With a route into the console’s system, fail0verflow then identified weaknesses in the PlayStation 4’s GPU. Engineers from semiconductor company Marvell were called out specifically and accused of “smoking some real good stuff” when they built the PlayStation 4’s southbridge chip.
Before you start dreaming up your next DIY computing project, you should know that this proof-of-concept relies on PS4 firmware 1.76. Sony recently issued firmware 3.11 to consoles. While the bug has now been patched, it’s believed the jailbreak could be altered to achieve the same outcome on more recent firmwares. Incidentally, the WebKit bug identified here is the exact same one that affected Apple’s Safari browser, which put iOS 6.0 and OS X 10.7 and 10.8 at risk in 2013. It shows just how common WebKit-based software now is.
While PS4 owners won’t be able to install pirated games anytime soon, fail0verflow’s achievement shouldn’t be dismissed. Sony went to a lot of trouble to ensure that unsigned code could not be run on the console. The company requires that the machine runs on the very latest software, meaning hacker groups still have a long way to go before the PlayStation 4 is made truly open to hobbyists — just like the PlayStation 3 officially was when it first hit shelves almost a decade ago.