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Hackers Circumvent PSP 2.50 Firmware Protections

The ongoing battle between Sony and software hackers over executable code on the PlayStation Portable has swung back in favor of the hacking community: a hacker by the na...
The ongoing battle between Sony and software hackers over executable code on the PlayStation Portable has swung back in favor of the hacking community: a hacker by the name of Fanjita has unveiled his method of executing code and other applications off of the memory stick that works with most of the latest versions of the PSP firmware. Fanjita's program, called eLoader, works with PSP firmware versions 2.01 through 2.50, though it is incompatible with the very latest 2.60 update. The software exploits a flaw in the release of Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories and disguises itself as a saved game file for the popular PSP title. Once the save file is loaded by somebody who owns a copy of GTA:LCS, it executes what is presumably some kind of overflow exploit, and can then load homemade software off of the system's memory stick media. Sony has typically combated unauthorized code running on the PSP by rendering the exploits invalid with a new firmware update, and then requiring that the update be installed in order to to run games published after its release. Players determined to run emulators or homebrew games on the system usually accept that a dedicated unit for such software is necessary alongside a "clean" system for commercial games; the significance for such a community is not as much in defeating another version of the firmware protection as much as it is gaining access to 2.50's improved wi-fi Internet features while still being able to run unsigned code.

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