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172w ago - Today PS Vita hacker wololo has made available a Half Byte Loader (HBL) development FAQ for those interested in progress thus far on Sony's PlayStation Vita handheld console.

Also below he states that he has ported HBL for Teck4's exploit successfully and updated to EU/US versions.

To quote: I managed to port HBL to the US version of Teck4′s exploit in exactly 45 minutes (including writing the savedata exploit and the binary loader), which is a new personal record, thanks to the scripts included in HBL's repository, and also to the fact that the different versions of the game are internally fairly similar (which is to be expected because technically the game is supposed to be the same, just translated, but I seem to recall it wasn't that easy for the Hotshots golf exploit)

I also updated the EU/US versions of this HBL port to get the tweaks I worked on for the past weeks in order to get a fair amount of homebrews to work.

The next step for me is to write a bit of documentation on how to use all this, and then patiently wait. As far as a release is concerned... well check the FAQ I wrote yesterday.

I could spend time polishing this port of HBL for the Vita, improve compatibility, and I might do it, but since there's a high risk this gets used by only a small amount of people before it gets patched, I'll probably leave it in its current state for now. It's probably not worth working too much on the details if nobody ends up using it. Of course if by some sort of miracle this doesn't get patched immediately by Sony, I'll update it accordingly.

Now let's all wait (I'm probably more excited than anybody else about this release, really...)

A FAQ for HBL on the Vita

We've seen through Teck4′s exploit that PSP exploits run flawlessly on the PSP emulator of the Vita. I've spent the past 3 weeks working on leveraging Teck4′s exploit and port HBL to it. I've been receiving lots of questions (probably from people who haven't used HBL back when it was the only possible way to play homebrews on the PSP Go) and will try to answer them here.

What is HBL?

HBL stands for "Half Byte Loader". This is a homebrew loader for the PSP, which was written initially by m0skit0, then improved and maintained by a bunch of devs including myself (those two links are good old memories, when HBL wasn't loading a single homebrew properly). It basically allows to run fanmade games, emulators, etc on the PSP. We've found that it can run on the PS Vita through the PSP emulator.

Will this allow to run PSP backups (isos)?

Although in theory that would be possible, HBL only has access to the PSP "user mode" which is fairly limited. Practically, all teams who have tried to create an iso loader in user mode on the PSP have failed so far.

Will this allow to run PS Vita game backups?

No

Does this give us access to the Vita hardware (touch screen, etc)?

No. HBL accesses the hardware through the PSP emulator, and therefore only has access to what is mapped to the PSP controls. It also only has access to 32MB of ram, etc

Does this give us possibilities to hack the vita further?

Most likely, not. HBL is stuck in user mode, in a sandboxed emulator. To get access to Vita information, we would need first to get kernel access in the emulator (through a psp kernel exploit), and then find other exploits in the emulator/OS itself to break away from the sandbox (which, if the Vita OS is as secure as I think it is, is close to impossible)

But will it give us more horsepower than the psp? Can we expect emulators to run faster, etc?

This still needs to be investigated deeper, but from what I've seen, not really. Memory stick access is definitely faster on the vita (Wagic loads between 5 and 10 times faster on the vita than on a psp go), but the rest seems to follow the psp limitations (as one would expect from an emulator)

Will this be made public?

Yes. Teck4 (who found the exploit) and I agreed to making this public at some point.

When will this be made public?

Some time after the Vita is released worldwide.

I heard Sony can patch this very easily as soon as it's made public?

Yes. Since this uses a vulnerability in a PSP game, as soon as they know which game it is, Sony can remove the game from the PS Store. Once they do that, they can patch the Vita firmware to reject the "malicious" files (either by preventing them from being copied through the content manager assistant, or by patching the PSP emulator, or by patching the PSP game, etc). At that point, people who don't already have the game on their console won't be able to use HBL. Also, people who do have HBL will need to never upgrade their firmware, will have to use some tools such as OpenCMA in order to copy files to the vita, and will be locked out of the PS Store as long as they want to use homebrews.

So shouldn't you keep this under wraps instead?

Meh, it's not like anything is really secret here besides the name of the game. It's already pretty sure this is not useful for hacking the vita further, so even if it gets patched I don't think we will lose "too much".

No iso, no access to the vita internals, and Sony will patch it as soon as it's out, so basically it's useless?

Yes and No. Technically, a hacked PSP is way cheaper and will allow you to do more than that. But this is, as I write these lines, the only way to run unsigned code on the Vita, which in itself makes it a great achievement (and it's always cool to show your friends that your Vita can run Mario, and theirs can't). Also, it didn't take too much time to adapt since most of the code was already available from our past work in the psp scene. It would have been even more useless to say "oh yeah, interesting, we can run psp exploits on the vita" and not do anything with it.

How do you copy/install homebrews to the ps vita, since it cannot be mounted as a regular usb drive?

This will be explained when HBL is released.


PS Vita Half Byte Loader (HBL) Development FAQ by Wololo

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#111 - Nabnab - 172w ago
Nabnab's Avatar
Ok fine, i give you another python script i made but this one is different and more interesting -> Funny Hello world communication with the PS Vita Check out


#110 - Nabnab - 172w ago
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Hello Everybody.

Sorry i forgot to give you another python script i made (it can read some information of the PS Vita Configuration/Endpoints)

The first script = test to detect the PS Vita on Linux/MacOS/Windows without using CMA

The second script = read the configuration/endpoints information of the PS Vita (work on Linux/MacOS/Windows) just need to have pyUSB/Python to use the script.

On the second script you will have this result

PS Vita Found ! PS Vita information:
bConfigurationValue: 1
bInterfaceNumber: 0
bAlternateSetting: 0
bLength: 9
bEndpointAddress: 129
bEndpointAddress: 2
bEndpointAddress: 131


#109 - Nabnab - 172w ago
Nabnab's Avatar
I leave you a small python script i made to detect the PS Vita on MacOS/Linux/Windows (you need to have PyUSB/Python), you can test it to be sure that your PS Vita is recognized without CMA. You can also launch a PS Vita game and leave the USB Plug on (still recognized)

One problem i found about the detection of the PS Vita, you can't let the PS Vita go in Standby mode...

I found also something weird and i was wondering if some people who has a PS Vita can test ? Turn off the PS Vita (wait the end of the PS Logo blue light) Hold PS Logo button for 10sec and stay hold the button and try to turn back on the PS Vita, normaly you can't
and it has something to do with a debug USB mode, didn't find yet, i'm working on my MacOS/Linux driver PS Vita and also something else i can't talk right now (too early and too much bug)

Here is the script

I just add a picture of the command/script


#108 - cfwprophet - 173w ago
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I know that forum mate !! As i has started on ACiD the very first PS3 CFW peoples started to bash me and my team and always wanted some prove or called me bad words. I'm no learned coder i do this all by my owen and learn what i need to accomplish the job. Till today i hold some mods/hacks in my private that others ps3 cfw's still don't have like a FW embeded Half-File Manager. Or on the Wii my work on the Unbrick Disks i hold some info that let peoples boot my disk's without the need of any RescueMenu hack.

Kiddyz always popping up and want some prove or try to bash. But i'll release the info when i want and not only for prove my self to others. Maybe when i get back a ps3 i'll start again and finish what i have started for over one year. Most peoples just adding hacks or code of already released stuff and try to get attention.

As i said if i finish my work and release it it will have features no one other CFW till now has beside the fact i for sure also implement already released good stuff.

With simply words: I hear you and im with you

#107 - Tidusnake666 - 173w ago
Tidusnake666's Avatar
Keep up good work, Nabnab, I once had some small ps3 games-related projects here on ps3news too, so I honestly wish you good luck. Cheers!

Also, if you want, you may open a separate thread here, where you can give details about your work / keep us up to date. Correct me if I'm wrong, plz

#106 - Nabnab - 173w ago
Nabnab's Avatar
It was me, somebody told me that a Japanese Website called emuonpsp talked about it the next day after i said it.

I told to one person what i found about the combo key few days ago but apparently he already told to somebody, i made the video 3 January (French time) and before the website emuonpsp talked about it, that's why i didn't understand what happened and i don't even know who emuonpsp is until today.

silw -> it's me... This is part of my work and my investigation on the PS Vita...

Now about combo key, I was the guy talking about the first combo key (glitch/debug/recovery) on Vita. From the beginning I was wotking on the PS vita and already explained many things about it and this one too.

Silw is just a name I have, I don't understand what's wrong with some people, I give some help, i'm showing stuff and explain how to do it and after alll You tell me it's bs, who are you to judge me, do you know my life, respect other people thanks

#105 - cfwprophet - 173w ago
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Are you sure that this is of you ? I found several sources on the net they reported that this comes from an chinese site called emuonpsp and also have made available the key combo used to display that.

Japanese site emuonpsp reported today that a combination of keys was found in the settings menu to display some hidden information about the firmware installed on your Playstation vita.

This menu contains information about the system build, repository, revision,… doesn’t look like it’s super useful information for now, but still interesting I guess.

The combination to get this menu to show requires practice but I could confirm it works on my vita (Firmware 1.510).

Go to Settings > System > System Information
Press simultaneously RTrigger + LTrigger + DPad Left + Square for a few seconds
Release those buttons then immediately press the start button
tadaa, additional information shows up


ps. the vid was taken by silw no word of a Nabnab anywhere.

#104 - Nabnab - 173w ago
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Hi Everybody.

I made a video to show some hidden informations of the PS Vita




Still working on CMA Mac OS (also compatible with Linux) and i maybe found a way to mount the storage of the PS Vita (memory card)

#103 - Prince Valiant - 173w ago
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The advantage of Sony using PC software to try and manage things, it can easily be cracked

#102 - cfwprophet - 173w ago
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Following up on his previous update, PlayStation Vita hacker wololo has shared a progress update on the PS Vita Half Byte Loader (HBL).

Additionally, Nabnab has also made available a video showcasing some hidden PS Vita information for those interested!

To quote: A quick report: I'm making some progress on porting HBL to the Vita. Although I'm sad to say that I can't get syscall estimation to work, I got some major homebrews such as Doom to run already, so overall I think it's in an acceptable shape.

Because it is roughly stable now, today I focused on porting HBL to the EU version of the exploited game (I was working - obviously - on the Japanese version of the game so far). This went smoothly and I can confirm HBL runs fine on the EU version of the game, although of course I could only test on a PSP, not on a Vita.

I used the opportunity to refresh my two guides, how to write a binary loader and how to port HBL. The guides are now simplified, and the binary loader tutorial now has download links to the tools used in the examples.

Writing the first "usable" version of HBL for the patapon exploit took several developers and about 4 months. Thanks to the portability of HBL, bringing it to Teck4′s exploit took me only a few days. Adapting that to the EU version took a couple hours (including porting the exploit itself), so I am confident for the US version.

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