Bricks, bricks and more bricks
Written by Fanjita    Tuesday, 21 August 2007

Image There's been a bit of a storm recently, with an awful lot of people's PSPs being bricked by a broken version of the latest M33 custom firmware, deliberately distributed by a certain disreputable piracy site.  Here's my take on the whole situation, and maybe a ray of hope for those people who have bricked.

First off, let's talk about that ray of hope.  We've been looking at the M33 code, and trying to understand exactly how these bricks have come about.  The good news is that we think there may be a way to undo the bricking process in this case - in other words, we hope to be able to develop a way to fix those bricks in the near future.  At this time, this is just for the M33 bricks.  I can't predict exactly when this might be ready (it should be very soon), but maybe it will save some of you the hassle and expense of sending your PSP off to be repaired.

So what actually happened to cause these bricks?  It's pretty simple, really.  The M33-3 firmware installation process relied upon a delicate decryption algorithm.  That algorithm was tied to the contents of the installer program, which had the side effect that if the installer was modified in any way, then the data being flashed to the PSP would be corrupt, and so a brick would result.  Now that seems pretty dangerous - but they did at least put a warning in the README.TXT and LICENSE.TXT files, to warn people about it:

Not respecting the license will bring the PSP to BRICK, because the program will refuse to run.

You are however NOT allowed to modify the installer, the readme or this license, including the removal of one or more of them.  Modification of installer covers all: icon, image, executable code, text, etc.  These kind of modifications may end in the software refusing to work.

Unfortunately a site with a long history of taking homebrew releases, and modifying them to their own ends, got hold of this release, modified the credits and removed the warnings, then posted it on their site for download.  So of course, people started to brick their PSPs.  What's worse, is that even when the problem was identified, the site in question chose to try to cover it up by editing user comments, and did not take any action to fix the problem for at least 24 hours, leaving it up for download even when they knew about the damage it was causing. 

Sadly that's just indicative of the attitude of that site to both its users, and to the authors whose work they rip off.  They've been doing this for years - through the PS2 scene, then PSP, and now PS3.  They've ripped off our releases, and attempted to claim that we're inciting piracy (which is ironic, if you're familiar with the content of their site).  Any attempt to reason with them and get them to show some sort of respect and common decency has fallen on deaf and arrogant ears.

Now though, they seem to be starting to realise that they're not immune to the attentions of the homebrew community at large, and not untouchable.  They've offered to correctly credit releases, both retrospectively and in the future. Time will tell whether an amicable agreement can be made, and whether it will be honoured, but we can only hope.

Personally, I have very mixed feelings about all this.  On the one hand, lots of innocent bystanders have had their property damaged, just so that one bad apple can be brought back into line.  I would never condone an action that would hurt someone else like this, without extreme personal provocation.  We always strive to make sure that Noobz releases are as safe as possible, and can be trusted completely.  But on the other hand, this is the first time ever that the offending site has paid any attention to anyone.  If their antisocial behaviour has been curbed, then maybe it has been worth it.  I guess sometimes you just have to fight fire with fire.  I only hope that next time, innocent bystanders can avoid becoming collateral damage.

Comments (42)add comment

Lj said:

  hope you can finish these project lot of people will be help by you..
August 21, 2007

Neo1607 said:

  Good to see u are still active fanjita smilies/wink.gif damn those fakers, i am glad m33 gave them what they deserve. smilies/grin.gif
August 22, 2007

fearevl19 said:

  good news, theres still hope for the people who breaked they're babys (PSP's), i just have one question- will this ONLY work with the 3.52 M33-3 update?
August 22, 2007

John0619 said:

  Well looks like I have to stay to 3.40 OE-A smilies/wink.gif and not trust those Russians. smilies/tongue.gif Thanks for the warning noobz smilies/smiley.gifand yay! first comment smilies/grin.gif
August 22, 2007

Jae said:

Lucky I read this, I would of done the same thing...
So in the near future are you saying there will be a easy way to un-brick a psp?
If so, this will be good. smilies/grin.gif
August 22, 2007

anonymous said:

  hooray for fixed bricks
August 22, 2007

Stupid Idiot said:

  If this is reffering to the update 3 for M33 3.52, the developers made it so that if it's modded it'll refuse to load after installing (brick), and they say that if you download it from ps3news or if you visit ps3news often or are one of the very active members on their forums it'll refuse to load (after installation, thus bricking the system). i think everyone can guess the reason that they did this, they rip off other people's work, and claim it to be their own, and they stole the source code for the Wildcard teams custom firmware (from what i've read). most likely, the newer custom firmware (both M33 and Wildcard) will have these blocks in place, so if you use ps3news to get all your ripped off stuff, you eventually won't be able to use newer custom firmware, and will be stuck using the older stuff. (probably not a good idea in the long run).

I agree completely with what their doing. really, what other way is there to stop people from claiming their work as their own or stop them from stealing their work. becides, the readme M33 included with the update and a a screen durring the update had a warning not to use the update in those situations. however the site in question removed the warning from the rea
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