PlayStation 4 Linux Hack Shows 4.01 Vulnerability

Hackers attending the GeekPwn 2016 convention in Shanghai, China suggested that Sony’s PlayStation 4 running on the 4.01 firmware has been hacked. The recently released video reveals the console running an illegal Linux build courtesy of a web browser exploit.

While details regarding the hack are unknown, in order to run unlicensed applications and games, a browser-based security issue in PS4 firmware version 4.01 could possibly allow users to root the upcoming PlayStation 4 Pro console.

Hosted by members of the Pavilion Safety Research Lab, you will see that the video below jump-cuts to a command line interface, indicating that Linux has successfully been installed on the hardware. The pair then shows the hack’s potential applications by loading up a Nintendo Entertainment System emulator and playing the original Super Mario Bros. using the PS4’s DualShock 4 controller.

While Sony has already rolled out a patch that will likely address the new exploit, Eurogamer notes that initial shipments of Sony’s upgraded PlayStation 4 Pro console are likely to include the same system software as seen in the video above, suggesting that hackers may be able to root the mid-gen upgrade at launch.

“Linux on the PS4 actually makes a lot of sense, more than it ever did on any previous game console,” fail0verflow stated back in January after their demo. “It’s close enough to a PC that getting 3D acceleration working, while rather painful (as we’ve learned), seems entirely possible without undue amounts of effort (in a timeframe of months, not years), to the level needed for real indie games and even AAA titles, not just homebrew. And many thousands of indie and AAA games already run on Linux. Yes, SteamOS on the PS4 should ‘just work’ once the driver issues are sorted out.”

Since the unveiling of December’s fail0verflow hack, the PlayStation 4 has been a particular target for hackers that allowed the console to boot Linux builds.