Sony's constant battle against custom PS3 firmware may have hit a major obstacle in the form of decryption keys released by a group of hackers, which can decrypt any changes Sony makes to the PSN security code in future updates.Click here to read more...
I've been playing something of a classic of late. More so than any other game in the past month, the last week or two has been utterly dominated by furiously engaging in duplicitous hacking activities, crippling multinational conglomerates, ruthlessly emptying bank accounts on the other side of the world, and placing the blame for my nefarious activities on the shoulders of my peers and colleagues.
Introversion finally ported Uplink to the iPad, and it's still just as good as it was over a decade ago.
It's a triumph of functional design, you see - a high concept game that has you taking on the mantle of a bedroom hacker, breaking your way into computers systems of one company on the orders of another in return for large sums of cash that can be used to upgrade your own software and hardware, and allow you to take on bigger targets.
Much like rotoscoped films and Jet Li, Uplink doesn't seem to have aged. It is, in fact, a whole paradoxical bundle of timelessness, with its economic interface and constant telephone bleeps a retro throwback to the early days of the internet and dial-up hacking, yet set in a 2010 future that sees 8-core CPUs (pretty realistic) running at 200 GHz (hahahahaha), with quantum units of memory that we can't really fathom yet.Click here to read more...
Watch Dogs' creative director Jonathan Morin has admitted that the team behind the game are still building the city for the open world TPS hack 'em up, but that with cars in the game topping out at 180 mph, there'll need to be room to accommodate such vehicles.
“We haven’t logged a number,” said Morin to GSO. “To be honest, we’re still building the city. So, we don’t want to give a number; we’re still twinkling it.”
“But, one thing we’re committed too is our vehicles are going to go very fast; they can go up to 180 miles per hour. So, that’s going to require a certain size of city to support.”
Jason Coutee, the whistleblower who potentially outed the Xbox.com password weakness that could be behind the galling prevalence of illictly-accessed Xbox Live accounts, has reported that Microsoft may have secretly beefed up their security by limiting login attempts to 20. Partly to address the brute force issue, but also to possibly discredit the report without having to make a public admission of having an Achilles' heel. Full report after the break.Click here to read more...
This year's PSN hacking scandal left many Sony customers frightened, confused and frustrated at the apparent ease with which their personal information was compromised. Sony has promised to massively revamp their security in order to ensure that a similar incident won't happen again - and has appointed an senior Homeland Security official as the new Chief Information Security Officer.Click here for the details >>
Game Buzz is a weekly opinion column designed to take an irreverent look at one of the biggest news stories to break in the past week. Every Friday we’ll be bringing you another slice of reaction to topical gaming news, and inviting you to agree, disagree, shout assent, vent rage, scream and complain to you heart’s delight. This week, we take a look at Sony's recent firmware update, the controversial removal of the 'OtherOS' option and ask whether or not we should really care.
Several people I know thought it was an early April Fools joke - an update that removes features rather than adding them - but no, Sony has decided to crack down hard on people look to exploit cracks in its system. Although no-one from the big bad corporation has actually released a statement to the effect (all Sony said was that the update was due to 'security concerns'), or even acknowledged the young prodigy's existence, I would assume that this crackdown is due in no small part to George Hotz's (Geohot) successful attempt to finally hack the PS3 and gain access to the console's hypervisor, giving him read/write access over the system memory and enabling full access to the meaty processing power that lies beneath the shiny obsidian plastic casing of the PS3. He completed his breakthrough in January at which point, considering that it had taken 3 years, 2 months and 11 days for someone to work out a way of hacking the console, a fair few media hubs began taking note.
Understandably, perhaps, considering that Geohot admitted that his hack could be exploited for piratical - no not the Johnny Depp/Geoffrey Rush kind - purposes, Sony were rather less than amused. Back in February a new patent from a Sony employee came to light that looked like Geohot countermeasure:
"A method, system, and computer-usable medium are disclosed for controlling unauthorized access to encrypted application program code. Predetermined program code is encrypted with a first key. The hash value of an application verification certificate associated with a second key is calculated by performing a one-way hash function. Binding operations are then performed with the first key and the calculated hash value to generate a third key, which is a binding key. The binding key is encrypted with a fourth key to generate an encrypted binding key, which is then embedded in the application. The application is digitally signed with a fifth key to generate an encrypted and signed program code image. To decrypt the encrypted program code, the application verification key certificate is verified and in turn is used to verify the authenticity of the encrypted and signed program code image. The encrypted binding key is then decrypted with a sixth key to extract the binding key. The hash value of the application verification certificate associated with the second key is then calculated and used with the extracted binding key to extract the first key. The extracted first key is then used to decrypt the encrypted application code." Read the full patent here.
Needless to say, it didn't really work.
Far better, therefore it would seem, to cut off one's nose to spite one's face, or throw the baby out with the bath water, or burn down the house when the...you get the idea. Sony have pulled the plug on OtherOS with a firmware update, clamping down on abusers and ruining the party for legitimate Linux users because of 'security concerns'. Displaying a masterclass of pitfall circumvention, Sony naturally made the firmware update optional, but put some rather nasty little caveats for unco-operative users:
"Consumers and organizations that currently use the “Other OS” feature can choose not to upgrade their PS3 systems, although the following features will no longer be available:
- Ability to sign in to PlayStation Network and use network features that require signing in to PlayStation Network, such as online features of PS3 games and chat
- Playback of PS3 software titles or Blu-ray Disc videos that require PS3 system software version 3.21 or later
- Playback of copyright-protected videos that are stored on a media server (when DTCP-IP is enabled under Settings)
- Use of new features and improvements that are available on PS3 system software 3.21 or later
For those PS3 users who are currently using the “Other OS” feature but choose to install the system software update, to avoid data loss they first need to back-up any data stored within the hard drive partition used by the “Other OS,” as they will not be able to access that data following the update."
So no games, movies or PSN for you and if you have been using OtherOS, legally or not, you'll have to grab yourself an external hard-drive to back up all your stuff just in case. The modding community have, as one could have anticipated, turned round with tongue lashings of fire and brimstone, and not just for Sony. Geohot himself has come under serious fire too.Click here to find out why FW 3.21 sucks...