technology

A flaw discovered on the PS5 suggests a complete “jailbreak” of the console


The PS5 may still be nowhere to be found on the market, but that’s not stopping hackers from having fun with the console. A developer known as SpecterDev announced, source code in support, having successfully hacked Sony’s latest console. But the flaw is complicated to exploit.

A flaw in the web browser

To successfully obtain read and write permissions to normally protected sections of the operating system, this bug takes advantage of a flaw in the console’s web browser. Yes, the PS5 does have a web browser, contrary to appearances, but the latter is only used in very specific cases, in particular to display the instructions for use of the console. As shown a video posted on Twitter, by forcing the console to display a corrupt web page instead of loading the user manual, it is possible to inject code into the memory of the PS5 and unlock access to the debug menu. The latter allows you to modify a whole bunch of console settings.

To successfully jailbreak the console, you must first host the web page containing the compromised code on a local machine and set up a custom DNS server to force redirection to said web page. Once the site is displayed, it’s a race against time that begins since the code injection must be done before the page is fully loaded. If that works, bingo, you have access to the debug menu; otherwise it is likely that your console will display a “kernel panic” (serious system bug) and restart. According to the documentation available on GitHubthe reliability of this feat is about 30%, and has multiple potential points of failure“.

Limited interest for the general public

To make matters worse, the flaw is currently only exploitable on version 4.3 of the system (the one released in October 2021) while other versions of the OS have been released since. And if it allows the installation of game copies (in .PKG format), their execution remains impossible for the moment. Suffice to say that between the difficulty of execution of the fault and its limited interest for the general public, few people will embark on the adventure. On the other hand, for hackers of all stripes, this bug and access to the console’s debug menu allow you to learn more about the operation of the PS5, which should make it easier to exploit new vulnerabilities.

We are therefore far from a turnkey solution for playing pirated games on the PS5. Many technical barriers still need to be circumvented to gain full access to the console’s memory and runtime process. And as usual, it will be a perpetual race between Sony and hackers to see who will manage to exploit or correct a flaw as quickly as possible.

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