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BBC NEWS | Technology | Three hacker teams unlock the PSP

Three hacker teams unlock the PSP
By Paul Rubens

Sony PSP on display
Hackers break into Sony's PSP to install their own "homebrew" apps
Computer hackers have scored a victory in their battle against Sony and the way the company controls its PlayStation Portable (PSP) handheld games console.

Sony sells its PSP with built-in software, known as firmware, which controls how the console operates.

The firmware locks many of the PSP's capabilities, preventing enthusiasts from writing their own programs, known as homebrew, and running them on the machine.

It also limits its ability to play some films which are not bought on special Sony PSP disks.

But last month three hacker teams - Noobz, Team C+D, and a group led by PSP hacker Dark Alex - co-ordinating their efforts over the internet, found a flaw in the most recently released version of the firmware - version 3.03.

Unlocking PSPs

Using this flaw they devised a way to unlock all PSPs, regardless of their age or the firmware running on it.

This development has been a cause for celebration in the PSP homebrew community, but caused alarm at Sony because unlocked PSPs can be used to play pirated PSP games.

"The problem experienced here is not with homebrew applications, but with hackers who pirate commercial titles," a Sony spokesperson said.

"Piracy is illegal and we strongly oppose any acts which either aide or profit from it."

But the hackers say piracy is not what motivates their teams to unlock the PSP.

"My aim is to enable as many people as possible to run homebrew programs," said Fanjita, a member of the Noobz team.

He added: "Everyone has the right to do what they want with their own hardware. Piracy does upset me, and because what we are doing opens the way to piracy it's harder to justify it morally.

Sony have never been in touch with me, so I am confident that what we are doing is legal
Fanjita (David Court)
PSP Hacker

BBC NEWS | Technology | Three hacker teams unlock the PSP

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