Posted by djp on Jan 6, 2011

PS3 Hacker Kakaroto Interviewed

Well here it is folk’s, the interview you have all been asking for. Playstation 3 developer KaKaRoTo answering a lot of questions that the most of you are scratching your head about!

djp: Ok first question, when did you first begin developing?

KaKaRoTo: Well, I started development when I was maybe 5 or 6 years old, but didn’t do anything above the level of a “hello world” in quick-basic.. I really started coding when I was in high school. I had a TI-83 calculator and I started programming games for it (nibbles) then I went to university and learned real languages, then I joined the aMSN project and I got involved with real programming, and with the open source community.

KaKaRoTo: I did a lot of reverse engineering for aMSN, mainly the network protocol, but I also wrote an audio codec (libsiren) for the MSN audio calls by reversing the codec from assembly

djp: Very cool, us not so privledged of knowledge always look up to you guys and wonder how it began. How did you become involved in the PlayStation 3 scene ?

KaKaRoTo: I was a reader of and when they posted a ‘request for developers’ I sent my ‘resume’, they gave me a little program to reverse engineer, which I did, then I joined them, I really didn’t do anything for them apart from writing the little kernel module to dump the hypervisor when the ****** exploit first appeared

KaKaRoTo: I entered the ps3 scene really when I saw a usb descriptor dump posted in a forum, and since I did a lot of network and file reversing, I was curious on that data and the usb format, so I started reading on the usb specs, and ended up writing PSFreedom and that’s how I entered the ps3 scene

djp: So now that you have released your MFW (Modified Firmware) the only feature added is the ability to install .pkg files, do you see any other features being added ?

KaKaRoTo: I’m not sure on what features to add to MFW. I think what I released right now, is really all you need already. But I know that there are some other modifications to add even more options, like what the Rebug team has been doing so a possible future MFW would be to add all the same options and features as Rebug. But I’m not interested in working on that and it’s possible the Rebug team will release that themselves.

djp: Now that all the tools are out, and your MFW is available, why haven’t we seen any of the emulators or other homebrew applications signed yet and made available.. is the signing process still being worked on?

KaKaRoTo: Yes, the fail0verflow team is still working on making the signing and pkg-ing process work correctly. We have the keys for signing, but I think they have some issues still with the file format of the SELF files, so it’s not yet working. Once they figure that out and update their tools, then all the homebrew apps can be signed and we can start installing them

djp: And do you think that the npdrm will be disabled, or added the ability to use it into the signing process?

KaKaRoTo: There is no need to disable it, also disabling it would require modifying the kernel (which I don’t want to do) since we have all the keys now, we will just sign all the homebrew with npdrm, just like Sony would sign official games then we can install the homebrew with the MFW and everything works.. that’s why I said that I don’t believe there’s anything really needed from the MFW apart from what I already released

djp: And along the piracy lines, which we really don’t want to touch on that subject, but to be honest, its bound to happen.. as of right now the PSJailbreak device uses a lvl 2 patch, with the tools that are out now and upcoming future tools, do you see people self signing game rips or packaging them as .pkg?

KaKaRoTo: Piracy is unfortunately bound to happen, yes. I honestly, personally don’t care either way. I believe that everyone is responsible for their own actions, and if someone wants to pirate, it’s between him and his conscience (and his lawyers ). I don’t accept or condone piracy, I buy all my games, and I don’t like seeing people pirate games, BUT in the end, it’s their choice, it’s their problem, not mine. But just as they are responsible for their actions, I’m also responsible for mine, and I do not want to allow piracy by something that I do.
KaKaRoTo: About signing game rips, I don’t know, the games are already signed by sony, so there is nothing to sign as far as I know but the games read their files off the bluray, and you can’t fake the bluray player. What psjailbreak did was targeted to backups and piracy from the start, and it had hacks inside the kernel to allow backups to be played but with the MFW, the kernel is left untouched (because it’s risky to modify it) so it can’t work… unless someone finds a way to make them work, but I don’t think any of the ‘smart enough hackers’ will even try.

djp: Agreed, as most of the dev’s have been pretty voicy about avoiding the opening for it

djp: And one more question, because it has been asked over and over, with your modified firmware, it is obviously possible to be banned from PSN, but do you see tools to remove the ban, and or change your console ID or another similar work around?

KaKaRoTo: Yeah, I’ve seen a lot of similar questions on twitter, I think the risk is minimal, simply because the kernel is not modified, the firmware is still the same and it’s hard for sony to detect this. The *only* file modified is an xml file (that specifies what to show on the XMB) where I add a few lines to tell it to show the “Install pkg” option. Sony could release a firmware update with a special software that hashes that specific xml file to see whether or not it was modified but unless they are willing to take action specifically against that, I don’t see it happening

djp: It is Sony we are talking about..

KaKaRoTo: Yeah I know, they are a bit lazy though Just look at their failures with the PS3′s security

KaKaRoTo: About changing console IDs, I don’t know, I don’t have a lot of knowledge in that area, and I don’t really care either, so if there’s a solution, someone other than me might find it. They do have every right to ban the console from PSN (it’s their service, we don’t own it) but they can’t really brick the console on purpose (it’s our machine, we bought it, we own it) but as always, those who decided to jailbreak or install the MFW do it at their own risks we can’t predict the future, and we can’t know what Sony will do if they ever decide not to accept their defeat.

djp: well in my opinion, it has been said over and over it costs double to develop for the ps3, and if piracy ends up being rampant and easy, i see a long fight from Sony to keep their developers happy..

KaKaRoTo: Well, developers get paid when they sell on the PS3, and I don’t think this will affect their sales

djp: whether its blocking a emulator running, or a constant battle to fight the piracy, I bet we see a lot more frequent fw updates

KaKaRoTo: well, firmware updates are meaningless because there is nothing they can do now we have all their private keys if they change a key, we’ll get it in a matter of seconds (really) they can’t change their root key.. and if they change the application keys, then ALL the games released so far will stop working so they really have no way to escape their fate. Also, the xbox and the wii have piracy, and I don’t see their consoles dying because the ‘rampant piracy’ is making them lose all their sales. Everybody knows that, “Piracy” isn’t about loosing money, it’s only about justifying to the CEOs why something didn’t sell so well (real answer: the game sucked)

KaKaRoTo: I think that Wolfire (the Indie developers behind The Humble Indie Bindle) explained it pretty well in their blog: one pirated game does not equal one lost sale

djp: Well the problem with that is now everyone is comparing the ps3 to the Dreamcast, and we all know Dreamcast was pirated to death. But i agree most people who play on line, will still buy that game

KaKaRoTo: I’m not familiar with that unfortunately. My first (and only) console is the ps3 But I’d say that 90% or 95% of the people who pirate a game were NEVER going to buy it anyways they either wouldn’t have played it, or they download it and never even try it, rent it, or borrow it from a friend, or if they are generous, they would have bought it used. Most pirates are young teenagers in school with no money to buy games anyways.

djp: Yes, I tend to agree, the people who pirate end up with stacks of burned discs, that never get played they are just there to show off to their friends..

KaKaRoTo: when someone gets a salary and has money, they will buy games even if they can pirate them

djp: do you think we will ever see you working on any other systems maybe a 360

KaKaRoTo: I’m not sure about other systems, I don’t think so, although we don’t know what the future holds. I never expected to be involved with the PS3 scene, it really happened by pure luck. But I only own a ps3, I never even touched a wii or xbox controller, and I’m very anti-Microsoft, so I don’t think I’ll ever buy a 360 or a wii.

djp: Well we are glad to have you here

KaKaRoTo: Thanks I’m also glad, it was very entertaining and I learned a lot these past few months.

We will continue this interview tomorrow along with any questions you guys have for him. If you have a question, leave it as a comment and if it’s worth asking, then we will.

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