Tag: firmware

Sony plugs PS3 root key hole with Blu-ray serial keys

Sony will introduce a serial key system for its games on the PlayStation 3, according to a “very reliable source” cited by PS3-Sense.

The move follows the revealing of the PS3’s root keys at the beginning of this month, which opens the doors to piracy. The root keys are used as part of the authentication process to verify the legitimacy of a PS3 game, but with them out in the wild hackers can trick their way past the protection measure.

The exposing of the root keys caused massive embarrassment for Sony and could cost it millions in pirated games. It has taken the threat to heart, suing over 100 hackers involved in the case.

That may help recoup some losses or keep the hackers at bay for a bit, but it won’t repair the breach in the PS3’s hull, so clearly it is hard at work trying to find a new authentication system.

New games are expected to come with a unique serial key relating to that specific Blu-ray disc, which must then be entered on the PS3 for verification, much like standard serial keys for software and games on PCs. However, it can only be entered a maximum of five times, obviously to prevent further piracy, but it may cause severe restrictions for genuine gamers also.

Sony is already working on this proposal and has, according to unnamed source, already updated the PS3’s firmware to enact the new protection measure. Of course, old games that have already been shipped cannot have the serial keys introduced, so either Sony will have to forfeit its losses on those or come up with another security measure.

Hackers break into GSM network, can listen to your phone calls

Hackers have broken into the mobile phone GSM network and can now eavesdrop on your calls using dirt cheap handsets, according to security researchers at the Chaos Computer Club Congress.

Two researchers, Karsten Nohl and Sylvain Munaut, showed off a toolkit they developed over the last year for getting access to other people’s calls. 

They were able to demonstrate how they could locate and seize a uniquely identified phone, along with intercepting call and text data sent from the phone to the base station.

A vital part of the process is using cheap Motorola phones, costing only €10 ($13) which can have their firmware replaced by an unfiltered open source alternative, the duo told the BBC. This new firmware allows the user to see all of the data being broadcast from a base station.

The ability to make this attack requires intimate knowledge of the technology and software involved, preventing an Average Joe from spying on his neighbours, but there are some concerns raised about the ability to target a unique phone, which could lead to eavesdropping on high-profile targets, such as politicians and celebrities.

The toolkit will not be released to the public, but it’s likely that hackers will figure out the missing pieces of the puzzles for themselves. Mobile operators were prompted to improve their security to combat the gaping hole in their networks.

With an estimated five billion GSM mobile phones in the world, that’s a lot of phone calls that are now at risk. If only Coulson had known.

Microsoft planning update to quadruple Kinect accuracy

Microsoft is planning an update for the Kinect that could quadruple its accuracy.

The firmware update will add improved finger movement and hand rotation detection to the Kinect camera, with users only needing to download a software update straight into their Kinect to benefit from the improvements.

Accuracy of the Kinect’s well-received motion capture camera is set to jump to four times its current levels due to the new detection of smaller joints on the body.

The resolution will also increase from 320×240 to 640×480, increasing the depth sensor of the camera.

Eurogamer was told that the USB controller interface is only using 15 or 16MB/s, but that it is capable of reaching 35MB/s, showing the potential expansion of the device and software. It is believed that 20MB/s would deliver full resolution for both cameras on the Kinect.

The increase in accuracy and resolution could slow down game speeds, however, and it’s not certain that any of the current Kinect-capable titles on the Xbox 360 could avail of the boost, but with the Kinect only recently launching it’s still early days to deliver new games with improved accuracy.

The Kinect has gained popularity in the hacking community over the past month when an open source driver was developed to make the device work with non-Xbox devices. Multiple developments such as 3D video capture and augmented reality have been achieved, all of which could benefit from the improved accuracy touted in the upcoming update.

Sony puts 3D game compatibility in mandatory PS3 firmware update

3D gaming has been given an official kick up the rear, with the latest Playstation 3 Firmware update, 3.30, packing the ability to play stereoscopic gaming.

At the moment there aren’t any 3D titles available for the PS3, but the update proves Sony is set to change that. It was thought that the 3D firmware update wouldn’t be out for a couple of months, so perhaps Sony is gearing up for a closer 3D launch.

According to Pocket-Lint, Wipeout HD, Motorstorm Pacific Rift, PAIN and Super Stardust HD will all be available soon, the first copies of which will ship with Sony’s new Bravia 3D TVs. They’ll then be plonked onto the Playstation Network.

The mandatory update packs some other bits and bobs. You can expect an updated PS3 to have heavily increased Flash support for YouTube or iPlayering around on. The Sixth Axis reports that there have been reworkings to the Trophy system which can now be fully sorted by name and date. Most interestingly, perhaps, is an option available for PC remote play. As usual there have been some reports of bugs following the update.

Keen gamers with heaps of money will be able to buy the Bravia 3D, shipping with the 3D titles, this June.

Windows 7 gives untrustworthy battery stats

A problem with a bug in a tool in Windows 7 has generated a flood of online complaints and Microsoft has only just admitted there’s a problem.

The tool relates to battery life, with people getting warnings either that the power is exhausted or worse that the battery needs to be replaced.

Windows 7So Microsoft has gone off to consult with its hardware partners – it’s saying there’s a problem with the BIOS. Windows 7 uses information held in the BIOS to issue the messages.

But there’s still debate on a Microsoft support forum whether the problem really is with the battery or not. One user complained that after he’d had the message the battery was damaged after trying it with a different operating system.

Others have attempted to roll back to XP and claim the battery still vastly underperforms.

One user, calling himself bdoserr changed his battery in his Asus Eee PC 900 last month because he took the warning seriously. He said: “The replacement is already being reported as defective, even though it’s only been through two charge cycles.”

He said the machine came with Linux and he spotted to Windows 7. “Big Mistake,” he said. “I am not pleased.”