PlayStation 4 Gets Hacked to Run Linux (And Pokémon)

It was only a matter of time before Sony’s next generation console PlayStation 4 was hacked. Fail0verflow was the team responsible for carrying out the feat, by getting Gentoo Linux on the console too.

The team demonstrated Linux on the PlayStation 4 at the 32nd Chaos Communication Congress (which is an event widely known as 32c3) on December 30, 2015.

How Did Fail0verflow Manage To Accomplish The Feat?

The hacking group managed to find a vulnerability in the PlayStation 4 gaming console by bringing up the Settings option, as this is the place where the Linux kernel-based operating system is launched.

Afterwards, the group managed to navigate to the User’s Guide section, where they were able to locate the vulnerability and successfully hack the console. Another reason why the team was successfully able to hack the machine was because there was a broken NOP command on the integrated AMD Radeon GPU. NOP, or No Operation, is used for timing purposes, and present to prevent further delay when launching the gaming application and the team were able to notice this, albeit with a small amount of effort.

Here is the group running a modified Pokémon ROM dubbed ‘PlayStation version’ on the PS4 via Linux.

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What Works. And What Doesn’t?

After the hack, the following components and instructions present on the motherboard remained functional:

  • Timers
  • IRQs (interrupt request)
  • PCI
  • Serial port
  • Framebuffer
  • Kernel mode setting
  • HDMI encoder
  • Ethernet
  • Wi-Fi
  • Bluetooth
  • S/PDIF audio

3D hardware acceleration, USB ports, and the HDMI audio port did not respond after completing the hacking process, but the group has stated that they have figured out a way to make these three things work as well. As for the Blu-Ray disk read, Fail0verflow are still making an effort in order to make it work.

Does it seem like the PS4 will get hacked to run pirated games and backups? This development has certainly got everyone thinking about such a possibility in the near future.


  • SUPER BRAINS

    This is the time to buy it guys because those pirated games are gonna come in fast. Now i am buying it certainly

  • Mainichi

    A firmware update will patch the vulnerability and you won’t be able to go online without updating. I’d rather pay for legit games than lose online functionality, which includes free PS+ games and online multiplayer.

    • Lazy Sapper

      Why do you need console when pc versions of games available!

      • Mainichi

        For console exclusives like Unchartered, Bloodborne,The Last of Us etc

      • Muhammad Yasir

        PCMR !

      • Illusionist

        Tekken

      • Muhammed Ovais Alam

        To play games while sitting in sofa + the controllers.

    • M. Aamir. M

      Play Station games can be downloaded and played for free as it is the case with PC games (Pirated)?

      • Mainichi

        Nope. You need to either buy the BluRays or buy the games online and then download them.

      • Muhammad Yasir

        OR you can get the games from torrent sites , burn them on a Bluray Disc (or Hard-drive , im not sure on that) and Play for free !

        • Mainichi

          No, that doesn’t work either, the data on BluRays is protected.

          • Muhammad Yasir

            well , so much for PS4’s feasibility in third world regions like Pakistan -_- !

    • KWM

      Have you ever experienced a damaged blu ray disc as a result of excessive playing?

      • Mainichi

        I only play digital games.

        • KWM

          OK Thanks.

  • Rizwan Yaqoob

    Say good bye to piracy! Support developers and teams behind every game and application.

    • Muhammad Yasir

      meh

    • I agree. We also need to show big companies that Pakistan is a viable market so they invest here.

  • Uzair Asim

    Would be at least a year for them to make it work. Gonna be a blast for Paki pirates..

  • In my opinion, the real PS4 experience is in getting the latest updates and playing online. Besides, I want to support the developers too who put years into game development. So yeah, even if games get pirated I am not hacking my PS4