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Thread: KaKaRoTo on How to Port PL3 to an Exploitable PS3 Firmware

  1. #1
    RexVF5 Guest

    KaKaRoTo on How to Port PL3 to an Exploitable PS3 Firmware

    Today KaKaRoTo detailed how to port PL3 to an exploitable PS3 Firmware via Github (linked above).

    To quote: "How to port to a new Firmware (but < 3.41) :

    First disable the JIG mode, and try to bruteforce the position of the payload with a panic payload (add 'b panic' at payload_start in dump_lv2.S), until you can get a hit reliably (see

    Then replace the payload with the original dump_lv2 payload, and connect the ps3 through ethernet to your PC and run wireshark to capture your dump... Run the payload, then once the ps3 panics (to tell you it's done), you can save your wireshark dump to a file in .pcap format.

    Then run the tools/dump_lv2_pcap_to_bin program to dump the lv2 binary from the pcap file captured by wireshark.

    Open the dump with IDA, set the processor to 'ppc', then run the dump_lv2_analyzer.idc IDC file from the tools directory to get it analyzed and follow the instructions (set TOC table in IDA options).

    Once you are done, set the TOC_TABLE value in PSFreedom/PSGroove and set the syscall_table define in macros.h.S.

    Then look for the position of the JIG response offset in the dump by searching for a recognizable string you previously put in there. You can now set the JIG response address in PSGroove/PSFreedom and test JIG mode with a panic payload and the egghunter shellcode.

    You can then start looking for the various patch_funcX functions... (For this you will most likely need a clean/unmodified dump of an already supported firmware, so you can compare the asm code to find the right offsets)

    The first step would be to go to label 'syscall_open' (set by the IDC) and look for the hooked_open, as well as alloc/free. Then follow the hooked_open proc to find the 'strlen' symbol (first bl in the function).

    Once you have those, you should go to the strlen function then can disable the 'chart' mode in IDA (press spacebar), then look at the function right below strlen, it will be strncmp, and the function right above strlen will be strcpy. You can also find memset here, if you scroll up from strcpy, the memset function will be 4 functions above strcpy (so 3 functions are between them).

    Now you need to find the functions to patch.. let's start with function 1 : search for binary data in IDA and look for "3960006344000022", it should give you one match. go to it, and that's your patch_func1, the data being patched is right after the 'hvsc' call, so count the number of instructions since the start of patch_func1 up to, and including, the 'hvsc' instruction, and multiply by 4, that should give you patch_func1_offset.

    Now to find the patch_func2, search for binary data in IDA and look for : "380000013FE08001", it should give you one result, that's your patch_func2. Now find the first 'bl' inside that function, and count how many instructions are before the 'bl' (excluding the bl instruction), multiply by 4 and that's your patch_func2_offset. Now that function that gets branched to in the 'bl' instruction at patch_func2 + patch_func2_offset, that's your 'memory_patch_func'. Now scroll a bit lower, and you should see a "ld %r28, qword_XYZXYZ", that qword entry in the TOC is the 'rtoc_entry_2' value. Press the 'q' key while selecting it to make IDA transform it into "-0xABCD(%rtoc)".. the -0xABCD is the value you want for rtoc_entry_2.

    Now for patch_func3, that's the easiest, it's the 'hooked_open' function you found in the syscall_open earlier. The offset should be 0 here.

    Now time for patch_func4, search for binary data in IDA and look for : "3C00800160000017", it should give you two results. Look at them both, and compare with the original function from a supported firmware dump. It should be pretty obvious which one is patch_func4.. one of them is exactly the same, the other is extremely different. Now you found patch_func4

    Time for patch_func5, this one is easy too, if you right click on it in the support firmware's dump and you choose "Chart of xrefs to", you will see that it gets called by almost every system call, so choose any one of those syscalls and go to them, for the sake of this guide, let's say we choose randomly syscall_29 Go to syscall_29 in the new dump and compare it with the other dump, and you should spot the patch_func5 right away, it should be the fourth 'bl' call and the last 'bl' before the 'bne' of the first block of this syscall (in IDA chart view).

    Now you need to find the slightly more difficult remaining offsets : memcpy, patch_data1, rtoc_entry_1, and the overwritten function to use for MEM_BASE2.

    Let's start with MEM_BASE2. Go to 'patch_func5', disable IDA's 'chart' mode, then scroll down, all the way to the end of patch_func5, you will find a total of 4 functions separating patch_func5 with the function in MEM_BASE2... With MEM_BASE2 being the 5th function stacked after patch_func5. You can also add 0x56C to the patch_func5 and see if it gives you the right function, it should but it's not guaranteed.. it will at least get you closer. You should now switch back to 'chart' mode in IDA and quickly compare that function's flowchart with the one from the supported firmware's dump. They should be the same. Now let's make sure that the RESIDENT_PAYLOAD_MAXSIZE is correct.. go to the end of this function, remove IDA's chart mode, and right where you see the comment "End of function sub_XYZ", take that position, substract it from MEM_BASE2 and you've got your RESIDENT_PAYLOAD_MAXSIZE (should be 1296).

    Now let's try to find rtoc_entry1.. if you go to the rtoc_entry_1 offset in the supported firmware's dump (TOC+rtoc_entry_1), press 'N' and rename that data into 'rtoc_entry_1'. You will see IDA shows a 'DATA XREF' next to it that points to a function, click on it. you found the function that uses that TOC entry. Now disable chart mode in IDA and scroll up to the previous function, you will find a small function that calls lv1_pause! This is our chance, looking at the hex values of the "li %r11, 9; hvsc", start a binary search in the new firmware's IDA instance and look for "3960000944000022" It should give you a single result, go to it, you found your lv1_pause call in the function just above the one using rtoc_entry1, disable IDA's chart mode, scroll down to the function below it and reenable chart mode. Now compare this function with the one from the supported firmware, you should see that there is a 'ld %r9, rtoc_entry_1' right below a 'bl __asm_func_dummy_X'. So look for that 'bl' in your dump (should be the first one), and you will find the rtoc_entry_1 being referenced in the line right below it. select it and press 'Q' in IDA to make it show you the actual offset value in the "0xABCD(%rtoc)" form. You found rtoc_entry_1

    Now we need to find the slightly harder patch_data1 offset. In your supported firmware's dump, go to the patch_data1 offset, press 'N' and rename it. Now you will see a "DATA XREF" next to it which points to a "ROM:.." location, click on it. You will find yourself on an entry in the TOC... rename that entry as 'patch_data1_toc' and look for the "DATA XREF" that uses it, there should be two functions shown that references that patch_data1_toc entry, try them both, first rename them into something easier to read, like 'patch_data1_func1' and 'patch_data1_func2', then go to each function and right click on it and choose "Chart of xrefs to". Both functions should only be called by one other function in its 'xrefs to' chart. One of the 'patch_data1_funcX' function will be called by some other random sub_XYZ function, but the other one will be called by syscall_470.. yeay, we got an entry point to this! Now go to syscall_470. Switch back to your new dump and also go there to syscall_470, now compare both syscalls, it should be fairly easy to spot the patch_data1_func1 function in the syscall, it would be the last 'bl' in the flowchart. Now jump to it and look for the reference to patch_data1_toc, it should be the first 'ld' instruction of the patch_data1_func1 function, now you found it, jump to it. You are now in the TOC of your new firmware's dump, and you see the value that TOC entry points to.. it should be 0x80000000XYABCDEF. That's your patch_data1 value.. remove the 0x80000000 prefix, and set the XYABCDEF value as the patch_data1 in macros.h.S

    Now the 'memcpy' function is the only one remainingd! This one is easy to find but the technique is a bit trickier.. Through all of this, we didn't yet find by luck a function that uses memcpy (unlike alloc/free/strlen/strcpy/strncmp), so we need to find it different, if we go to memcpy, we cannot ask IDA to draw a "Chart of xrefs to" for it, don't even try it, it's used in so many places that IDA or the chart-viewer app will freeze! What we can do however is disable IDA's "chart" mode, and go to the memcpy function declaration, then we should see IDA being nice enough to give two "CODE XREF".. let's follow those two and see who calls those functions, and try to drill down from there until we find the memcpy location. Luckily, one of those two functions uses hypercalls as you can see the 'lv1_undocumented_function_109' and 'lv1_undocumented_function_107' comments as soon as we enter one of the xref functions (if you don't see this maybe IDA gave you different xrefs, it's ok, continue reading). So we see that memcpy is used between a hvsc 109 and a hvsc 107. We can't really do a binary search on the "li %r11, 0x6B; hvsc" since there's a "ld %r7, 0x10(%r31)" in the middle, and a different kernel build might use a different register or a different offset to %r31, so let's stay safe, and let's search only for the "li %r11, 0x6B", so open the binary search of IDA and search for "3960006B". It should give you 3 results (maybe not, depending on the dump you're analyzing). Go to each one of them, they should appear as the only hypercall in the function for two of them, but for one of the functions found, it will be between a call to hvsc 109 and hvsc 107. You found your memcpy!

    All right, we're done with the first part of the analysis, this whole thing should have taken about an hour to do or less (unless you're writing a guide at the same time :p).

    Now let's start part 2, finding the hashes for the hash table and the offsets for the user-space ELF files. Let's compile our payloads, add the version we're trying to add in the Makefile by adding it to SUPPORTED_FIRMWARES and by adding a rule for %_X_YZ.o: %.s which defines the -DFIRMWARE_X_YZ, then type make. In the project, replace the default_payload_X_YZ by payload_dump_elfs_X_YZ in order to use the payload_dump_elfs.

    Now connect the PS3 with the ethernet cable to the PC and run wireshark, let it boot, it should in theory be able to boot into the XMB if you found all the correct offsets. Once it boots, you will see a lot of packets being captured by wireshark. let it finish booting, then turn it off, save the wireshark dump to a file, then run the ./tools/dump_elfs_pcap_to_bin utility on the .pcap file,
    giving it a directory to output the files to.

    Now search (grep) for the word 'category_game' in that directory, and it should give you one file matching the string, the filename of that file will be the value of HASH_TABLE_3 (prefix it with '0x'). Hex edit that file. In it, you will find multiple references to 'category_game', you only need to find the one that says 'category_game.xml#root' then followed by a few 0x00 values. The value of 'elf3_data' is the offset where the '.xml' starts in that string.

    Now look for a file with a size of 6MB or 7MB. This is the VSH (XMB) ELF file, its filename is the HASH_TABLE_1 value. Open that file in IDA and let it analyze it, it will complain a few times about wrong sizes and missing stuff, ignore those warnings. Then once it loads and finishes the file analyzis, do a binary search for "68000001540007FE". It should find two results, you need the first one. The two results point to very similar functions, but one of them contains a 'nop' after the 'bl' while the other doesn't. The one you want is the one without the 'nop'. The offset of this function is the elf1_func1 offset. But be aware that IDA will load the data with a start address of 0x1000, so make sure you substract 0x1000 from the offset reported by IDA before setting it to elf1_func1.

    Now let's find elf1_func2, do a binary search for "396000013803FF7F". It should find one result, go to it, it should be a "li %r11, 1; addi %r0, %r3, -0x81" instructions, the offset for elf1_func2 that you need is the offset of the instruction "lhz %r3, 4(%r31)" just above that. You have found the elf1_func2 offset, but don't forget to substract 0x1000 from the offset reported by IDA.

    You are ready for the second set of elf dumps! Now recompile everything and run the exploit once more, but DO NOT connect the ethernet cable! Let the PS3 boot and connect your PS3 controller. You should now see the "Install package files" option in the XMB. Congratulations! But it's not finished.

    Now insert a USB device with a homebrew .pkg file on it, and then connect the ethernet cable to your PC. Once the ethernet cable is connected, open the "Install package files" menu and click on your .pkg to install it. It will fail with a 0x80029519 error. It's ok! You can also see a new set of packets just got captured by wireshark. Now you have two choices, either you open an existing application installed on your PS3, and once you do that, press the PS button on your controller to open the in-game XMB (which will freeze). Or you can just shut down your PS3 and do this later.

    Now save your wireshark dump to a new .pcap file, and extract its content with the tools/dump_elfs_pcap_to_bin utility. You will find a few new files extracted but you need to notice the output of the tool! The very first file it will write is the HASH_TABLE_2 value, it should be about 280K or 300K in size.

    Open the file in IDA and set the processor type to 'ppc' then click ok. Now search for the binary value "3929FFFF793D0FE0", it should give you one result, open it, you will see random data (this is not a full ELF, only part of it, so IDA cannot analyze it). press the 'C' key for IDA to transform it into code. You should see the instructions "addi %r9, %r9, -1; rldicl %r29, %r9, 1, 63". What you need is the offset of the 'rldicl' instruction.. so the result of the search + 4 bytes. That's the elf2_func1 value that you want.. Note that since this wasn't analyzed by IDA and not recognized as an ELF, so the data is not shifted so the offset value given to you by IDA is the offset you want, do not substract 0x1000 from it, use it as is!

    Now the only thing remaining is the HASH_TABLE_4 and elf4_data! If you did open a game earlier for the second set of elf dumps, and tried to access the in-game XMB, then skip this step, otherwise... : Now recompile everything and rerun the exploit, you should now be able to both install and run homebrew applications! once you have installed and ran an application, connect the ethernet cable to your PC, start wireshark, then you can press the PS button on the controller to bring the in-game XMB. It will crash, but that's all you need. Now shut down the PS3, and save the wireshark dump and run the tools/dump_elfs_pcap_to_bin on it.

    Now this is where we join for the final step, search in the files (grep) for the "category_game.xml" string, you should find one file (if you only search for "category_game", you will find two files, you need the biggest file of the two) Now you need to do the same thing as for elf3_data, look for the 'cateogry_game' string in the file with a hex editor until you find "category_game.xml#root" followed by a few 0x00, and you need the offset of the start of the ".xml". That's your elf4_data! Don't forget to copy the filename (prefixed with '0x') to the HASH_TABLE_4 value.

    You can now disable the dump_elfs payload and return everything back to normal, i.e. use default_payload. Everything should work now! Congratulations!

    Now you just need to test it, boot it up, look for the menu, install a .pkg file and try to run it, then make sure the in-game XMB works as it should and you're done! git commit all your changes, push them and make sure they get integrated with the upstream repository!

    All this should take between one and two hours of work.

    Good luck!"

    [imglink=|KaKaRoTo on How to Port PL3 to an Exploitable PS3 Firmware][/imglink]
    More PlayStation 3 News...

  2. #2
    barbnjason Guest
    Wow way over my head, but it goes to show you how much time and work people are devoting to the scene, keep up the great work guys.

  3. #3
    kakarotoks Guest
    hahaha, didn't think someone would post all this info... and didn't notice how long it was..
    Considering 3.15 and 3.41 are done, i wonder if it will be useful to anyone though..

  4. #4
    Tatsh2DX Guest
    Awesome!! I might give this a try as complicated as it is. This is worth it people.

  5. #5
    chomps268 Guest
    I don't need this, as I've got a slim and 3.41 FW, but this is exciting to see nonetheless =D It's so awesome how fast this scene is progressing.

  6. #6
    livpool Guest
    hopefully they can grab the OtherOS files and port them up to 3.41

  7. #7
    itwalksamongus Guest

    Big Grin

    What? Huh? Can I play backups with this? (kidding!)

  8. #8
    buffaoo monty Guest
    Holy Moly!! I got lost at the 5th sentence

    But I guess there are a lot of people who need this in their lives

  9. #9
    jhauth11 Guest


    umm is there a Port PL3 for dummies as i gave up reading after the first line.

  10. #10
    Mafo Guest
    I don't think you should be attempting to port if you need a simpler version of the tutorial... obviously it's long and detailed because it needs to be.

    Thanks a ton for taking the time to do this. I believe if someone is capable of doing this then your instructions are great. It's not like those of you who can't follow this know how to hack or code, otherwise this wouldn't seem so complicated to you. Not to mention if you haven't been messing around with the payloads in their ASM form, you again have no reason to expect that you should be able to port something.

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