Could it be that we are witnessing the birth of a community focused attempt at actually hacking/jailbreaking the Sony PlayStation 4 console, but one that has just reached new heights? A new hack, which has allowed a fully functioning version of Linux to be installed onto the PS4, could pave the way for such a happening.
The first PlayStation 4 jailbreak was apparently achieved in June by a Brazilian team of tinkerers. It could however be best described as “cumbersome” as it required copying the entire contents of the hacked console’s hard drive through the services of a connected Raspberry Pi; not exactly a user-friendly solution. Things have progressed little since then, with a full exploit now being publicly known by those with the correct and matching skillets. That exploit has allowed the fail0verflow team to dive into the deepest darkest depths of the PS4’s internals and get a functioning version of Linux up and running on the console.
It seems that the fail0verflow team used a WebKit bug to trick the PlayStation 4’s OS into providing deep access via a very specific web page. The team was then able to identify and exploit weaknesses in the hardware’s GPU, designed and developed by Marvell. The rest as they say is history. It’s great to see teams still paying attention to gadgets other than smartphones and tablets, but it’s also worth noting that this particular proof of concept actually relies on PlayStation 4 firmware version 1.76. Considering Sony has just issued version 3.11 for download, it’s highly unlikely that many PS4 consoles will still be running that legacy OS version. However, the concept is believed to be one that can be replicated on newer firmware as well, so don’t be dismayed just yet.
We should all remember the days when George Hotz – more commonly known by his online nickname Geohot, or the man to first jailbreak the original iPhone with a hardware-based hack – got himself into legal strife with Sony Computer Entertainment for releasing a “how to hack the PS3 guide” onto the Internet. Those days, and even the PlayStation 3, may be distant memory, but it seems that the same level of importance is still being placed on liberating the PlayStation 4 in an attempt to bypass Sony’s extremely tight security mechanisms.