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Modders have jailbroken the PlayStation 5 on year-old firmware

Modders have jailbroken the PlayStation 5 on year-old firmware


A kernel exploit allows users to access a PlayStation 5 debug menu and install PS5 and PS4 game backups — but not play them

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An illustration of the PlaySation “PS” logo overlayed on swooping blue and teal colors
Sony is likely not pleased.
Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

While it’s thankfully getting much easier to buy a PlayStation 5, the nearly two-year-old console has had enough time with modders to slowly (very slowly) get picked apart. Now, hackers have demonstrated how a recent IPV6 kernel exploit utilizing a Webkit vulnerability can allow users access to a Debug Settings Menu in the PS5’s dashboard. This menu allows a user to poke and prod around settings usually reserved for developers, including a package installer that can install PKG files for PS4 and PS5 games.

While this may sound like the trappings of a bustling homebrew scene and fertile ground for pirates, the use cases are still fairly limited at this time. In addition to the usual risks of getting your PSN account banned, voiding your PS5’s warranty, and risking a bricked console, the jailbreak will only work on a system running the now one-year-old firmware version 4.03 or earlier. And while a game backup can be installed, it’s not actually playable in its current state. But still, the modding community is likely to continue its march toward bigger, more robust hacks that open up further opportunities — inching frightfully closer to earning the attention of a potentially litigious Sony.

Even if this mod scene is still growing from infancy, it’s always fascinating to see crafty folks bend the rules and run things they’re not supposed to. For example, modder Lance McDonald spared no time to show off installing PS4 horror game demo P.T. on their PS5, which is a scarce digital asset thanks to its removal from the PlayStation Network in 2015. Though with no way to run the file, it remains a move reserved mostly for earning internet points. Hopefully this means we are stepping closer to seeing more cool stuff like this in the world of PS5 mods — you know, for science — before any inevitable cease-and-desist orders rear their ugly heads.