The hacker group fail0verflow presented a hacked Playstation 4 (PS4) at the Chaos Communication Congress – the talk was titled “Console Hacking 2015: Penguins on Aeolia – To boldly go where no penguin has gone before” – Wololo (DECEMBER 23, 2015). The group managed to run a custom version of what appeared to be Yellow Dog Linux (or Ubunto)… take everything I say about Linux with a grain of salt as the last time I used it was back when the PS3 still had the “OtherOS” function, officially.
This would be the first working or public hack created for the PS4 at this current moment which is an astonishing achievement. After all, the system has been out since November 2013 and within two years fail0verflow has managed to create a low level system hack that either exploited or circumvented the existing security measures.
However, the best part of all of this is the fact that the video shows they were even able to emulate Pokemon Emerald which was also hacked and labelled as “Pokemon Playstation Version”.
Some of our readers may or may not be interested in “hacking” a PS4, but you still have to admire the workmanship that has gone into creating a completely custom version of Linux that runs on the system. Fail0verflow were quoted on Twitter saying they were porting Linux as well as working on writing drivers for Linux… this opens huge portals into what could be possible on the PS4 if all goes well. Imagine running a custom version of SteamOS on PS4 and playing official Linux PC titles on the system.
Why does everyone interpret our rants about crazy hardware as security related? We're porting Linux. We're writing drivers, not exploits.
— fail0verflow (@fail0verflow) December 31, 2015
The boot process has also been found, PSDevWiki states the boot process was monitored using a “log from a cold boot from a DUH-T1000xA series PS4 Testkit. The reference to CUSA00016 is the game WatchDogs in the Bluray Drive”. Not sure what can be done with this information but it’s interesting nonetheless.
This is an interesting approach to console hacking, but I’d go so far as to say if you (being Sony) implement a feature in your consoles then it should stay there. This is a question to you, the reader, seeing as the OtherOS function can be brought back on the PS3 console via Custom Firmware (CFW) could it be possible to port SteamOS or incorporate the base functions into the Yellow Dog Linux kernal to work on PS3? It’s an interesting idea that someone should work on, if they already have please let me know as I wish to correct myself.
Now I’ll be the first to admit I have no idea how any of this was created let alone implemented on the PS4, with that said the group has stated that they will be working on a public version to be released at some point… before you get all hungry for PS4 mods or hacks we have to remember that Sony added a section to their EULA that states the following:
You may not lease, rent, sublicense, publish, modify, patch, adapt or translate System Software. You may not reverse engineer, decompile or disassemble System Software, create System Software derivative works, or attempt to create System Software source code from its object code. You may not (i) use any unauthorized, illegal, counterfeit or modified hardware or software with System Software; (ii) use tools to bypass, disable or circumvent any PS4 system encryption, security or authentication mechanism; (iii) reinstall earlier versions of the System Software (“downgrading”); (iv) violate any laws, regulations or statutes or rights of SCE or third parties in connection with your access to or use of System Software; (v) use any hardware or software to cause System Software to accept or use unauthorized, illegal or pirated software or hardware; (vi) obtain System Software in any manner other than through SCE’s authorized distribution methods; or (vii) exploit System Software in any manner other than to use it with your PS4 system according to the accompanying documentation and with authorized software or hardware, including use of System Software to design, develop, update or distribute unauthorized software or hardware for use in connection with your PS4 system.
These restrictions will be construed to apply to the greatest extent permitted by the law in your jurisdiction.”
“7. VIOLATION OF AGREEMENT; TERMINATION OF RIGHTS AND SCE REMEDIES
If SCE determines that you have violated this Agreement’s terms, SCE may itself or may procure the taking of any action to protect its interests such as disabling access to or use of some or all System Software, disabling use of this PS4 system online or offline, termination of your access to PlayStation™Network, denial of any warranty, repair or other services provided for your PS4 system, implementation of automatic or mandatory updates or devices intended to discontinue unauthorized use, or reliance on any other remedial efforts as reasonably necessary to prevent the use of modified or unpermitted use of System Software.
SCE, its affiliates and licensors reserve the right to bring legal action in the event of a violation of this Agreement. SCE may participate in governmental or private legal action or investigation relating to your use of System Software.”
So I am personally surprised that Sony hasn’t gone after them yet. Seriously though, SONY HIRE THESE PEOPLE.
For a complete breakdown of the hack and what the failOverflow guys are working on click the link here.
P.S. Some interesting reads in relation to current PS4 hacks or updates on such things.