PS5 Kernel Exploit? TheFloW showcases Debug Settings menu on retail console, no plan to release.
If we thought last week’s PS4 “something big coming” announce set the scene on fire, this one dropped more like a bomb. Rarely can a single picture ignite such a reaction on the scene: hacker TheFloW has shared a PS5 screenshot showcasing the infamous PlayStation “Debug Settings” menu, strongly indicating the hacker has a PS5 Kernel Exploit.
Yes, who else but TheFloW.
Update: Zecoxao points out that TheFloW used the PS5Share functionality of the PS5 to post his screenshot to Twitter. This is significant, as it shows the exploit is running on the latest and greatest firmware.
yep so its on the latest fw
— Da S 1997 Backup Acc. (@DeathSin1997) November 8, 2021
What is the Playstation Debug Settings menu
The Debug Settings menu is a staple of testkit Playstation devices. It’s available on multiple Playstation consoles including the PS3, PS Vita, PS4, and PS5. This menu enables a series of QA/Dev related options on the console, including the possibility to Download/install package files. The Debug Settings menu in itself does not allow to install unsigned content (e.g. pirated games), though.
Although typically only present on testkits, the Debug Settings Menu is disabled on “retail” consoles. But it can be enabled on retail consoles by patching some flags, located at specific addresses in the firmware at Runtime.
In other words, although the Debug Settings menu in itself is not a “hack”, having it showcased on a screenshot for a retail console is indicative that TheFloW has arbitrary write access on the console, meaning he’s most likely got a PS5 kernel exploit.
This is not the first time we’re seeing the Debug Settings Menu on a PS5. A few months ago, someone was trying to resell some PS5 testkit and showed details of the Debug Settings Menu.
It is, however, the first time we’re seeing it from a retail console, hacked.
PS5 Jailbreak, ETA wen
In the race for “first to PS5 kernel exploit” bragging rights, it seems TheFloW has just won. With that being said, the hacker has been explicitly clear he has no plan to release the exploit.
No plans for disclosure. No ETA.
— Andy Nguyen (@theflow0) November 7, 2021
Some might interpret it as “it means we don’t know when he will release it”, but what I’m reading from his short, dry tweet is that the answer is “never”. The hacker has recently tried to “play by the rules” with responsible disclosure to Sony (through their HackerOne bounty platform) first, the hacking scene second. It wouldn’t be surprising if there is no release at all this time.
Nonetheless, it gives the scene hope, to know some people have kernel access on the PS5.