I recently got the opportunity to ask a few questions to hacker uf6667
about a project recently announced as nearing completion: ProgSkeet or “The Last Mile”, a device that has the ability to bypass the PS3’s security and downgrade it’s firmware. Hacking and homebrew on the PS3 have been a contentious issue ever since Sony removed the ability to install Linux on the PS3 when hacker Geohot took advantage of it and broke through the PS3’s security. This sparked what has been a tumultuous couple of years for Sony and gamers, seeing the PS3’s data encryption key released to the public and PSN being brought offline.
But it isn’t over yet, as new devices, such as ProgSkeet begin to pop-up, but what does the developer of this latest device have to say?
> What exactly is ProgSkeet and what does it enable users to do?
It’s a device that allows you to read and program non-volatile memory (NVM), in the strictest meaning . . . What can be done with it? Well, say you have this new car and want to mess with its calibration data – pop the hood, find the ROM (NAND/NOR, supports both), solder it to it, hook it up to your computer via USB, fire up the software, do the work. This is NOT limited to cars – it can also program flash that is contained in PS3, PSP, PSP Go, Wii and Xbox 360. Large block, small block, doesn’t matter!
> For what purpose was ProgSkeet designed and developed?
Programmers used in the industry cost thousands of euros and there is no cheaper solution to this problem . . . until now. It can match both performance as well as low price range to complete the purpose . . . Sure it’ll kill some businesses because their engineers are still paying for student loans but hey, what do you care?
> How does ProgSkeet compare to say, the PS Jailbreak Dongle or Infectus?
Let me make one thing clear: it was NOT designed for PS3 in mind. It’s just lucky that PS3 supports NVM. Comparing it to PS Jailbreak is like comparing apples to oranges.
But back to the subject – Infectus is good for what it does but it’s limited in both speed as well as support. See, Infectus can reach speeds like 50kB/s whereas ProgSkeet can do 1MB/s without hassle. Plus, the customer is king – in this case, the user can either choose one of the available configurations for flashing or add new ones (MoviNAND for example) – you no longer have to wait for a team to update their software to accustom your needs – you can just read the datasheet by yourself and add the configuration.
The question is: do you want a product that is never updated, limited in capabilities and slow (Infectus) or do you want something that’s fast, has steady support and keeps adding features?
PS3 (NAND+NOR), 360 (NAND, big block + small block), Wii (big block) are already supported. You can add more if they are not yet supported. Just need like 10 pieces of information from the datasheet.
> When did you start development on ProgSkeet and why?
I am NOT “the cook” but he tells me he started in like 2007 or something for a school project with a USB core of his own. This year he introduced it to me and I started working on the software, suggesting changes in the hardware, etc. I have sh*t loads of things I can flash but no device to do the job. I don’t fancy reversing a TAP for each and every device. Too much hassle.
> When will ProgSkeet release and how much will it cost?
Production will be done July 15th (I was told), so expect it very soon. Software just needs some ironing here and there but will be functional by the time it can be ordered.
Expect the cost to be less than 50EUR (I don’t know the exact cost but for sure not over 50EUR).
> After seeing Sony’s treatment of GeoHot, are you worried that they will come after you as well?
Well, this is a complicated question. GeoHot “extorted” Sony on paper (“If you want it secure bla bla bla hire me”) and accepted donations at some point. That’s him making money after a failed extortion. In this case, we don’t give a sh*t about Sony. I don’t even play PS3. If you want to use it on PS3, go right ahead, then each and every producer of flashers will be prosecuted or in this case: persecuted.
“The cook” was *explicitly* advised to remove the sniffing abilities to get rid of any kind of troubles. Originally, it was intended as a programmer, logic analyzer, and pattern generator – all very legal in their own purpose – however, in a potential civil lawsuit, this could escalate to criminal lawsuit, due to European/International IP laws, specifically concerning intended circumvention of TPMs. It’s like distributing hunting rifles without a licence: you’re bound to get f*cked when the first idiot commits homicide/suicide. Don’t make it possible and you’re free from worries.
In conclusion, if you’re into homebrew: be excited, but if you’re just interested in playing games then there’s nothing to worry about. For more information on ProgSkeet you can read the article I wrote yesterday on the device or visit the official site, which at time of writing is still under construction.