Playstation Custom Firmware and Jailbreak overview

Ps3 stinger was one of the second generation of USB jailbreak devices released for the PS4 back in 2010. It was a commercial version of the open source device based on the Teensy USB development boards. This caused some controversy at the time with “those in the know” (that is those with some basic soldering skills and reading the right forums). The controversy centered around the fact that in many people’s eyes here was a company caching in on the word done in the supposed “free and open” PS3 scene. What a lot of these commenters failed to grasp at the time was that there was a whole slew of PS3 users out there wanting to “jailbreak” their consoles. However the prospect of busying a USB developer board, programming it and doing some solder was way above the average person’s skillset. The PS3 Stinger was one of many devices that filled that gap and allowed them to run homebrew and backups on their console simply and easily.

Of course, all this was but a flash in the pan that lasted no more than 6 months in the public eye. What many of these companies (and indeed many “scene” leaders) failed to predict was the new year’s surprise from fail0verflow where they reversed the software keys required to sign your own firmware. This was a technical process though and it took the ex-Apple jailbreaker, Geohot to go public with his own tools based on the fail0verflow ones to make jailbreaking your PS3 as simple as downloading an update file in the form of the standard .PUP file that modified the consoles firmware to remove all the checks we don’t like. By the start of January 2011, jailbreaking was now a misnomer what people really needed was custom firmware, often shortened to CFW that worked the same as the official firmware (OFW) but had none of the security checks that Sony had implemented as far as running your own hombrew code. What this meant is practice was the subtle addition of one more item to the PS3’s XMB. “Install package files…”, the holy grail. You can now compile any software to a PKG file and install it from the menu system just as if you are installing a game demo from the store.

They keys were out, the hackers were in. Since then (has it really been 5 years!) it’s been a constant cat and mouse game with update blocking exploit followed by new exploit. Security updates are much rarer these days as focus has changed to the PS4. But as far as the PS3 is concerned it really just a case of getting the latest PS3 jailbreak and installing the .PUP file from a USB stick.

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