In context: The PlayStation 2 simply celebrated its 20th birthday on March 4. Although the console is kind of dated, it nonetheless has many enjoyable and gratifying games. Its age additionally makes it an awesome candidate for taking part in and creating homebrew titles, since voiding your guarantee is now not a problem when you mod the hardware.
Modding the PlayStation 2’s hardware to play homebrew games and backup discs could also be a factor of the previous because of an exploit discovered by a safety researcher. CTurt created software program known as FreeDVDBoot that makes use of the PS2’s DVD participant as an entry level to bypass disc checks on the software program stage. No hardware modification is required.
The PlayStation 2 is not going to load burned recreation discs, however it is going to learn burned DVDs. CTurt noticed this as a possible assault vector and started exploring how the PS2’s optical drive performs DVDs. He ultimately discovered that the hardware begins DVD loading by studying the disc’s IFO file and writing knowledge to a RAM cache.
Without going into the technical particulars, which you’ll be able to learn in his weblog, CTurt created a corrupted IFO file that generates a “large read overflow.” Essentially, it masses an ELF (Executable and Linkable Format) file—the kind utilized in homebrew games—into the system’s cache, which is then pushed into the primary reminiscence by the overflow.
This methodology utterly bypasses the PS2’s bodily disc copy safety as a result of the system thinks it’s getting ready a DVD for video playback. It is exclusive as a result of CTurt claims it’s the solely exploit that doesn’t use non-native hardware like community adapters, an HDD growth, or a modchip. It additionally doesn’t contain bodily blocking the disc tray sensors. All that’s wanted is a disc.
The exploit can be utilized for a couple of issues. As talked about, homebrew games and burned backups are doable. CTurt confirmed a video working a backup of Shadow of the Colossus (above). Another exhibits the PS2 working a Super Nintendo emulator (under). It can also be doable to place a number of games on one disc (offering they’re sufficiently small) and run them from a startup menu.
He additionally says that since all optical drives, together with CD and Blu-ray, function on the identical precept, the exploit may probably work on something from a first-generation PlayStation by means of to the PS4.
“There’s really no reason this general attack scenario is specific to the PlayStation 2 as all generations support some combination of burned media: from the PlayStation 1’s CD support to the PlayStation 3 and 4’s Blu-ray support, with the PlayStation 4 having only removed CD support. Hacking the PS4 through Blu-ray BD-J functionality has long been discussed as an idea for an entry point,” wrote CTurt. “This may be something I would be interested in looking into for a long-term future project.”
While FreeDVDBoot doesn’t have help for all DVD drives used within the PS2 line, he is engaged on increasing help. Instructions and the required recordsdata are posted on GitHub for these all in favour of attempting it out.
Image credit score: Deni Williams