Sony’s Battle With Piracy and Firmware 3.56


There are rumors flying about that firmware version 3.56 was not “minor” at all as it was described by Sony. There seems to be a neat little addition or two that was added to help Sony fight against homebrew that allows piracy.

First thing is that Sony has enabled a rootkit, that once a PS3 connects to the PSN network, it can then verify the files required and/or bypassed from the newest firmware versions etc. There is no perfect way to forge this and even if code is written to bypass this option, Sony can still see PS3′s that connected to PSN without accomplishing this step giving them the heads up anyways. What this basically means is that if you have custom firmware then you will not have PSN access very soon.

Secondly, it seems that Sony has installed a trojan horse of sorts in your PS3 that allows them to control it remotely to force download proper firmware as needed. This one is a bit shaky and I’m not 100% sure of what laws govern this procedure if any. Basically Sony can see you are bypassing their firmware, they can take your PS3 and force it to download the newest firmware options. A bit of a touchy subject here, but brutal nonetheless.

So it seems if you want PSN access, stay away from customfirmware. This will at the very least fix the online cheaters, trophy cheaters and such which is a good thing.

No patch is needed to enforce this either. Its all done on Sony’s end.


Written by: Eddie - Contributing Editor


  1. #1 by pedro on January 28th, 2011 [ 39949 Points ]

    Well it’s good they’re really working to figure this out.

    But I’ve just read at GameInformer (http://www.gameinformer.com/b/news/archive/2011/01/27/the-saga-of-the-hacked-ps3-root-key-continues.aspx) that the new firmware has already been bypassed.

    Also they got a restraining order on that Geohot guy.

  2. #2 by premiersoupir on January 28th, 2011 [ 17020 Points ]

    I see that suspected COD:BLOPS cheaters are being banned post-3.56: http://www.ps3news.com/PS3-Online/cod-black-ops-hackers-hit-with-ps3-firmware-3-56-ban-hammer/

  3. #3 by Luke on January 28th, 2011

    Not sure how I feel about them telling you when you should or shouldn’t be running updates on your system.

  4. #4 by premiersoupir on January 28th, 2011 [ 17020 Points ]

    BTW, where have you heard the rumors, Eddie? I haven’t been keeping close tabs on the CFW community, so I haven’t run across these rumors. Would be curious to read more.

  5. #5 by Eddie L. Headley on January 28th, 2011 [ 44542 Points ]

    They bypassed 3.56 to get on PSN…but Sony can see them now regardless.

    @premiersoupir various sites but most notably NeoGaf with members of the hacking community chiming in about it.

  6. #6 by Tosh Hatch on January 28th, 2011 [ 1102 Points ]

    Finally the ban-hammer has delivered it’s first blows!

  7. #7 by Dave on January 28th, 2011

    well the way I see it if you dont do dumb stuff on the PS3 like hacking etc… then you have nothing to worry about if they can see your every move you make lol reminds me of that song I’ll be watching you lol, if you try to bypass etc… and then thats your own fault, so Iam glad Sony is trying to do the best they can too stop all this dumb stuff people are doing hacking adding new software for they can mess it up for all the true gamers out their that just wants to have fun and play games, I shouldnt have to worry about something in my PS3 if lets say they add a fake firmware update for a game and its fake and some how they are now in your PS3 (harddrive) like they did in COD MWF 2 if I heard that right. anyway about that have they fixed that yet?

  8. #8 by Eddie L. Headley on January 28th, 2011 [ 44542 Points ]

    It seems it is a rootkit that once you connect to PSN, it will verify your files and can even alter files as needed to access PSN.

    What I find particularly amusing is many homebrewers up in arms over this particular alteration. Basically its ok if you alter Sony’s software but there is hell to pay if they do it to you lol.

  9. #9 by premiersoupir on January 28th, 2011 [ 17020 Points ]

    Dave: well the way I see it if you dont do dumb stuff on the PS3 like hacking etc… then you have nothing to worry about

    sure… unless you get bricked by an fw update. best of luck to sony fixing the security breach. I’m going to be pissed, though, if we’re now in a constant cat & mouse game, with sony pushing security patch fw updates on us every month.

  10. #10 by derrickgott007 on January 28th, 2011 [ 871 Points ]

    HAHAHAHAHAHA Look at all those crybaby cheaters and their lies to try to claim innocence. Hahahahahah. How you like your aimbot now idiots? Hahahahahahahahahajajajajajajnhahahahah!

    http://www.ps3news.com/PS3-Online/cod-black-ops-hackers-hit-with-ps3-firmware-3-56-ban-hammer/  

  11. #11 by Eddie L. Headley on January 28th, 2011 [ 44542 Points ]

    pissed at who? Surely not sony for trying to protect their investment?

    but I’ll put your mind at ease. Everything discussed above is done WITHOUT firmware updates. This is all done on their end. Basically you can’t access PSN until you pass a certain criteria (not sure if this is active yet fyi).

  12. #12 by Emrah on January 28th, 2011 [ 7319 Points ]

    Most people were LOLling about how fast 3.56 was hacked, but this was what I had to say in another forum:
    “Maybe Sony knew this firmware was going to hacked anyway, but maybe, they put some code in there to screw up the PS3 if a hack is detected? Isn’t that possible? (Have they reverse engineered all the firmware?)”

  13. #13 by C. Druid on January 28th, 2011

    IF this is true (that they will force on patches) even I as a person who has no homebrew, buys all my software, and keeps my PS3 and PSP Go up to date will be annoyed. I’m not alone in that regard, Sony.

    Quit while you are ahead. You brought this on yourself when you removed the ability to run Linux (I spent months unable to speak to my brother on PS3 because he wouldn’t update). You are “bringing” it upon yourself by not giving people a method to allow their PSP GOs to run UMD disks or (in my case) putting the UMD disk software on PSN for us to purchase it (I am speaking specifically of Ubisoft’s Chessmaster and MY Coach series, but I’m sure there is much more).

    If someone at Sony by chance reads these comments, I hope that they will reconsider their thinking around this issue, accept that there may be “some” piracty, but recognize that a little piracy (yes, I’m in the software industry) can go a LONG way to increasing users on a platform who will eventually purchase.

  14. #14 by Eddie L. Headley on January 28th, 2011 [ 44542 Points ]

    ok…one more time here lol

    NO PATCHES REQUIRED FOR THIS, THIS IS ALL DONE ON SONY’S END.

    lol. completely managed on sony’s servers. No patches required for them to check your credentials when logging in. They can ban you from PSN immediately.

  15. #15 by premiersoupir on January 28th, 2011 [ 17020 Points ]

    Eddie L. Headley: NO PATCHES REQUIRED FOR THIS, THIS IS ALL DONE ON SONY’S END.

    the irony is that you write this as a comment in your article entitled, “Sony’s Battle With Piracy and Firmware 3.56.” but I understand the point that 3.56 possibly allows, among other things, for sony to make make rumored changes without the need for other fw updates. so bravo, sony! the fewer ofw updates the better, as far as I’m concerned. I always hold my breath as my ps3 runs through the update process.

  16. #16 by DJ Paul on January 28th, 2011

    Great news
    Thanks

  17. #17 by C. Druid on January 28th, 2011

    Actually … it is all done from the user end, because it starts with logging in. I personally only log in to purchase software, don’t have time to play online games, etc.

    They really want to stop my from buying for the PS3? I have a Wii I could buy for, and it costs next to nothing to pick up an Xbox.

    I can see their point if custom firmware could be used for cheating at online games, but just ban them from the online games, not the store.

    I still think the whole thing is a silly waste of time that Sony brought on itself.

  18. #18 by Emrah on January 28th, 2011 [ 7319 Points ]

    Druid: They are banned from Black Ops severs, as far as I know.

  19. #19 by Beastxjason on January 28th, 2011 [ 25926 Points ]

    I say ban them all. Bottom line is if your a gamer your not going to want homebrew enabled as it always leads to piracy. Piracy kills the industry, bottom line. I personally feel that they should kill the unit completely for those caught running hacks or cfw.

    If you want homebrew or emulators get MAME.Theres also legal roms available for it.

  20. #20 by Eddie L. Headley on January 28th, 2011 [ 44542 Points ]

    @premiersoupir yea Sony’s battle with piracy AND firmware 3.56. I guess it sounds different in my head lol. Its supposed to be a two part feature I guess.

    @C. Druid Nintendo offers the same features. If you are on homebrew you can’t access their stores. Banning cheaters from individual online games would require EVERY dev to be on board and fund this project when its Sony whose job is to sell the third parties that thier console is safe and secure. I’m still missing the part where Sony brought on massive theft of games upon theirselves….darn them for trying to make money and actually charging for games…..

  21. #21 by pedro on January 28th, 2011 [ 39949 Points ]

    derrickgott007: HAHAHAHAHAHA Look at all those crybaby cheaters and their lies to try to claim innocence.Hahahahahah. How you like your aimbot now idiots? Hahahahahahahahahajajajajajajnhahahahah! http://www.ps3news.com/PS3-Online/cod-black-ops-hackers-hit-with-ps3-firmware-3-56-ban-hammer/    

    hahahaha

    serves them right!

    they could come up with better excuses… that’s pathetic!

  22. #22 by C. Druid on January 28th, 2011

    Beastxjason – I’ll disagree with you that piracy kills the industry. In fact, I’d argue that the opposite is true. Come to think of it, I can’t think of one product that has achieved significant market share, that hasn’t been pirated.

    @Eddie –

    1) No, banning systems that have the ability to use homebrew only means you differentiate access to the store, and doesn’t mean that Sony would required every DEV to be on board.

    2) I don’t think that there has been any “massive theft of games”. At best I suspect there might be some “copyright infringement” (no, its not theft) and as far as I can tell, there has been precious little of that.

    3) What Sony brought on was increased interest in accessing their system for homebrew AS A DIRECT RESULT OF REMOVING THE “OTHER SYSTEM” access, which many users specifically purchased the system for. Sony shot themselves in the foot closing that down.

    4) I have no problem with them making money and charging for software. That is EXACTLY what I do, and why I can say to you …. piracy is not necessarily a bad thing. Do you not think that perhaps the DS is far ahead of the PSP due to piracy? I’m fairly certain that has a lot to do with it. Pirates do not remain pirates, you put up the occasional roadblock and eventually they come on side. But leave it alone for a while and quit making it harder for legitimate users to actually use/buy your product.

  23. #23 by Dave on January 28th, 2011

    I dont know is it that bad? if they do some FW on you, it seems when ever PS3 makes a huge update everybody ***** their pants about it, and in the long run nothing ever really happens well nothing big, like right now it seems this is big like all FW sony updates, and this will pass and everybody will be happy and be like well 3.56 FW wasnt bad, and we were worried about this lol for what, I dont know maybe I’am just talking out my butt, but I play online just a little bit, not much, Iam a single player kinda guy lol and I buy games on the PSN here and their, but point is I dont thank this sounds as bad as it sounds right now, everybody is running like OMG no way if they do this man this will happen, I dont thank Sony would have not done this update is going to crash or whatever and mess eveything up.

  24. #24 by EdEN on January 28th, 2011 [ 139651 Points ]

    Downloaded the update yesterday since I wanted to sync my trophies. Downloaded over 30 minutes (minor my ass!) but didn’t see any changes.

    As for the “remote check and download” there COULD have been something about it when we clicked “I accept”. Nintendo does it on the Wii (except for the auto firmware update) so why couldn’t Sony?

  25. #25 by Dave on January 28th, 2011

    messes up on typing at the end,

    I dont thank Sony would have done this update if its going to crash or whatever and mess eveything up.

  26. #26 by Eddie L. Headley on January 28th, 2011 [ 44542 Points ]

    Consoles established market superiority prior to piracy minus this gen in which all 3 consoles were/are heavily pirated.

    1) I assumed you meant ban them from just that particular game and not just PSN. Sort of how COD BlOps is doing right now. For Sony to do that, they would have to “trust” a homebrewer and if it were my billions of dollars on the line, I wouldn’t either.

    2) Every homebrew feature released thus far is geared towards piracy under another name. Game back ups, emulation and the ftp. Problem is NOBODY admits to piracy even hardcore pirates so I’m not sure how anyone could assume there is “very little of that” when its so vague and easy to do. The most we get our of pirates are debates and defenses such as this very one we are involved in now. (not pointing fingers fyi…very friendly debate)

    3) Using the term “many” to describe how many people actually used Linux on the PS3 and in the same breath saying people avoid free games out of the kindness of their hearts as “very little of that” is unbelievable. Very few people installed Linux, even fewer utilized it, a straggling couple actually used it. It wasn’t advertised as a feature only said it was possible. Its a shame we were headed towards a more open system and the would be pirates have changed that for future consoles now.

    4)The DS software penetration is abyssmal minus 1st party games as is the PSP’s. Both I would contribute to piracy especially seeing the number of hardware out there for both. Its a common internet meme to say the PSP has no games….its a partial truth but not the reason its decaying in front of our eyes. The reason is its a leaking sieve with piracy and third parties won’t be bothered with it.

  27. #27 by Dave on January 28th, 2011

    yeah I never used any of those kind of Linux systems, I just went with the flow of the PS3 updates and game updates, thats all I do, I never added anything to my PS3 console, I just sign in and play games and watch blue rays never changed anything.

  28. #28 by Oly on January 28th, 2011 [ 132130 Points ]

    The BlkOp’s banned have some great excuses.. lol

  29. #29 by shadowcrazy on January 28th, 2011 [ 325 Points ]

    Beastxjason: I say ban them all. Bottom line is if your a gamer your not going to want homebrew enabled as it always leads to piracy. Piracy kills the industry, bottom line. I personally feel that they should kill the unit completely for those caught running hacks or cfw.If you want homebrew or emulators get MAME.Theres also legal roms available for it.  

    I’m a gamer and I want homebrew enabled…so I just defeated your logic sir :/

  30. #30 by Oly on January 28th, 2011 [ 132130 Points ]

    shadowcrazy:
    I’m a gamer and I want homebrew enabled…so I just defeated your logic sir :/  

    I actually kinda agree.. Homebrew can be awesome. If they could make something to allow homebrew and not allow hacking, it would be great. LBP2 Homebrew (community) Levels ftw!

  31. #31 by Eddie L. Headley on January 28th, 2011 [ 44542 Points ]

    Oly:

    I actually kinda agree.. Homebrew can be awesome. If they could make something to allow homebrew and not allow hacking, it would be great. LBP2 Homebrew (community) Levels ftw!  

    ^

    Same here Oly. Would love to safe homebrew. Unfortunately its pandor’s box and not worth the trade off imo.

  32. #32 by Jay on January 28th, 2011 [ 83111 Points ]

    well, maybe what Sony should do is have a homebrew database for legit users that first goes through a less-stringent software approval process and allows for easy patching of their software. Of course, Sony would still have to monitor the patches for said homebrew, etc, but make it a faster process. Just making sure it doesn’t circumvent security measures in place and doesn’t involve anything illegal. They could also throw a “Download at your Own Risk” warning for the homebrew since it won’t officially be backed by Sony

  33. #33 by Kane112 on January 28th, 2011 [ 34177 Points ]

    i have to say i was pretty pissed when i learned linux was taken off i got my ps3 just after that patch not knowing, i was looking forward to messing around with it. Otherwise i love homebrew there isnt anything good right now but doesnt mean there wont be.

  34. #34 by Abkanis on January 28th, 2011 [ 1064 Points ]

    I doubt anyone will read this far into the comments but you never know.

    So Sony pulled a douche move. Im sure somewhere in the EULA they said they could do this. Yes they’re alienating craptonnes of people by doing this.

    But can you blame them? The PS3 is being wrecked up right in front of them. They largely lost the original PSP to these hackers, and there is considerably more investment in the PS3 for them.

    So there’s spy software on our consoles now, so what. We already let all of our friends know what we’re doing anyway. As humanity further shifts towards digitization, we’ll have bigger things to worry about than gaming systems.

  35. #35 by Eddie L. Headley on January 28th, 2011 [ 44542 Points ]

    this is far less intrusive than people are playing it off to be really. This doesn’t give out any private info. If anything it looks at some hash marks on some random software that is known to be modded…thats it.

    virus protectors and such actually look at all of your stuff…they are far more intrusive.


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