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PS JailBreak PS3 Exploit Reverse Engineering is Detailed!


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212w ago - Earlier today we reported on the open-source PS JailBreak PS3 exploit from Mathieulh's PlayStation 3 hacking team dubbed PSGroove, and as promised the reverse-engineering details are now available linked above and posted below, as follows:

Analysis of the PSJailbreak Exploit

Intro

The PSJailbreak dongle is a modchip for the PlayStation 3 that allows users to backup and play games off the harddrive. Unlike the modchips of the Previous generation, or the modchips so far for the Xbox360 and Wii, this modchip simply plugs into the USB port on the front of the PS3, avoiding the need for complex soldering and voiding of your warranty.

As the time of writing this document, the final PSJailbreak has not been released, but a number of samples were given out and at least one fell into the hands of someone who owned a USB sniffer.

This analysis of the exploit is based on those USB sniffer logs, issues encountered during the development of the opensource PSGroove version of the exploit and a number of educated guesses. It will probably be updated as new information comes in.

The initial analysis by gamefreax.de suggested that it was a Stack overflow attack. After further analist it turns out that this exploit is a Heap Overflow attack. The exploit carefully manipulates the heap by plugging and unplugging fake usb devices with large device descriptors until the device on port 4 which misreports its size to overwrite one of malloc's boundary tags.

The state of the PS3

The exploit takes place while the PS3 is looking for the Jig (triggered by pressing eject within 200ms of pressing power). It is suspected that the ps3 spends around 5 seconds doing nothing but initializing devices on the USB bus, so there is little extra code running to mess the exploit up.

Setting up the heap

The PSJailbreak dongle emulates a 6 port USB hub. By attaching and detaching fake devices to the ports of the hub the dongle has control over the mallocing and freeing of various blocks of memory that hold the device and configuration descriptors.

Port one

After the hub has been initialized, a device is plugged into port one with a pid/vid of 0xAAAA/0x5555, It has 4 configurations with each one is 0xf00 bytes long. This is just under the size of 4k page, so malloc will have probably have request a new page for each one, unless it already has enough free space, but at least one will be aligned at the start of a page.

The ps3 also changes the configuration the 2nd time it is read so the configuration in the ps3 memory is only 18 bytes long.

It just so happens that that this data contains the payload that the exploit will jump to after gaining control of the execution, but that is not important for the exploit.

Port two

After the PS3 has finished reading the port one device descriptors, the dongle switches back to the address of the hub and reports that a device has been plugged into port two.

This device has a pid/vid of 0xAAAA/0xBBBB, and it has 1 configuration descriptor which is 22 bytes long. Only the first 18 bytes are real usb data and the remaining 4 bytes are:

04 21 B4 2F

With a length of 04 and an invalid type byte, anything interpreting it as USB descriptor will probably skip over it and the last 2 bytes. It is suspected that this is just here to make this descriptor take up an exact amount of heap space.

Port Three

The port three device has a pid/vid of 0xAAAA/0x5555, the same as port one. Unlike the port one device it has 2 configuration descirptors, each 0xa4d bytes long The data that fills them is junk but it may or may not be relevant that if you treat the data as descriptors they will have valid lengths. These descriptors will probably be allocated to the start of a fresh 4kb page that follows the page with the last port one descriptor and port three descriptors.

Port Two Disconnect

After port three is connected, port two will be disconnected, this will cause the port two descriptors to be freed, which frees up some space between the Port One and Port Three descriptors.

The exploit

The heap is now prepared for our exploit.

Port Four Connection

A device is connected to port 4, with a pid/vid of 0xAAAA/0x5555 and 3 configurations.

Configuration A

This is a normal configuration, 18 bytes long

Configuration B

This configuration is the same as Configuration A, except it changes its total length from 18 bytes to to zero bytes after the PS3 has read it the first time and allocated space for it.

This is where things get vague, this is key to the exploit and will somehow cause the the extra data at the end of Configuration C to overwrite one of malloc's boundary tag, most likely the one belonging to Port Three.

But the exact reason for this buffer overrun is hard to guess without actually seeing the exploited code.

Configuration C

This starts the same as configuration A, but has 14 bytes of extra data at the end.

.. .. 3e 21 00 00 00 00
fa ce b0 03 aa bb cc dd
80 00 00 00 00 46 50 00
80 00 00 00 00 3d ee 70

The first 6 are just padding (but the 3e might be important if this ever gets interpreted as a USB descriptor.) Then there are 3 u64 values, each 8 bytes long.

The first two values are stored for use by the shell code later just before malloc's boundary tag.

The 3rd value overwrites the first value of the boundary tag, which is pointer to the next free section of memory. The replacement pointer will point to a function somewhere. This will cause a malloc to allocate memory in the wrong place, sometime in the future, allowing the exploit to overwrite an existing function.

Port Five

The dongle plugs the fake Jig into Port Five right after Port Four has done its job. It uses the same PID/VID that the original Sony Jig uses (0x054C/0x02EB) and probably the same configuration with the same end points.

It is suspected that because the Jig is a known device that the PS3 was waiting for, it's device and configuration descriptors will not be malloced into the heap.

The PS3 sends a 64 byte challenge to the fake Jig to authenticate it, and the dongle replies with 64 bytes of static data. The PS3 will malloc space for this response, and because the boundary tags have been modified by Port Four, malloc will return a pointer to 24 bytes before a function that has something to do with free and the 64 bytes of data will be written over top of the function.

At the point, no code has been patched yet, so the Jig's static response will fail to authenticate the jig.

Unplug Port Three

The dongle now sends a message that port 3 has been unplugged. This will cause the PS3 to free the Port Three's configuration data, the very same buffer which had its boundary tag overwritten by Port Four.

So our shellcode gets called, with R3 pointing to the boundary tag before Port Three's Configuration data.

The Shellcode

PPC Assembly:

ROM:00000018 ld %r4, -0x10(%r3)
ROM:0000001C ld %r3, -8(%r3)
ROM:00000020
ROM:00000020 loc_20: # CODE XREF: sub_18+14j
ROM:00000020 ld %r5, 0x18(%r3)
ROM:00000024 addi %r3, %r3, 0x1000
ROM:00000028 cmpw %r4, %r5
ROM:0000002C bne loc_20
ROM:00000030 addi %r6, %r3, -0xFE0
ROM:00000034 mtctr %r6
ROM:00000038 bctr

This takes a pointer to the corrupted boundary tags in r3.

r4 is loaded with the 0xFACEB003AABBCCDD tag, then r3 is loaded with 0x8000000000465000, both of these values are stored just before the boundary tag.

The shell code then scans every 4KB block (0x1000 bytes) starting at 0x8000000000465000, checking for 0xFACEB003AABBCCDD tag in the u64 at 0x18 in each page.

When it finds it, the shellcode will jump to offset 0x20 in the payload.

After the exploit

Cleanup

The exploit is now completed: Port Five, Port Four then Port One will be unplugged.

Hopefully the Payload will have copied itself out of the heap before Port One is unplugged.

Port Six

The device that gets plugged into Port Six has nothing to do with the exploit. It has a vid/pid of 0xAAAA/0xDEC0 (on the PPC, which is big endian, the pid is 0xC0DE).

The payload sends it a single byte (0xAA) control transfer so that the dongle will know that the exploit was successful so it can turn the green LED on to signal the user.

A function in the original PSJailbreak Payload will make sure that this device stays plugged in. If it is ever unplugged then it will call LV1_Panic and your PS3 will shutdown. PSGroove has removed this 'feature'.

The Payload

The actual payload is outside the scope of this document (There might be a 2nd document discussing the original PSJailbreak payload), but we will discuss the environment.

The payload will start in an unknown position, aligned to a 4KB boundary, it should either use position independent code, or copy itself to a known location. The payload has full control over the lv2 (aka gameos) kernel and anything below it. It doesn't have any control over lv1 (aka the hypervisor) without a 2nd exploit (the original Geohot exploit should still work.)

The Jig authentication code is most likely running in lv1 or an isolated SPU so it is not possible to patch it with this exploit.

The lv2 kernel is loaded at the time of the exploit, perfect for patching or you could replace it with something better like a linux kernel. A linux kernel running in this environment would have all the privilege of the regular gameos kernel.

F.A.Q.

What firmware versions will this work with?

The exploit should work on any firmware version, but the current payload only works on 3.41.

As i read it is not needed to have the dongle plugged in the whole time? My Question is what happens after rebooting the ps3? will homebrews still be installed and bootable?

They will be still installed, but unless you boot with the exploit you can't run them. This might change at a later date, think back to the original xbox softmods.

How hard would it be for Sony to patch this exploit in the next firmware release? If trivial, does that mean that basically this exploit will be useless in a few weeks unless we never update ever again?

Semi-trivial. but yes, in a few weeks don't upgrade your console.

Can this exploit and having full access to lvl 2 faciliate research of other vulnerabilities in the system, or does this not give us more than what dev consoles already have?

I think dev consoles only give access to lvl 2 applications. Besides only a few people have dev consoles, so just having it in reach of more people increases the odds of finding exploits.

Export to other devices like BlackBerry

I think this can be exported to other devices with USB port access, in example, Blackberry phones. Imagine a Blackberry application conected to de PS3 via usb cable runing a java app that do the magic work. Can you help me with tech specs about a similar port? i dont know the abstraction level of the USB BlackBerry Libs, cold be sufficient a serial read/write to the port? thanks!



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Comments 30 Comments - Go to Forum Thread »

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daveribz's Avatar
#25 - daveribz - 211w ago
Quote Originally Posted by tragedy View Post
It doesn't use the built in BD emulator at all. What it actually does is patch the file open routine and if the string starts with "/dev_bdvd" it adds the rest of the filename to a prefix which backup manager has previously set, starting with "/dev_hdd0/game/LAUN12345/"

As far as the game is concerned it's running off the blu-ray because it's making requests for /dev_bdvd/something, but it's actually loading from elsewhere.

Thanks for lighting me up I didn't knew about the patching thing.. So why don't we use the built in bd emu to run games? Is it even possible on 'modded' retail consoles? I guess it will be soon, since the PS3 pretty much opened up.

maskotman's Avatar
#24 - maskotman - 211w ago
Great article, i am glad this was done so fast

tragedy's Avatar
#23 - tragedy - 212w ago
Quote Originally Posted by daveribz View Post
I don't get why a different ID is used than the original game ID since it's using the BD Emulator built in the PS3 OS to play the games.
It doesn't use the built in BD emulator at all. What it actually does is patch the file open routine and if the string starts with "/dev_bdvd" it adds the rest of the filename to a prefix which backup manager has previously set, starting with "/dev_hdd0/game/LAUN12345/"

As far as the game is concerned it's running off the blu-ray because it's making requests for /dev_bdvd/something, but it's actually loading from elsewhere.

PS3 News's Avatar
#22 - PS3 News - 212w ago
Let's try to keep this thread more on the Dev topic, and use the one in the hacks section for general discussion. That said, here is what I believe may be a disassembly attempt from n00b130 on IRC for anyone interested:

[Register or Login to view code]


silentcircuit's Avatar
#21 - silentcircuit - 212w ago
Quote Originally Posted by kingpin007 View Post
I guess the market will be flooded soon with ps3 usb mod sticks and the price will come down so I should hold off on purchasing the usb modkey?


I seriously doubt they're going to go well below $30 any time soon, and that's the approximate price one of these programmable sticks is going to run you. Of course, you never know, the Chinese clones may be down to $15 shortly after they launch to stay competitive with DIY solutions.

All said, if you're willing to wait you certainly should, since there are sure to be kinks no one even sees yet that will be ironed out in the next two weeks to a month.

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