the community , or help it grow by adding more people into it and devs will deffinelty start to work with that community again. its kinda like butterfly effect 😀 but if something like Cobra black fin device suddenly comes , i WILL BUY IT , but plz do bring it in our country 🙁

  18. Jamx says:

    Paid for the service of the installation? It’s fine by me. But if they charged things from their claims like they owned the things that required for the service; hacked tool, apps, games and such, then it’s not fine.

  19. wahaha says:

    basically “do it for me cus i’m too lazy to do it myself” service, you’re paying for his time not the software.

  20. lmao says:

    yeah, when hacking is slow, begin to inflate trivial matter into a drama, for some ads $$$ of course

  21. Wilson says:

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  22. ss4gogeta069 says:

    I think it’s pathetic that you feel the need to call out “one of the good guys” for wanting to be paid for their time. It’s no different than modding someone’s PS3 for them. When Smoke modded my PS3 I didn’t see you blast him even though he got a lot more than Hackinformer. Was he selling someone else’s work? No! He was doing work for a price. Just like everything else it is out there. If you want to do it go for it. Otherwise, as it seems from 99% of the comments, nobody gives a damn if you get paid for your time!

    • wololo says:

      It’s different because Hackinformer runs one of the biggest scene websites out there. SMOKE was doing this as an individual. hackinformer is leveraging the fact that his site is an authority figure of the vita scene, which in itself is not “bad”, but is extremely uncool.
      Many devs have trusted that site with their exploits and knowledge, on the implicit trust that his site, among others, promoted free sharing of the tools and services, per opposition to more shady websites or shops. Today, that trust is broken.

      It doesn’t matter if 99% the end users are ok with paying, what matters is that this is sending the wrong signal to the developers and hackers. When developers stop releasing their hacks because they understand that even big community sites pretending to be “free” are actually charging for the time or knowledge, then there won’t be anything remaining to sell, and everyone will be left in the cold. Think about this for a minute, try to understand why it’s a problem. The 1% who care about this happen to be the people who can actually make a positive change in the scene. They are not the people you want to *** off, in general.

      • Anunnymous says:

        Get off your high horse bro. I honestly had the utmost respect for years, until this comment. You’re not the only one who can code. You’re one of the few who advertise they can. Hacking didn’t begin with you and it sure as heck isn’t going to end with you. Quit acting like you’re the only one.

        • lol smh says:

          lol your reply to his comment was totally different to what he was on about, go away troll. Hes allowed to express how hes feels and concerned about his work as with anyone else.

          • Anunnymous says:

            “The 1% who care about this happen to be the people who can actually make a positive change in the scene. They are not the people you want to *** off, in general.”

            Exactly what he was saying. I’m allowed to express my opinions as well. My comment stands.

        • wololo says:

          Anunnymous,

          The “1%” here is not me, but the hackers who have 1) the knowledge and skills 2) the time and motivation to hack and 3) a will to actually release their work.

          If you think there are lots of people who have that combination of 3 requirements, you’re widely mistaken. My comment stands as well: if you annoy the 1% of people willing to help with their releases, you’re going to rot the scene because number 3) above is going to shrink.

  23. dyay-em says:

    Like almost all of you, I agree with selling the skills and not claiming that he is selling his work.

    Done some psp/ps3 hack for few of my friends and their friend as well. Couple of beers will do hehe. No money involved. I have done it for the love of the scene.

  24. JJ says:

    Well here’s an easy solution to this

    Make clear and “easy to use” (depending on what it is) tutorials on YouTube instead of charging people tens of dollars/pounds/euros for something that is free.

  25. Vecst says:

    I have a few mixed emotions on the subject, but I think what it comes down to is; Hackinformer is charging for a service using free software, and it would be up to him, Hackinformer, to donate to the people that created the software.

  26. Dan says:

    I think that this is legitimate and correct,not because the tools are free the service of installing them has to be.

    I made a good amount of money installing various free Linux distributions to people I know a few months ago,the distro itself is free,open source and most of the time is easy to install too,so the user can do it himself.

    But they wanted someone knowledgeable to install them to prevent errors and such,I did exactly that and they paid me for the service.

    Is that bad too? No,because you are charging for the service,not the tools,you decided to put your tools (VHBL) for free on the internet,that was your choice,but I don’t think you deserve a pay for the work of installing it to others.

  27. Pdxin says:

    This article feels pointless.
    Someone to lazy or unwilling to put in the time and research going to someone else should pay for that persons time and work. It’s nothing about what tools they use. At that point it is an installation service and setup. If a developer of a tool feels cheated that someone is making money off the tools they created, they should either sell that service them self or not sell a tool for free.

    Comes down to what that developer actually cares about. Income for there developments or being able to help spread the scene quicker by offering there tools for free.

    Again they could care about both, let anyone use the tools and offer paid services to those not willing to follow the tutorials or do the research. Quick example is, how easy is it to install ram or a graphics card in a PC? Very easy and takes less then 10min. Best but still charges 50$ to do it though. They didn’t build the computer,they didn’t manufacturer the video card. They provide a service.

  28. Saya says:

    The only way I see to fix it is someone offering a free service.

  29. AciDBatH says:

    If someone is to lazy to do the process themselves then they should have an option to pay to have it done. Im not going to fix or work on something for free. IMO they are paying for the process not the tools. If someone fixes a computer they might use software they already have but charge for their time and work.

  30. piotrekhenry says:

    This topic is a double edged sword.
    I know people who would like to have their consoles hacked , but they lack the experience, knowledge and confidence that they will do so themselves without bricking their device. Hence they either ask an experienced friend or rely on a paid service.
    Why is the “installation” service “paid”. The person who decides to install aftermarket software or firmware on consoles for a price takes the risk of bricking a clients device on himself – if it’s a paid service – it;s customary to refund a device in case of a failure. Also in some cases where additional hardware is required (Pandora battery, a CFW PSP, Hacked PSV, PS3, microcontroler programator, etc ) which are usually expensive tools – this starts to eaven up the cost of the overall process.
    Why would a person buy a programator to downgrade their PS3 if they can pay 5-10% of it’s price to someone experience for a complete CFW installation process including downgrade, cleaning or basic maintenance and CFW / aftermarket software installation.
    Why would a PSP owner hardmod his battery into a pandora if he can pay an equivalent of a 6 pack of beer for a complete CFW installtion with a softmoded pandora battery which he couldn’t make himself?
    IMHO it;s all down to the price of such service – if it;s literary the price of “a drink in exchange for a favor” – I don’t see anything wrong with it. If the price is high enough that the service provider actually does this for own profit – then it is wrong no matter how you present it.

  31. minime says:

    WOW! People still waste their money on PS Vita? you know what they say. They r-tard is not the one asking…it’s the one who pays.

  32. Hito says:

    It’s a matter of value chain. If it takes 3-4 hours and you want the money, maybe you should offer the same service for less. Maybe you shouldn’t release anything then. But to me or any other CS, this doesn’t sound like big bucks. This is how capitalism works. You can’t indoctrinate your work if you publish it. Single truth: Once you release, its not yours. Only the bad people and corps. try to make us buy into this outdated model.

  33. Relys says:

    As someone who actually develops these exploits I do not condone people using my work to sell a service. This is one of the reasons I don’t release my code anymore. The other reasons being people forking my open source code, changing the read me and title to their name and releasing it as a “new” tool or CFW. You know what? As a developer I’m really tired of this abuse. It seems like the majority of people aren’t even interested in homebrew and game hacking and just want an easy mode piracy button (which I do not condone). So that’s why I stopped releasing code.

  34. Timothy says:

    Absolutely fine. Example, Windows provides you with a restore disk to repair your computer, but that doesn’t mean you can’t hire an IT guy to repair it for you. Some people aren’t comfortable with electronics at all, if someone wants to charge a fee to do the process for them, so be it.

  35. hmm says:

    I’m fine with this, few ppl paid me to hack their 3ds when everything available was free and plenty tuts around. But I see Wolo’s point and other creators work, ppl getting paid to basically distribute their work, i would feel a little uneasy aswell if it was my work.

  36. Adam Fox says:

    There is nothing wrong to sell a service such as console modding. It’s no different than changing oil in your car. You can do it at home, or you can take it to a shop and pay someone to do it. How is this any different? Now, if someone is SELLING the programs to mod your system, that could be wrong if they are supposed to be available for free. I have charged people to mod Wii systems. I didn’t sell them the software, I sold them a service. If you have the knowledge, skill and time, then you have the option to do it yourself, no one is forcing you to pay for the service. It’s not like ONE person knows how to mod systems. I know how to mod Wii systems, so I made money off that. I don’t know how to RGH an Xbox 360 so I paid someone to do it for me. I was satisfied with the end results of my RGH on the Xbox 360, I don’t regret paying for the service and I still talk to the person that did it for me. The people that I provided the Wii hack for didn’t complain either. They were happy with the end results. Not only did I mod their system, I showed them how to rip games to the hard drive. I had a couple of them tell me that it was well worth the $20 to learn how to rip the games to the hard drive because their kids had destroyed multiple copies of Mario Kart and Mario Galaxy….

  37. hrosales says:

    We should ask SONY if Hackinformer Behavior is Ethically correct, nevertheless, a Joint Venture betwen SONY and Wololo to act against HI must be done.

  38. Looks like he’s modifying the registry with the email app.. Dont know anymore than that:P The only technical detail thats not explained is how you patch VHBL said registry. I have 2 hacked ps3’s and would love to know how to do this myself. Charging for this service would not be so bad if the information was free. From what it looks like tho it appears to be all of 15 minutes of work tops: / wish i could run all my snes games on my 3.60 Vita:(-Death_Dealer

  39. Psxmod says:

    Ofcourse its normal to pay someone if he or she is spending time to modify your console. Its just business as everything else like Adam Fox stated.
    I have been modding most consoles for 20 years and its my current business and pay tax for it to.

    In the early days everyone understands there is payment involved but nowadays with this iphone generation of kids they just dont understand they have to pay for it cause software and games can be downloaded for free so heck why pay for a modding service. A lack of brain if you ask me

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