Exposed security keys allow 1st custom PS3 firmware

Last week we reported details regarding the PS3 hack demonstration put on by Hector Martin, who goes by the alias marcan, and the rest of the Fail0verflow team at the 27th Chaos Communication Congress (27C3) hacker conference in Germany. Now, as a result of the tools created by the Fail0verflow team, the very first custom firmware for the PS3 has been released.

Youness Alaoui, who goes by the name KaKaRoToKS in the hacker community, posted the announcement Tuesday evening on his blog indicating that the custom firmware was now available. Alaoui did not post the firmware itself, however, but has provided the tools for others to use and create their own.

“Because of legal/copyright issues, I will not provide the custom firmware to anyone, however, I’ve made available all the tools necessary to transform an Official firmware update, into a custom one,” Alaoui wrote. “Just grab my ps3utils repository from github, compile, then run :./ PS3UPDATE.PUP CFW.PUP. This will take the official firmware, unpack it, modify it, then repack it correctly (requires you to install ps3tools).”

Alaoui claims that the process will work for any PS3 firmware, including the latest 3.55 update. The tools are able to create a modified version of the 3.55 firmware for those who are unable to downgrade. Several videos have already been posted online demonstrating the process in action, and proving that it does indeed work.

Beyond that, there’s really not much you can do at this point unless you’re actually into developing homebrew applications.

“This firmware will not allow you to run the currently available homebrew application,” Alaoui states. ”Once the homebrew developers re-package their files in a ‘retail’ .pkg format with signed executable, then it will work (this should be coming soon thanks to the work of the fail0verflow team).”

It also appears that there is a lot more work to be done for those who wish to step beyond homebrew apps and run pirated games. Currently, the modifications to the system are all strictly based in the firmware and do not affect the kernel in any way. Alaoui says that his custom firmware “will not allow piracy,” and that he intends on “keeping it that way.”

As Alaoui said while closing his post, “This is just starting to get interesting!”