PlayStation 4 hacked to run Linux (and Pokémon)

Fail0verflow team, hacked the Sony’s next generation console PlayStation 4 by getting Gentoo Linux on the console too. 

They demonstrated Linux on the PlayStation 4 at the 32nd Chaos Communication Congress, an event widely known as 32c3, on December 30, 2015.

How Did Fail0verflow Manage To Accomplish The Feat?

The team managed to find a susceptibility in the PlayStation 4 gaming console by bringing up the Settings option, where the Linux kernel-based operating system is launched.

The group navigated to the User’s Guide section, where they located the weakness to hack the console. There was a broken NOP command on the integrated AMD Radeon GPU. NOP or No Operation is used for timing preventing delay when launching the gaming console which with a little effort the team noticed.

Here is the group running a modified Pokémon ROM dubbed ‘PlayStation version’ on the PS4 via Linux.


What Works. And What Doesn’t?

After the hack, the following components and instructions present on the motherboard remained functional:

  • Timers
  • IRQs (interrupt request)
  • PCI
  • Serial port
  • Framebuffer
  • Kernel mode setting
  • HDMI encoder
  • Ethernet
  • Wi-Fi
  • Bluetooth
  • S/PDIF audio


3D hardware acceleration, USB ports, and the HDMI audio port did not respond after completing the hacking process, but the group claimed to find out how to make the above three work. But the Blu-Ray disk read, Fail0verflow are still working in order to make it work.

Will the PS4 get hacked to run pirated games and backups? This has definitely got everyone thinking about such a possibility in the near future.

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