Technological discussion on PS3 security and crack.*

Discussion in 'Console Technology' started by senas8, Jan 23, 2010.

  1. patsu

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    Well, people can be misdirected or lured. I know friends who were offered at least US$1 million cash for one-off jobs. I am okay with that, but I dislike people who hide behind "principles" when the real objective is the money, or other selfish reasons. Sometimes I am flabberghasted when extremely smart people were used/tricked for the wrong reasons.

    Other times, it's just what they want to do with their time/lives.
     
  2. Grall

    Grall Invisible Member
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    Boycotting is not a viable alternative when ALL the current platforms employ such measures. I'm not ready to quit my favorite poison.

    The pirate party's a bunch of maroons from what I've seen, I'd rather vote for an amalgamate of Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher and Charlton Heston than for those clowns...

    Secure hardware does not exclude open hardware. Commercial software can absolutely continue using their security measures while at the same time accommodating free development as well. It's just short-sighted greed from manufacturers that make consoles completely locked-down to everyone but licensed developers.

    Why?

    I own the device. I'm not RENTING it from them. Therefore I should be the one who decides what I can do with it.

    Yes, we all know the original PS was such a commercial failure... ;)
     
  3. patsu

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    In this case, the exploit starts from the OtherOS open system mechanism. So while it is true that secure hardware does not exclude open hardware, it is extremely difficult to do. It usually means that performance will suffer since extra checks need to be performed during run-time.

    As for short-sighted greed, show me the finances of Sony and Microsoft that says they are raking in tons of money now compared to the resources they have already sunken in (and will continue to invest this fall again). Nintendo adopted a different business model and is more resilient to hacks like this, but it also means we don't get to play with advanced hardware invested by Sony and MS ahead of time.

    Not going to tell others how they should use their devices. But their actions can affect the developers and other users negatively.

    Doesn't mean it will always follow the same rule. It's not like the law of physics. It's people. Things can happen in undesirable ways.

    I can see potentially positive outcome from the incident, but by no means they are guaranteed to happen as "scripted". The economy and landscape are different from decades ago. I have been to Asia rather frequently. I know how bad things can go.

    In any case, this is certainly an interesting development. Curious to see how Sony will react, especially on the online side and general user experience. They largely neglected the PSP in the early days, and Homebrew offered more usable and more compelling solution than the standard software. Hopefully they learn from that lesson. Don't make us _show_ them how to do usable software. :)
     
  4. Titanio

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    This may assist conversation about what's been achieved and what's not been achieved:

    http://www.ibm.com/developerworks/power/library/pa-cellsecurity/

    I think it's a bit premature to claim the system's been hacked or cracked. The security architecture is actually pretty much designed around the 'what if' of the hypervisor being compromised and the repercussions of that. The system does not treat the hypervisor as the 'last word' or the root of security of the system. It is not wholly trusted.

    The hypervisor has been compromised, but there's a number of safeguards designed for just such a situation. It would be silly to suggest the system is hack-proof, but there's some ways to go depending on how easily or otherwise he can get access to the keys necessary to run custom code.

    Bits from the above link relevant to a compromised hypervisor:

    Tying into keys:

    So the foundation of the security doesn't even trust the hypervisor. Even the hypervisor cannot see anything that's going on in an isolated SPE wrt key usage and decryption.

    That's the theory anyway. From his blog post it doesn't sound like he was too aware of these whitepapers - he seemed to be holding out hope for a key policy similar to iPhones, or where keys are not embedded in hardware. But the root key here is embedded in hardware, and access to it can be kept out of the sight of even the hypervisor - if they are careful with their vault software. If the software running in the vault were to do something silly like copy out a decrypted key to general memory then, of course, the hypervisor could see it. But assuming they handle keys purely within the isolated SPE with no slip-ups along the way in their usage, the cracked hypervisor won't help him out. He'd possibly have to go back to hardware approaches rather than it being 'all software from here out' as suggested in the blog post.

    No system can claim total security. But barring some silly human slip-up in isolated SPE software or elsewhere, he may be a little ways off a proper crack. I can understand why he did jump to claim that though - a cracked hypervisor or OS typically does = a cracked system. But in this case it's only part of the story.
     
  5. patsu

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    That's why you are one of my most favorite posters on B3D. ^_^

    Still... my "concern" now is the execs in Sony (e.g., Did their balls shrink ? so to speak :twisted: How would they react ? How much do they trust their techies ?), not the technical stuff yet.
     
  6. Titanio

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    Bless your heart.

    I would say some balls shrank.

    On the other hand, though, I think the people who worked on the chip probably expected this to happen much sooner. Clearly they designed the security architecture around this scenario of the hypervisor being compromised, so I think they probably expected it to happen faster than it did.

    Of course, all their work is for nout if Sony's software is lax about handling keys. It's dependent on any process engaging in decryption and keyhandling and so on being executed in a isolated SPE with no sharing of any potentially compromising data outside of that SPE's LS.

    So if I were a Sony exec I might be asking the techie guys to double check their key handling policy in the software. It would be a shame for them if keys were exposed because of their software not taking rigourous advantage of the architecture afforded to them.

    Beyond that possibility of 'mistakes' in key handling though, of course there's other vectors that could be used to try and get at the keys or the root key. But they may be more limited to hardware approaches at that point i.e. more difficult.

    We'll see though. It would not surprise me if there was some stupidity somewhere along the chain that handily exposes a key or keys to the hypervisor. But right now I don't think it can be called a 'proper' hack.
     
  7. -tkf-

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    So he broke the easy part and what was expected to be broken at some point anyway and now he is where the real problem starts at the gates of the Cell embedded security.

    But does this mean that he isn´t able to actually run his "own software" or in what way is he limited with what he got now.

    Thanks for the info btw, really interesting. I wonder what his reaction will be :)
     
  8. Titanio

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    I wouldn't say it's easy to break...I mean he is the first to do it as far as we know anyway, and no one else had done it in the 3+ years since launch. So credit for that.

    But yes, now he's tapping around the SPE that handles keys and decryption etc. To quote his own comment on his blog:

    IF things are working the way they're supposed to work, though, he shouldn't be able to see anything of what the SPE is doing from a hypervisor level of priveledge. We'll see where he goes with this though. There may be holes here that the theory doesn't cover... :)

    Oh and yeah...I don't think he can run custom code without these keys. He can do things with the hypervisor, but executing his own code isn't one of them (yet).
     
  9. Shifty Geezer

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    Thread closed for maintenance. Opening shortly.
     
  10. Npl

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    I dont think he's after the root-key. Or atleast he will fail if he tries to go after it - unless someone messed up real badly at Sony then this key will only be used to decode further keys, boot-code (which reside in the firmware and can be changed) and authenticating firmware-updates.

    This is the real meat of the Cells/PS3s security, unless this first step is broken the whole security can be changed with an update and you`re back at the beginning.

    This hack could however allow running homebrew/backups until the hole is beeing patched out (and I dont see how this couldnt be possible). Once running the XMB, there is no encryption on the code (or you`d have to decode the whole code-stream after each I-Cache miss) so you probably can patch out verification and decrypt signed binaries with the original routines (possibly even without knowing the keys)
     
  11. Titanio

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    Does controlling the hypervisor even allow him to control what the XMB runs? Or specifically, allow him to 'make' the xmb run unsigned code?

    I'm no expert, but I didn't think it would...I'd have assumed the XMB/GameOS would be just another bit of software that the hypervisor runs but can't interfere with per se...software that's decrypted and checked for any modification before running...and so on for any software the gameos runs also.

    (In theory anyway..in practise maybe there's exploits to be taken of advantage of there).

    From the blog comments it does certainly sound like he's going after keys though, to enable him to run code at the hypervisor level - he mightn't need the root key to do that, but some of the other keys that are decrypted with the root key. If he could get unsigned code running through the XMB I'd have assumed that's what he'd be doing next rather than trying to go key hunting.
     
  12. Npl

    Npl
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    Dunno, I dont know the innards of the PS3-System but as IO is passed though the hypervisor - probably yes. And he claims to have R/W access to system level memory - which I cant imagine being encrypted (once loaded into memory, save a few modules that are used for "secure" stuff and run on the isolated SPU). Apart from the isolated SPUs the memory-protection is quite like normal PCs, especially everything running on the PPU

    yeah, decrypted and checked - but afterwards you could patch everything the next time the hypervisor is called (if he really has R/W access to system memory).

    Signatures are typically using RSA-Variants, so getting the key from the Firmware wouldnt even help getting through authentication (you need the other key of the pair). If he can patch out authentication he should be able to patch out decryption aswell. Kinda like with the PSP where CFW authors used the PSP`s hardware to decrypt firmware modules (still cant do it without PSP), then patched them up to skip decryption/authentication.
     
  13. Titanio

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    This assumes the spu or whatever doesn't do another check of the data or code, right?

    IIRC there's allowance for this checking beyond the first boot, precisely so if something is modified beyond the initial boot, it can still be trapped and execution stopped.

    But I dunno what policy they actually have in place here...e.g. if xmb/gameos data/code integrity is checked just at first boot or subsequently at given intervals also, or even every time the code/data is used. If it's only checked at the initial boot then there could be room for patching...but I know part of the security scheme available was boot checks AND runtime checking of data/code for alterations. Just dunno what Sony is or isn't using... :)

    Hmm. I dunno then. 'Getting the keys' seems to be his goal as described in the blog and in his comments. He seems to be under the impression they'll give him the same control as on iPhone for example. Personally I've no idea of the value of snooping the keys, just that this is what he's trying to do.

    edit - reading a bit of a previously cited link, the question of a patched xmb/gameos might be addressed here:

    So this hardware secure boot I presume can be invoked for xmb-code run on the PPE or isolated SPE...but it must run for the isolated SPE code. If your patch touches on the code modules sent to the isolated SPE for execution, it should see that the code's been modified and flag it. I would guess a fair bit of xmb/gameos code runs on that reserved SPE...

    I certainly would presume all the more critical things...like application launching, happen in modules that are either run in an isolated SPE or are runtime secure booted every time they run...

    If not then maybe there's room for patching, but I'd be surprised if Sony wasn't using this stuff while executing xmb/gameos code modules.
     
  14. aaronspink

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    You know all these media center things that people sell, etc. Know how they really came about and got a swift kick to becoming mainstream? No? Well I'll tell you then. A hacked build for the original Xbox that STILL has functionality beyond what most of the media center style devices can provide, including the 360 and PS3.
     
  15. flynn

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    Is that something you know or you presume? It would be incredibly stupid on Sony's side not to do run time verification of the code. The xbox360 does memory hashes to prevent code injection/replacement. I assume the PS3 has a similar system.
     
  16. grandmaster

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    Geohot's point seems to be that his hack is at such a low level that he can prevent measures like this actually being activated in the first place.

    The blog is interesting in that those who've been trying to hack the system have repeatedly posted about how he's wasting his time right from Day One, but clearly some milestone has been reached that nobody else has got to yet.

    With regards the Cell's security measures and the documentation surrounding them, it's also fairly obvious from his tweets and other comments that he's read it too.

    I'm not sure that anything good is going to come of this (piracy probably won't impact legit gamers so much in the longer term, but wholesale ruination of PSN online gaming will), but it is a fascinating story.
     
  17. senas8

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    He's not doing backup support. All he's said is he'll post keys if he finds them. A lot of work would need to be done. If keys are leaked you will prob. see other release groups work on something, but you won't see it from geo.
     
  18. grandmaster

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    Surely he's hoping for something that will generate donations? A PS3 equivalent to the jailbreak or carrier unlock? His stated aims in the past have been to turn retail units into TEST units (pretty much a backdoor into piracy) and to "de-DRM" the retail unit to work as a kind of cheap Blade server.
     
  19. senas8

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    Im actually an older timer here. 2004- Around that time. I just could not remember username etc. So I had to start over again. Ultimately it will be up to the end user what they will be doing with this. So the good the bad the ugly may surface.
     
  20. obonicus

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    He doesn't really know. He hopes he can access the locked off SPU via calls, at least according to his blog. According to IBM's whitepaper, that's not possible. There might still be a hole somewhere, but he's depending on someone else screwing up.

    Is it obvious? 'I'm hoping to find the decryption keys and post them, but they may be embedded in hardware. Hopefully keys are setup like the iPhone's KBAG.' That's right from the blog post.
     
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