Update: Reader Kevin K shared this link from Eurogamer's resident egghead, Richard Leadbetter of DigitalFoundry, who notes that "it remains unclear what the ramifications of the hack actually are" and that "right now there has been no "hello world" homebrew code executed that typically demonstrates that the hacker actually has full control over the system." Read the entire piece for a fascinating look into the challenge of hacking the PS3 and the safeguards put in place on Sony's black box.
You may also want to read this BBC interview with Mr. Hotz, in which he says, "I can now do whatever I want with the system. It's like I've got an awesome new power - I'm just not sure how to wield it." He also tells the BBC that he "would publish details of the console's 'root key'"; however, DigitalFoundry writes, "Once the root key is available, it's essentially game over for the system's security for all-time, but it's here that some of the claims being made for the hack don't really add up. PSP has been compromised on many levels again and again, but its root key apparently remains unknown."
Original post: It has begun. With iPhone hacker George Hotz (the kids call him GeoHot) releasing his PlayStation 3 exploit to the world today, he's kicked off what's sure to be a non-stop game of cat-and-mouse between the global hacking community and the Japanese consumer electronics giant. "This is the coveted PS3 exploit," Hotz writes on his blog, linking to the exploit while noting that it "gives full memory access and therefore ring 0 access from OtherOS." Okay, we really only understood that first part but we're sure "full memory access" is synonymous with "bad news" for Sony's engineers. When first revealing his progress last Friday, Hotz wrote, "I have read/write access to the entire system memory, and HV level access to the processor. In other words, I have hacked the PS3."
Of course, we've seen this very same game played out on the PSP front with a constant stream of firmware updates designed to patch up the portable's porous security and, yes, even add some new features now and again. With the PS3 already the victim of an onerous amount of updates, we worry the hack may result in a glut of mandatory security patches. But who knows what wonders (no, we don't count the inevitable piracy amongst those wonders) this hack holds for PS3 owners – since the hack "is known to work with version 2.4.2 only" we suspect most people reading this won't even be able to tinker. Caveat emptor!