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Video: Picodrive Sega Megadrive Emulator Demo via HBL on PS Vita


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166w ago - Following up on his previous confirmation, today Sony PlayStation Vita hacker wololo has made available a video below demonstrating the Half Byte Loader (HBL) running the Picodrive Sega Megadrive emulator with Sonic & Knuckles on PS Vita.

To quote: Update: One important clarification: This video shows HBL running on the latest firmware 1.510. The firmware update that happened today does not patch the exploit, unlike what some sites are saying.

A few days ago Japanese developer Teck4 posted a picture of a “hello world” running on the PS Vita through the PSP emulator. I contacted him immediately with some help from Mamosuke, and I soon got enough information to start working on porting Half Byte Loader to this exploit (note that Teck4 is also working on exploiting this vulnerability further, but I don’t know how far he’s been).

What you see in the video below is the game “Sonic & Knuckles” running in picodrive, a Megadrive emulator for the PSP.

Yes, I’m running an emulator inside a hacked emulator on the Vita, that’s kind of cool. There’s lots to say about this ongoing work, but first let me state that, for once, this HBL port is entirely my work, except for the underlying PSP exploit which is initially from Teck4. I’ve been testing other people’s work for a while, so it was about time I got back to coding myself

Now that my ego is satisfied, let’s move on to the details of the video below. I have good news, bad news, and ugly news. But first check the video below, the first usable hack on the PS vita, 10 days after the console is released

1. THE GOOD

This is technically HBL rising from the deads, running on the PS Vita, and loading the picodrive emulator. Usually I would show you the entire loading process, but you’ll understand that some of the things I do (in particular the exploit used) need to be kept under wraps until the whole thing is made public (if it is ever made public, read more below).

I hope however that given my reputation on the PSP scene this won’t be categorized as a fake, please understand that I can’t show much this time. Picodrive is one of the easiest homebrews to run on HBL for some reason, that’s why I’m using it in my test. People who’ve used HBL a lot in its early days will recognize the sound glitch, this is some 22kHz sound being played at 44kHz, or the other way around, I can never remember.

That’s because the PSP emulator is using PSP’s firmware 6.60, for which HBL’s syscall estimation code seems to be a bit useless. (I am still pending some reply from Teck4 to see if it would make sense to “officially” involve more hackers on this port, and see if we can fix those syscalls problems. For now, as far as I know I’m the only one who made it that far on the Vita, and I feel kind of lonely on this new hacking scene ^^).

Another good piece of news for me is that before HBL could run Homebrews so “smoothly” on the PSP, it took us several months (I can’t remember exactly, 3 month maybe before we got it running “ok-ish” ?), while here it took me 3 days to get it to a usable state. Clearly, we didn’t lie when we said HBL would be portable to new game exploits

So, that’s the good, I’ve proven to myself that it is possible to run HBL and actual homebrews on the Vita. With little effort, HBL could probably be improved to some extent on that exploit, and run a few useful homebrews.

2. The bad

There are slightly bad news too. One is the syscall estimation algorithm being busted, as I explained above. I discussed a bit with JJS, and it is probable that if a function is not imported by the game itself, we might not be able to use it at all. I’ll have a closer look (if I decide to dig further on this) to see if this can be improved, but that could greatly limit the amount of homebrews that can be played on this.

Another issue is that the time currently needed to load/run homebrews for the “end user” is a bit too long to my taste. In its current state, for now I don’t think this is (or will be, even if improved) very useful for the end user. Basically, if I want to run PSP homebrews for now, it’s way easier and cheaper to do so on a PSP, even on an unhacked one, through HBL.

So, the overall uselessness of this makes me wonder if it should be kept secret in order for other hackers to do some research on it, or if it should really be released. I wouldn’t like people to point fingers at me if Sony patches some security flaws after this exploit goes public… I won’t take that decision alone (since I’m not the only one knowing the exploit), obviously, and there’s still time until the US/EU release, but I’m seriously considering the options here.

I have also yet to find a “good” way to install and run homebrews. I thought I had found a convenient way, but it didn’t work as expected. I’ll dig more on that, but it seems the PSP filesystem, as seen through the emulator on the vita, is a bit tricky and sneaky...

The ugly

There is, however, far worse than the little concerns above. What concerns me to a great extent is that I realized today that Sony can potentially spy everything we do with the content manager. Today I was forced to update my PS Vita to the new firmware. The content manager refuses to run if its PC client is not connected to the internet, and it refuses to run if the console doesn’t have the latest firmware.

This means not only that Sony can force you to update your Vita firmware whenever they feel like it (something they never dared to do on the PSP or the PS3), but also that every time you copy a file from or to your Vita, some information is possibly sent to Sony’s servers. I half joked about me copying my adult movies to the Vita and Sony knowing about it, but it really concerns me that Sony is spying on the files I have on my hard drive just because I bought one of there gadgets.

I’m thinking here that the upcoming hacks for the PS Vita will involve lots of legal fights. It seems to me that unless Sony can prove they are not spying on their users, it is potentially illegal to require the tool to be connected while the content manager is running. Something as big as CarrierIQ could happen to them if their customers are willing to take it to court at some point (that’s an official call to network engineers would would like to analyze what’s going on when the content manager is connected to the Intern...).

Incidentally, this is also means that Sony could be already aware of the hack and the techniques we’ve been using to trigger it, assuming they take a close look at the interactions between users’ PC and the Vita.

Anyways, despite these massive concerns, I’m proud to announce that I got some homebrew to run on the Vita 10 days after its release… as said before by BlackFire, it’s like “posting a sticker on a fortress”. Not very useful, but a message to Sony that we’re around




Video: Picodrive Sega Megadrive Emulator Demo via HBL on PS Vita

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#131 - Nabnab - 164w ago
Nabnab's Avatar
No big update of my works but here the driver PS Vita libusb a made for Windows (x86/x64). you don't need to use anymore the generic driver ps vita from Sony.

Oh yes just to clarify about the 3 python script i made. This is nothing comparatively to the full script i'm making, the 3 script are here to show you that you can communicate with the PS Vita, about the helloworld, funny how some people didn't understand how the python script works.

First : I ask if the PS Vita is connected to my comp
Second : I ask to the PS Vita the information of the USB configuration
Third : I send a message to the PS Vita and the PS Vita confirm the reception with a Hello World.
The PS Vita can't really answer to a question but can confirm that received the question. I write the answer Hello World for the PS Vita to confirm the message a send to the PS Vita has received, if the PS Vita didn't received the message, i would have a error and not the print hello world.

Is like every Hello World, it's you write the HelloWorld and it's the product show the Hello World but the product don't understand what that mean.

You need to think that have different possibility to make a hello world possible on every platform.

Sure that the Hello World is not impressive but like i said it's one of the investigation that show you where to work.

More info about the USB PS Vita

USB_BUS_INTERFACE_USBD1_V1
Size 0024h
Version 0001h
BusContext B3B72BC8h
InterfaceReference 8C8214B9h
InterfaceDerefence 8C830ADBh
GetUSBDIVersion 8C8305C9h
QueryBusTime 8C8155CFh
SubmitIsoOutUrb 8C830365h
QueryBusInformation 8C830476h
IsDeviceHighSpeed 8C82287Bh

#130 - cfwprophet - 164w ago
cfwprophet's Avatar
About the claim some user have read my news post on monkeydesk and posted it on gbatemp but i or you never sayed that you have HACKed the con. I named the news with "PS Vita Hot News" and translated some posts into german.

This guy then made the post with "PS Vita hacked?" or kinda like that and his first words written was like "nabnab claims to have the ps vita hacked" but some other guyes on gbatemp with a higher rep teached them they should learn to read

Now it seems they understand. But i haven't read anything about that to copy a savegame exploit to the vita we will need your work, the debug mode enabled to get full access to file sys and place the exploit where we need them. Also im sure we can get hands on on some nice importend files of the vitas fw. But anyway they will fully understand when it's time for it

#129 - Nabnab - 164w ago
Nabnab's Avatar
I don't know ask Virtuous Flame, anyway it's just a number

Oops misunderstanding -> check the log, fix some issues of spying stuff Sony

#128 - SifJar - 164w ago
SifJar's Avatar
What changed in r3 from r2?

#127 - Nabnab - 164w ago
Nabnab's Avatar
USB Debug mode allow more than we expect but it's pretty unstable for now. Every person who have a PS Vita can do it and without anything else than a PS Vita and computer

Oh yes i saw that some people said that i claim i have hacked the PS Vita. I have never said i hacked the PS Vita, i explain what i have discovered and what my investigation/work is about.

Actually some executions on the PS Vita are pretty unstable and give me some errors (a security from the PS Vita that i need to fix) but i am working on it. I keep you informed for any updates of all my work and i will show you how to reproduce it when it's easy to do but need to keep it a bit as a secret before the EU/US release.

Nothing about my works but i really recommend to use the last version of openCMA http://code.google.com/p/procfw/downloads/detail?name=opencma_r3.7z on Windows -> thanks to Virtuous Flame

Ok let's back to work now

#126 - SifJar - 164w ago
SifJar's Avatar
Nabnab: Does USB debug mode allow much/anything that couldn't be done before? Or is it still in the investigation stage? Also, is it hard to get into, or is it something anyone could do?

#125 - PS4 News - 165w ago
PS4 News's Avatar
Yep, you can always start a new thread and we can merge or promote any posts made from it to the main page.. this was our ongoing thread for the Vita FW and Content Manager so people started posting here but if you wish to start your own I'm all for that too!

#124 - cfwprophet - 165w ago
cfwprophet's Avatar
I know for sure he is he

#123 - Nabnab - 165w ago
Nabnab's Avatar
I'm gonna wait the BIG BOSS if he/she (she -> just kidding what ! you never know) want to make a new Thread and move all on this thread, it's gonna be more easy to follow and update the works.

#122 - cfwprophet - 165w ago
cfwprophet's Avatar
You could do a new Thread named with "Universal Vita Dev Thread" or kinda like that. But best would be to ask the boss he also can move all the stuff from here which hase nothing to do with the OCM to this new thread then.

Great about the wiki and shows you that maybe more peoples recognize your work then yourself expect

I also was surprised as i have googled for my work and have seen where else it get spreaded.

 

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