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 readme (supposedly) and from the program (if you download it from a different site it has a screen stating the warning, and lets you exit there without applying the update or press x to continue) which was pretty stupid because removing that from the program activated the block. not a good thing to do to your own members.

people shouldn't blame M33 for this because they put in the work, and they have every right to stop people that they don't want to have the benefit of their update from using it, and they included a warning with the update that it would refuse to load after applying the update if you fall into the categories that they blocked. the people that the members of ps3news should be mad with is ps3news for removing the warning, and basically setting their own members up so that they will brick their PSP's. really, how much do they seem to care about their own members? obviousely not at all.

so basically, if you want to have newer custom firmware on your PSP, you should stop visiting the ps3news website, clear your browsers cache, and hope you're not already on their block list. probably as long as your nickname on your psp is not set to the same name that's on your member account at ps3news, you're fine as long as you don't visit ps3news on your PSP and as long as you download from a different site than ps3news.
August 22, 2007

WaKaRu said:

  Really glad to know this. More good news for the PSP Community coming from the Noobz Team. Rock on smilies/wink.gif
It's high time the news got spread
August 22, 2007

Victorb said:

  Well said.
August 22, 2007

Zyp said:

  Sorry for my English, i'm french (Nobody's perfect...) but if i understand correctly it's possible to debrick a psp, at this time just for the M33 brick, but we can dream about a way to debrick all the PSP ,
August 22, 2007

zx-81 said:

  I do agree 100%, and it's good to see you're working on "unbricker" software.
I hope the ps3$$$ site will also removed all their "patched" homebrew archives,
and replace them with original releases, with all credits to authors and unmodified files.

They have modified several files in some of my homebrew releases, causing
the homebrew not to work properly (i.e: help file), let's hope they have changed,

August 22, 2007

DarkGhost said:

  Thank you so much for this. Keep up the good work.
August 22, 2007

Loonix said:

  I am sad for those who had no idea about the conflict
and do realy, realy hope you can find a way to reverse the damage.
Finaly the problem with ps3**** is public and every one can see
what is going on.

Why the heck didn't the 'hacker' who modified the update test his work? o.O
Why the heck did that update remain downloadable for 24 hours? -.-
Why the heck where all negative comments edited so that they were positive
and the Commenters where banned from the site?
Was that criminal intent to blame m33 for the bricks?
Or to harm the PSP comunity?
August 22, 2007

Jordan B said:

  Fanjita please dont make ANY agreement with this website, smilies/angry.gif, they DO NOT deserve this, they HAVE bricked so many people psps, editted YOUR readmes with your IP, they site should burn.
August 22, 2007

Z3RG said:

  Respect to Team M33... i have installed all their firmwares and never had a problem with any... What they did, they did good to teach those ps3lamers a lesson.... Thanks god for team to restore the poor victim's psp's smilies/grin.gif
August 22, 2007

Kourken6 said:

  Great. good job! smilies/smiley.gif
August 22, 2007

Lost_prophet said:

  Russian PSP community with you!!

BTW M-33 Rocks !!

Also for Fanjita :
I really hope that "ps3news" will be closed.. The are a shame to psp community !!

sorry for my bad english..
August 22, 2007

Aussie said:

  please fix my psp brothers. i will donate 50 bucks to your crew
August 22, 2007

Alan B said:

you said "Well looks like I have to stay to 3.40 OE-A and not trust those Russians. Thanks for the warning noobz"

Team m33 have done nothing wrong, they actually warned users not to tamper with their cfw files else it could brick their psp, their work is very good and i trust them with both my sons psps.
August 22, 2007

sj said:

  Thnx for the warning. And i hope the psp un-bricker comes and work for all the inocent people with bricked psp's
Thnx again and keep up the good work smilies/cheesy.gif
August 22, 2007

Stupid Idiot said:

  My opinion is that a downgrader for 3.52 would be a better use of the noobz teams time. after all, of all those people that bricked their psp's, for most of them, they were probably supposed to be the ones that it would block. also, you can get a mod chip and fix your psp with that. why spend time fixing peoples psp's if their the ones that are active on the ps3news site? those people are the ones that the developers put the block in there to stop.
August 22, 2007

EhrgeizX89 said:

  LOL... smilies/undecided.gif Hey John0619,
M33 team had done nothing wrong with the update. It just that ps3news site tampered and modified the update files; thus making it useless and corrupted and people started to brick their psp. Btw, right now, M33 team has released update#4 to cooperate with the chaos right now. The new update will check whether the file is safe or corrupted, and it will only semi-brick your psp if the bad turned out. You can still access recovery mode with it. Just check pspupdates at quickjump to get the update file. smilies/grin.gif
August 22, 2007

RubberDucky451 said:

  Love you noobz team, keep up the great work. You're always cleaning up the messes :]
August 22, 2007

][>m3n35 said:

  There is no danger by installing m33 firmwares, the problem is that some f**king assholes from ps3news changed the installer of custom firmware...

If you want to install m33 firmwares I recommend you to install it manually from or
I have 3.52 m33-4 and i dont have problems.
Sorry about my english im from portugal!
August 22, 2007

DarkGhost said:

  @Stupid Idiot: I'm just glad that Fanjita/Noobz are not so selfish as you are. You can get a modchip as well. To make a new downgrader, a new exploit has to be found. If u had bricked ur PSP u wouldn't say that.
August 22, 2007

i386 said:

  Fanjita, i think you're way too easy on forgiving the site in question. smilies/sad.gif
Enough is enough. I hope they close for good this time.
NO 2nd chance for SOBs like that.
August 22, 2007

KingBK said:

  Mu PSP Bricked Because of this. Plz help Fanjita.
August 22, 2007

Ranguvar13 said:

  Thats for your work and clarification, Noobz.

My opinion? The M33 installer needs the 3.52 update, of course, right? I think that if the M33 update maker detects tampering or relations to the Criminal site, it should instead of creating the installer, create something that looks identical and acts the same - but really, it's an updateflasher for 3.52. Of course, this one was just a patch, but they should start doing that for all full releases, IMO.

That way, innocent people will be less harmed, and the Criminal site all its affiliates still get what they deserve.

Anyone agree?
August 22, 2007

LOL I R L00KIN 4 CLAN said:

  The staff at PS3**** should literally be arrested for vandalism, in my opinion.

I mean, what they did to these PSPs is vandalism because they are now unable to be used, in other words they are destroyed (not forever thanks to N00bz smilies/grin.gif). Destroying things is what vandals do. DIE PS3****
August 22, 2007

Haxxor said:

  Some people are planning to initiate a Brute Force attack on Ps3Hacks website and take their server offline..

Anyways, M33 put the warnings and what not in the Eboot.PBP and license.txt as a test to prove that Ps3Hacks edits other peoples work and doesn't pay tribute to the creators..M33's theory that Ps3hacks rips off peoples programs was proven when they edited the EBOOT.PBP and took out the "warning" which was, as I said, there to not only warn but to test M33's theory.
August 22, 2007

Anonymous dude said:

  oh god.. Noobz really Rulez!

PLEASE Team Noobz, create a Custom Firmware!! please please.. M33 hack sony firmwares, ps3news hack an Hacked firmware? PS3news realy thieft? NO, originaly the real thieft for the "Law" is M33, not PS3news. I'm not a PS3news supporter, but I really not support M33 Team after this cheap move.
August 22, 2007

Bebop said:

  I've just finished unbricking my PSP. Well done lads your top blokes!
August 26, 2007

Kamilion said:

  Being personally involved in the scene for a long long time, I know how much of an asshole Zima is. Most people now know him as Administrator. Biggest asshat ever.

Long live xiaNaix!
August 27, 2007

drmoo said:

  My god these people can all die. Thank you fanijita for making the unbricker. God my mom was damn well p**sed when I broke the PSP because of that damn website. *blah blah blah* we spend good money and you break it!

Sadly I didn't get my fake m33 from any piracy website. Mine came from my friend. He doesn't have a PSP and he didn't read. Apparently he thought it was a joke fake PSP bricker that was there to scare you and not do anything at all. Boy was he wrong. And I was p**sed.

Now these guys whoever the piracy group is, they need to be taken down ASAP! We can't afford to allow this to keep happening. They did it once they'll do it again. Shame my friend didn't keep his PSP that was bricked by that fake 2.00 downgrader. I would've fixed it for him. But scammers/virus writers deserve to die!
September 01, 2007

random said:

  kk cool sup im new and dont understand much, i just got a psp and im not sure if i should mod it and wat the mod does apparently iwont have to pay for games if i mod it but seeing all this disaster and crap i dont wanna mod it coz wat if my psp bricks or fuks up... then i have to buy a new 1 or something anywayz.... nice work noobz team for watever u did lol!!! can any 1 explain exactly wat HOMEBREW does? i have read faqs and things.. dont understand fully and my comp sux please help!
September 04, 2007

bryan82 said:

  hi guys. . can you help how it works unbrick pandora's battery because doesnt work to my computer. . id download pandora zip file and eboot 1.50 from QJ. but it not works on me. i got the error 8002014c i cant play the installer. . somebody know and teach me how to unbrick pandoras battery..please help me. .
September 09, 2007

banana boat said:

  lol i dont even use the downgraders i directly flashed from 3.52 M33 back to 3.40 OE-A and like nothing bad happened (i hope)

is it bad to do that?

This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it
September 10, 2007

Miroslav said:

  Yes i would also like to know if a 3.11 - 3.52 downgrade can be made... i dont have any one that hase a PSP and i cant realy get any new psp or what ever els is needed. If there is a way do downgrade a 3.11 to maybe a later version then use that to downgrade to 1.5 if not, would it work to upgrade to 3.50 - 3.52 and just use the lumines game? And what lumines version would work... i know Sony comes out with new versions of PSP games to stop the downgrading and hack/moding of it so im not sure what tipe of the game version should i be looking fore.

Sorry for all the questions im just totaly new to this, if anyone can help me out please do.
September 18, 2007

tbonel said:

  hello everyone .. i have a psp and i have a slight problem.. i have updated to 3.71 sony firmware version .. and now i tried to downgrade using pandora's battery.. i followed all the steps in the readme but when i try to run the pandora's firm installer from the memory stick in the game section .. it appears as two corrupted files.. i'm really stuck.. please.. anyone help me.. my ymess id is tbonesad if anyone is willing to chat with me on this matter.. thank you... great work noobz team.. really great .. thx
September 18, 2007

Deathmourn said:

  wow i just gained a whole lotta respect for this site like 5 mins ago i was on that site but my comp didnt lemme download that stuff to my psp t.y god oi that scare dthe chit outa o meh i was that close to bricking my psp permanetly wow...i now officioly love noobz and am glad ur so dedicated to unbricking psps and makeing cutom firmwear and stuff screw sony with thier updates they just hurt the consumers for thier profits when they do that im proud to be a noobz downloader now smilies/wink.gif smilies/grin.gif
December 23, 2007

chubb said:

  man =( realy sad i did everything i could my psp still me pleasee...cant live without my psp..can i pull of the leg?
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January 01, 2008

radical rexxx said:

  ok so i have a 3.51 sony psp with no custom frimware and to get a custom frimware i must downgrade to 1.50 but to do that i need pandoras battery but to use pandoras battery i need a custom frimware???? so im just running in circles. can anyone please help??? I would really appreciate it. thanks
March 24, 2008

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