100w 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?
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.
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Following up on his PS Vita VHBL Motorstorm Arctic Edge release, this weekend PS Vita and PSP hacker wololo has revealed that Everybody's Tennis (known as Hot Shots Tennis in the US and Minna no Tennis in Japan) contains a vulnerability that could lead to the execution of external code and has since been removed from PSN by Sony.
To quote from his blog (linked above) as follows: Dear Sony, it has come to my http://wololo.net/wagic/2012/03/23/vhbl-name-of-the-new-exploited-game-will-be-announced-soon that one of the PSP games available on the PlayStation Vita has a vulnerability that could lead to the execution of external code by some malicious users. Therefore I am writing this blog post so that you can patch the game or remove it from the PSN store as soon as possible.
Preferably, I suggest you take the money from your clients first, and prevent them from downloading the game afterwards, just like you did with Motorstorm Arctic Edge, 3 weeks ago. This way it will be a win-win situation for you, and you can always blame it on the hackers later on.
As a matter of fact, I have discovered that some "hackers" (I prefer to call them terrorists) have already prepared a http://wololo.net/talk/viewtopic.php?f=52&t=10766 which, using this vulnerability, could allow people to run software that would be extremely dangerous for your business, such as 20 year-old 8 bit games and 154 different versions of pong.
I think this puts your business at risk, and I've tried to stop those vilains by all means necessary, but sadly it seems they are not breaking any law. Hopefully, giving you the name of the game will help you to take some efficient action.
Those people are clearly wrong in their mind to try to play crappy open source software, when they could enjoy a great game such as Ridge Racer for less than 10$ a track, (which is clearly not a ripoff compared to the price one would have to pay in the real world to drive cars that completely defy the laws of physics. Although on that subject I woud like if you could help me, as my version of the game seems to be blocked in "demo mode" for some reason. All the 5 cars have exactly the same specs, so surely there's something I've done wrong somewhere.)
I digress. The name of the game is Everybody's Tennis. It is also known as Minna no tennis in Japan. Thankfully the game is not available on the US Vita store, so this should limit the problems on your end. I heard however that these hackers have prepared a US version of the hack just in case that version is being sold somewhere such as the HK store. I also heard people can buy the UK version from the US if they buy some PSN cards from resellers on ebay and other sites.
If I may give some advice, I think this is not secure enough. True, you did a good job in preventing people from buying games outside of the country they live in (and being a French living in Japan, I can't tell you how much I appreciate the fact that I can't buy any game on the French PSN, this is exactly how globalization should work, and it helps me sparing lots of money by not buying any game), but I think in order to avoid future hacks, you should simply prevent everyone from buying games on the PSN, which will guarantee you a complete control of the market.
The hackers also announced they would release their hack a few hours or days after they announce the name of the game being used. They claim this only allows people to run "homebrew" games and that in no way it allows people to play pirated PSP or vita games, but I think this is not an excuse to hack.
I realize it is saturday evening for your teams in Europe, and Sunday morning in Japan. I hope you will not have to wake some people in the middle of the night just to take action, I would have chosen a better time, but I myself have very little time to blog outside of weekends.
Hoping that working together we will be able to stop hackers. I seem to be one of the few people on Earth who understand that the real enemies of the Vita are not your poor marketing techniques, the terrible software such as the "back to the 90′s" netfront browser, the bad launch lineup, the delays on the playstation suite, the recent downgrade from 5 to 2 allowed copies of any given psn game, and the increasing competition of smartphones that all have better CPUs than the Vita. No, the real enemies are those people playing Lamecraft, who are clearly killing the videogame market, so let's destroy them together.
Please pay extra attention to the dev known as wth, who apparently is behind this whole thing, as well as Teck4 who apparently helped him for the Japanese version of the hack. I also heard that somes guys named mamosuke and msparky83 were involved in the testing. It would be good if you have a way to maybe track these guys' phones or something. Or maybe you can simply sue them, I heard it's something you do very well.
Yours truly, W. Ololo
Update: Following our discovery yesterday that the Honk Kong version of Everybody's Tennis was different from the 3 other ones, wth got to work and adapted VHBL to this version. I haven't tested this, but hopefully people who bought the HK version of Everybody's Tennis can confirm if it works.
WTH also hinted to me that he might be able to get rid of the current limitation on the European version of the exploit, in which people have to switch the language of their console to French before running VHBL. Stay tuned.
Thanks to the great work of wth, here is the long awaited second release of VHBL. Those of you who missed the Motorstorm exploit probably had a chance to grab a copy of Everybody's Tennis before Sony pulled it (let's be happy, they gave us a bit more than 30 hours this time, last time was 8 hours). If not, well stay tuned, there are still other PSP user exploits lying around, and I'm sure something will come eventually.
But let's get to the real subject here, this new release of VHBL. Sadly, I didn't test it myself on my Vita, only on a PSP, so here's to hope everything will go well. The full port has been done by wth (a.k.a. Yosh), with some help from Teck4 (JP exploit), and msparky83 and mamosuke (testing). I wasn't involved in this port, so all credit goes to these guys. I want to thank as usual all the developers behind HBL, who made it relatively easy to port, in particular m0skit0 and JJS. Yosh also adds special thanks to dridri85, Zer01ne, Truthkey, and other devs who kept this a secret while it was being developed. From the readme:
HBL port to the EU/US/JP versions of the exploit by Yosh
EU/US Exploit by Yosh, JP Exploit by teck4, discovered by Yosh
wololo for the help
Thanks go to:
All the devs who made HBL what it is today, in particular m0skit0 and JJS
dridri85, Zer01ne, Truthkey and all the other devs who kept the secret, that's much appreciated guys
Monsieur2T2R for the cool VHBL icons/wallpapers
Apologies to all the people who bought the Everybody's Tennis game from the HK store, it turns out that version is a 4th version of the game for which no exploit was prepared yet.
The HK version of the game is difficult to find, so if you happen to own that game on your PSP and are a bit technical savvy, you might want to give it a try and port VHBL to it. I'm convinced it's just a matter of time, it just takes one guy.
So, to whoever will do that port, thanks in advance, and to people who are waiting for the HK version of VHBL, please stay tuned. Neither wth nor me were actually aware that the HK version was different from the other 3, so it might take a while for something to be ready, but we're not forgetting you.
HOW TO INSTALL AND RUN HBL ON EVERYBODY'S TENNIS
It is *strongly* recommended that you turn of all wireless connections on your PS Vita, and that you use OpenCMA on your PC instead of the regular CMA. This is recommended because otherwise your console has a way to force you to upgrade the firmware even before you get a chance to use the exploit.
Extract the HBL archive matching your version of the game in your CMA PSP Savedata folder. It is a folder on your PC named PSSAVEDATA/[lots of random characters here]. If you don't know where it is, check your settings in CMA
Connect your PS Vita to the PC through the CMA, it should give you the possibility to copy the savedata from your PC to the Vita. If not, you probably extracted it in the wrong folder. (Note: You will also want to install some homebrews with a similar technique, read the section below)
Important for owners of the European version of the game: Before running Everybody's tennis, you need to change the language of your PS Vita/PSP to French. This is a limitation of the exploit for now, this might or might not change in future revisions. you can of course switch your console back to your own language once you are done playing with VHBL.
To run HBL, start the Tennis game, select "Continue" in the Main Menu. At this point, HBL should start
HOW TO INSTALL AND RUN HOMEBREW
Installing homebrew on the PSP was an easy task. On the Vita, until better solutions are provided, it's quite a pain in the rear. The CMA will only let you copy savedata, and will not recursively browse folders. To address this, HBL comes with a tool that can extract archives with a specific structure.Packaging the homebrew for installation on the Vita:
1) download PSP homebrew from your favorite Web site (wololo.net/downloads)
2) extract the homebrew somewhere on your hard drive, and with your favorite utility, zip it again with the *store* setting (no compression), in a file that you will name "install.zip"
3) take any PSP savedata (but not the one used for HBL!), and add the "install.zip" to that folder, in your PC CMA folder. so your PSP Savedata will look something like this:
in folder PSSAVEDATA/1a2b3c4def5678/UCUS12345000/ (or something like this) you will have the following files:
1) run OpenCMA on your PC, and CMA on your Vita
2) copy the previously packaged SAVEDATA (see above) with your homebrew in "install.zip" on your Vita
3) run HBL (how to run HBL is explained in the previous section)
4) navigate with the HBL menu to the SAVEDATA folder, then go to the folder you just downloaded (in my example, UCUS12345000), and clikc cross or circle on it
5) At this point, the HBL menu should ask you if you want to install the homebrew. select yes, and wait until HBL is done extracting your homebrew
6) The homebrew is now installed, and you can run it by going to the GAME folder, if everything went well, a new subfolder with your homebrew has been created here, and you can run the homebrew
OpenCMA (wololo.net/downloads/index.php/download/1252) is strongly recommended to install if you want to use VHBL. Open CMA is a tool by Virtuous Flame that allows you to copy files from and to your vita without being connected to the internet. This is useful, especially if you don't want Sony to forcefully update your firmware.
Update 2: PlayStation Vita developer wololo[ has updated (wololo.net/wagic/2012/04/15/new-vhbl-version-for-everybodys-tennis-gets-rid-of-language-limitation-in-eu-version/) the VHBL version for Everybody's Tennis, which now gets rid of language limitation in EU version. Downloads:
http://www.mediafire.com/?zg9w1oo6gmdgg32 (All EU versions except Italy)
http://www.mediafire.com/?xaobb1a88m68uz1 (Italian version)
http://www.mediafire.com/file/63ifs816yivliap/vhbl-tennis-JP_EU_US-yosh.zip (JP/US, also works with the EU version, but for EU the links above are recommended)
To quote: "Developer wth released today an update to his Everybody's Tennis exploit, specifically for the EU store. This change does not improve homebrew compatibility, but will work independently of the language of your console. Yes, finally, no need to switch your console to French or Spanish.
Even though there is no new homebrew compatibility, I'm sure this will be a welcome update for those of you who are using this exploit."
Well, I saw the news and downloaded the files, then after reading more carefully to get it to work, realized I might as well delete everything. I don't have Motorstorm, can't get it (now), and the space required on my little 4GB stick greatly outsizes the actual homebrew I'd like to run. So, nice proof-of-concept, and many thanks to wololo for actually releasing something useful.