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PlayStation 3 hack – how it happened and what it means

Jan 09, 2011, 07:08 (2 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Keith Stuart)

"Was this hack always an inevitability? Perhaps not. Fail0verflow claims it only started to work on the PS3 system when Sony made the decision to disable the machine's Other OS functionality. This feature allowed owners to install their own Linux OS onto the console, giving them the ability to create and run their own applications, and to load apps developed by other users. It was an interesting invitation to the programming community, harking back to the 1997 launch of the Net Yaroze, a special programmable version of the original PlayStation console, which was widely used by home coders and by universities setting up games develoment courses at the time.

"However, at the end of 2009, George Hotz announced via his blog that he was attempting to hack the PS3. His way in was through Other OS. The PS3's security 'Hypervisor' allowed homemade Linux to run, but in a supervised mode with no access to lower level system functionality. Geohot bypassed the hypervisor, and published elements of the exploit online leaving the rest of the work to other hackers."

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