PS3 piracy fans are rejoicing at the news that the “LV0” PS3 encryption keys have been leaked, allowing the console to be fully and irreversibly hacked for good.
The keys will likely allow full custom firmware access, alternative OS support, and the possibility of rolling back the more recent firmware versions, which were formerly all but unhackable.
The release of the keys will likely also lead to a resumption of widespread PS3 piracy, assuming PS3 hackers can get past the back-biting, squabbling and money-grubbing which seems to have done as much to prevent PS3 piracy as any of of Sony’s lawyers and engineers.
Some expert analysis:
The release of the new custom firmware – and the LV0 decryption keys in particular – poses serious issues.
While Sony will almost certainly change the PSN passphrase once again in the upcoming 4.30 update, the reveal of the LV0 key basically means that any system update released by Sony going forward can be decrypted with little or no effort whatsoever.
Options Sony has in battling this leak are limited – every PS3 out there needs to be able to decrypt any firmware download package in order for the console to be updated (a 2006 launch PS3 can still update directly to the latest software).
The release of the LV0 key allows for that to be achieved on PC, with the CoreOS and XMB files then re-encrypted using the existing 3.55 keys in order to be run on hacked consoles.
So just how did LV0 come to be released at all? The original hackers who first found the master key – calling themselves “The Three Tuskateers” – apparently sat on its discovery for some time.
However, the information leaked and ended up being the means by which a new Chinese hacking outfit – dubbed “BlueDiskCFW” planned to charge for and release new custom firmware updates.
To stop these people profiteering from their work, the “Muskateers” released the LV0 key and within 24 hours, a free CFW update was released.
“You can be sure that if it wouldn’t have been for this leak, this key would never have seen the light of day, only the fear of our work being used by others to make money out of it has forced us to release this now,” a statement from the hacker group says.
Of course, with the PS3 all but obsolete, the PS4 presumably just on the horizon and the PS3 having enjoyed the status of being probably the most piracy-free platform in gaming history, it seems likely Sony had good cause to declare victory years ago.