Friday, October 14, 2005

PSP Nonsense

What with all the strongly worded warnings like this one at Secunia, this one at Symantec, or this one at ZDNet, you'd think that the PSP was a very vulnerable device.

I don't think so.

After all, only the 2.0 and up firmware's have a built in web-browser (before that you had to use the Wipeout: Pure internal in game browser with some hacks), it doesn't run a common OS (like Windows), can't download attachments laden with spyware or trojans (like Outlook), and hardly ever connects to the Internet (most people that turn on the wireless are playing ad-hoc with another PSP or downloading the new firmware through Sony.)

The media has made a huge deal about it too, I personally saw a report on CNN (which is on all day in the office, except when someone turns on Fox News (/me rolls eyes)) in which they basically made this out to the "MOST DANGEROUS THING THAT HAS EVER HAPPENED!!!" I mean come on people!

The Secunia advisory points out the .TIFF buffer overflow that lets a 'hacker' run 'mailicious code' on your unit. So far the bulk of the code being run is so that people that have the 2.0 firmware can roll it back to the 1.5 firmware, the last version that allows owners of the PSP to run homebrew code on it. Right now those with 1.5 can open Acrobat documents, listen to Shoutcast streams, play emulated Nintendo, N64, Gameboy, Sega games, etc etc. Yes there is a small percentage of people out there that are running pirated games, but with any gaming device you're going to have that small crowd which insists on playing 50 dollar games for free. (The fact that you have to spend 80-150 bucks to get a Memory Stick Pro Duo to play a downloaded game, by the way, escapes most of the people that argue that PSP game piracy is raging.)

The Symantec advisory warns against a trojan that takes advantage of the .TIFF overflow, but the code it runs deletes key files in the PSP firmware that 'bricks' the PSP, basically you can turn the unit on and get a pretty black screen and that's about it. It looks like the 2.0 to 1.5 downgrader, but does all harm and no good. To me it all goes back to the old adage 'buyer beware', except we replace it for the new age with 'downloader beware'.

Most of the people that are downgrading their firmware know where to find the legit copy, I myself found mine through PSPUpdates, in my travels one of the best sources for PSP info out there. A smart gamer/geek is only going to download trusted code from a trusted site, and will be a little more than paranoid about anything else he/she downloads. The 13 year old greedy bastard on the other hand, who wants nothing more than to download pirated games on their spyware-laden Kazaa or some shit like that deserves to download the Brick trojan and ruin their precious 250 dollar bling (which, oh by the way, they didn't work for months to save for.)

It just seems like more and more the media tends to hype anything, but these days especially anything that says 'vulnerability', 'virus', 'trojan', or 'hacker' in it. Even if the story itself doesn't say that, if someone somewhere thinks that they can slip in one of those buzzwords they will.

And this guy agrees with me.

2 Comments:

Blogger J.Weston said...

I thought about getting a PSP, but for some reason I have Never hopped on the Sony bandwagon. I find I don't much care for most of the games they produce. I'm all about the replay value of games hence why I stick with ol' faithful, Nintendo.

Xbox has been on the up and up lately and has been holding my attention strongly with the release of Burnout Revenge as well as a few other titles.

I'll defintely want to touch your PSP when I come visit so I can see what all the hoopla is about. I love nifty gadgets.

I would be one of those guys that hacked the crap out of my PSP b/c there is no way I could justify paying 50$ for a game every time I turned around and to find out most of them suck after playing for less than a week. I guess all the 'other' features would have to hold my attention.

October 14, 2005 9:08 PM  
Blogger ZipperSeven said...

In comparison I've always had Sony...never been interested in Nintendo games, personally. First started playing Need for Speed and have been playing Playstations ever since.

October 15, 2005 2:03 PM  

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