PS3 hacked through poor cryptography implementation

Sony PlayStation 3A group of hackers called fail0verflow claim they've figured out a way to get better control over a PlayStation 3 than ever before. After they worked through a number of Sony's security measures, they found the keystone to gaining access to the system's innards was the PS3's poor use of public key cryptography.

At the Chaos Communication Conference 27C3, the team gave a 45-minute presentation on the methods they used to work through the PS3's various security levels, which include a chain of trust, a hypervisor, and signed executables. Their primary goal was to restore the capability to run Linux, something that was forcibly removed from the original PS3 and never possible on the PS3 Slim.

After beating several other security measures, the group was able to locate the PS3's ECDSA signature, a private cryptographic key needed to sign off on high-level operations. Normally, these kinds of keys are difficult to figure out, and require running many generations of keys to crack.

But when fail0verflow worked backwards from generated keys, they found out that a parameter that should have been randomized for each key generation wasn't being randomized at all. Instead, the PS3 was using the same number for that variable, every single time, making it easy to work out acceptable keys.

If this really works, it's a big slip on Sony's part. While PS3s are no stranger to software updates, this seems like it might affect operation on too many levels to be an easy fix. Fail0verflow's presentation is available in three parts on YouTube, and they also plan to put up a demo of their methods on their website.

Source: Ars Technica

Tags: hackers, PlayStation 3, Sony

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