PS2: new hack through the DVD player. It does not require modification


The new hack, known by the name of FreeDVDBoot, allows you to burn homebrew games and run them on PS2 unmodified as you do with normal official records. PlayStation 2 has recently celebrated its 20th anniversary since its market debut (March 4), but still remains attractive with many fun and enjoyable games despite several years having passed since their original release. PS2 also remains the best-selling console ever.

The need to change the hardware of PlayStation 2 to run homebrew games and backup discs could become a thing of the past thanks to the exploit identified by a security researcher. CTurt, so he calls himself in his environment, in fact he created a software called FreeDVDBoot that exploits the DVD player the console as an entry point to bypass the controls that the software carries out on the inserted disk.

Originally the PS2, although it does not run games burned on unofficial discs, still capable of read burned DVDs. CTurt understood that this could be a potential attack vector and started investigating how the PS2 optical drive plays DVDs. Eventually he found that the hardware starts loading the DVD by reading the file IFO disk and writing some data to RAM.

CTurt created a corrupt IFO file that generates a “large read overflow”. Basically, upload a file ELF (Executable and Linkable Format) in the console cache, and then inserts it into the main memory by exploiting the overflow. This is the type of file used to make the homebrew games run on the console. For other technical details, please refer to the FreeDVDBoot page on GitHub.

In this way the system interprets the inserted DVD as a medium with a video and does not run the software that verifies the originality of the disk. According to CTurt, the one he identified as the only PlayStation 2 hack that does not require the installation of additional components such as modchip and therefore does not invalidate the warranty. All you need a record.

CTurt shows how his hack can be used to make a backup copy of Shadow of the Colossus or an emulator of Super Nintendo. It is also possible to put multiple games on a single disc (as long as they are small enough) and run them from a boot menu. Furthermore, he adds that, in view of the fact that all optical drives are based on the same operating principle and that they basically read burned discs, the hack can be extended to other consoles, from the first PlayStation to the PS4.

“PS4 hacking via the BD-J Blu-ray feature has long been debated,” writes CTurt. “It could be something that fits my interests and become my next long-term project.” Refers to the platform based on Java which supports advanced content for Blu-ray discs. Of course, we must also check what Sony’s counter-move will be, which could potentially block the hack with the release of a new sign for its consoles.

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