Total_Noob: The big interview

Recently I interviewed Coldbird and Virtuous Flame, the creators of CFW Pro. It is now time to take a look at the other side of the force. As you may or may not know, all the Custom Firmwares / Homebrew Enablers for recent firmwares rely on the same base: a Kernel vulnerability discovered and exploited by Total_Noob a few months ago. Total_Noob used this exploit as the base for his largely used Homebrew enabler, TN Hen.

I had the opportunity to chat with Total_Noob about his ongoing projects for the psp, so read along if you want to learn about the upcoming features for TN-HEN E

Total_Noob, thanks for your time . Let’s start with the basics, can you quickly introduce yourself ?

Total_Noob:  My name is Andy, I’m a fifteen years old student. I came to the scene sometime in 2008

When did you get your first PSP ?

Total_Noob: I got my first PSP phat when I was 13. A present from my parents on my birthday. Soon, my cousin hacked my PSP and I had CFW 3.40 OE-A. I really enjoyed my homebrews.

So, you were into hacks from the start…when did you join the scene as a “dev”, what was your first contribution?

Total_Noob: Hm…initially I joined QJ.net. My first plugin was MusicHold, maybe some people will remember it: It allows you to press right and left trigger, while your PSP is in hold mode. Torch, the developer of Hold+ added this feature to his awesome plugin.

Was there a hack or a hacker on the PSP that really impressed you ?

Total_Noob: The hack wich impressed me (and still impresses me) is the Pandora battery. My cousin downgraded my PSP with that and it was just like magic :D. Every developer who worked on this project impressed me

Let’s move on to your work on the kernel exploit. So… to put things simply, how did you find this exploit?

Total_Noob: 2 years ago ( or one ? ), Yoshihiro gave me a hint about a vulnerability in utility.prx. I was a noob and at first I didn’t understand where the Kernel Exploit was. In August 2010, I was actively looking for a Kernel Exploit and I stumbled upon a function in utility.prx wich was calling a buggy power function with k1 shifted. At that point I remembered that Yoshihiro had told me about this
wololo: So from then you started working on a Hen….

Total_Noob: yes.

how long do you think you spent in total working on the exploit + the Hen ?

Total_Noob: Veeeeeeery much. Since October 2010 till now
wololo: do you have an idea how many hours you spent?
Total_Noob: Well, I worked every weekend on the HEN, so… thousands of hours maybe? Maybe that’s a bit exaggerated…but definitely hundreds of hours.

are you still working on TN Hen ?

Total_Noob: Of course I am! I’m a bit sad, ’cause people think I left the scene. I invented maaany new features and I promise, you guys will be excited once you know what the features are
wololo: Oh, so TN-E is coming…can you reveal a few features you are working on ?
Total_Noob: Well….I think TN-E is ready for release. But maybe my brain will tinker some new features :). OK, here are a few:

  • - Added OSK Character Limit Increase (the Internet Browser OSK only supports 512 characters. This patch allows you to use 1518 characters).
  • - Added password control at startup.
  • - Added UMD patch (umd4hombrew is not necessary anymore).
  • - Added usbdevice.
  • - Added PSX multi-disc support.
  • - Added possibility to hide hen eboot in the game menu.
  • - Added version.txt display.
  • - Added more functions to kubridge library.
  • - Added a surprise

Total_Noob: The suprise will hew you guys down
wololo: hehe, can’t wait

What was the biggest challenge when you worked on TN Hen ?

Total_Noob: There was no huge difficulty. Fix bugs, add patches for stability, fix bugs again… the most difficult part was probably to fix bugs I couldn’t reproduce myself.
wololo: ah, good point, so how did you proceed to fix those?
Total_Noob: Trial and error, send new versions regularly to the testers. Sometimes it took me a whole weekend to fix a bug! Like the 32gb Memory Stick problem (Homebrew execution crash)

wololo: Thanks, moving on to your “future” projects…

Lots of people are expecting a Hen for 6.37 (and now I see that 6.38 is out)…do you have an answer for them?

Total_Noob: Yesterday I saw a new function wich has a vulnerability, but it is probably not exploitable. I’ll investigate more after the TN-E release.
wololo: Ok, not sure yet if this is really exploitable, right? But at least it means some vulnerabilities are still around.
Total_Noob: Exactly.

What kind of advice would you give to people who want to become console “hackers”?

Total_Noob: Learn with practice, do NOT start with the hardest thing, such as a CFW.

I assume you know that geohot was recently threatened by Sony (they settled the case earlier this month). Are you afraid the same kind of stuff might happen to PSP hackers?

Total_Noob: No, I’m not afraid. They care much more about the PS3

are you getting an NGP?

Total_Noob: If I’ve got enough money, I’ll buy it for sure
wololo: hehe, any games you’re hoping to play on that new console?
Total_Noob: Assassin’s Creed! or God Of War
wololo: the best part of Assassin’s Creed is Jade Raymond
Total_Noob: Haha, yes she looks nice :D

Thanks a lot for your answers , any final word?

Total_Noob: Yes, I am developing with my friend HacKmaN.
wololo: Say hi to him, and thanks a lot for your time, Total_Noob!

  1. forge’s avatar

    yay i love tn

    Reply

  2. apple pi’s avatar

    I have a hard time believing TN_noob is 15 years old and did this all by himself. Sorry but I call BS. Is this a cover for a group of people or of someone who doesn’t want to get credit.

    Reply

  3. apple pi’s avatar

    Plus he goes from being a noob 2 years ago getting his first phat and then less than a year later he is “actively looking for a Kernel Exploit and stumbled upon a function in utility.prx” and since “oct 2010″ writes the cfw that changes the PSP scene? Am I missing something? No way a 15 yo kid did this all by himself.

    Reply

    1. wololo’s avatar

      You’re just sad to realize some people on Earth are way smarter than us :)

      FYI looking for Kernel Exploits is not more complex than any other hobby, it just requires time and dedication.

      Reply

      1. Lorz’s avatar

        agreed…….. I’ve been messing around with computers and programming longer than TN has even been alive, and there’s no way I could match his skill……… not even close.

        Fully admit TN is most definatly smarter than i am.

        Reply

    2. eric’s avatar

      its for his privacy pls respect total-noob ok!

      Reply

  4. man_of_power05’s avatar

    he’s 15? wow amazing how some people can do this complicated stuff at such a young age.

    Reply

  5. JACK1005’s avatar

    yeah men…………
    @Tn thanks for those dev apps.

    @wololo great job :D

    Reply

  6. troll’s avatar

    awaiting moderation tuloy post ko

    Reply

  7. kosuke’s avatar

    i would like for TN_Noob to email me i have some questions for you

    Reply

  8. Anand Abhinav’s avatar

    respect for TN. total respect. @wololo you should have “like” and super like options for the comments and posts. :P

    Reply

  9. bmg1001’s avatar

    VFlame and Coldbirds Big suprise was 6.20 PRO B4, so no doubt TNs suprise will be 6.35 TN-E

    Reply

  10. Yosh’s avatar

    tn you just totally rock man ! =D

    Reply

  11. Norml’s avatar

    Amazing what you find out, thanks abunch! This is why Sony is scared, this guys only 15….

    Reply

  12. Flayer’s avatar

    Damn, im 15 too and i suck at programming because i never have the time to put into writing more complex scripts. 9th grade is like mental torture, and c++ on top of math, science, history, spanish, and english can be a bit overwhelming. T_n i dont know how you’ve managed to single handedly write a cfw in like 3 months and pass all your classes, but you’ve really inspired me not to give up.

    Reply

  13. kratos1288’s avatar

    thanx tottal noob for everything

    Reply

    1. Total Noob’s avatar

      It’s nice to be thanked.

      Reply

      1. Mr MaGoo’s avatar

        I know its almost 2 years later but you are still the man. I would like to touch base with you and find out how and where to start. Congratz for everything. I remember watching your interview about the double analog stick. I had one in my fat 1000 and still have one sitting away for a rainy day. UR the man!!!

        Reply

  14. Ioan’s avatar

    TN HEN-E is out!!! It’s so awesome… go check it out at psphacks or pspgen

    Reply

  15. alek’s avatar

    i love total_noob, a love wololo, a love everybody, i love my psp3000, im almost gay rsrsrsr

    Reply

  16. Techni’s avatar

    Please add a shut down menu under USB.
    And integrate that folder plugin.

    Reply

  17. 10$man’s avatar

    I hate to say this, but how can a 15 year old be finding exploits and writing his own CFW? Sure some kids are precocious but this seems a little much… especially a kid who got his psp 2 years ago :/. Writing a plugin means you know how to code. And hese trying to say he learned how to code AND make plugins in a year or less? … :/ either he has NO life at all, or he is lying or a cover-up for the real total_noob.

    If i am wrong i am truly sorry, wololo and total_noob you must understand how sketchy this appears.

    Good job to TN though.

    Reply

    1. wololo’s avatar

      The fact that 99% of the 15 year old you know wouldn’t be dedicated enough to do that, doesn’t man that there aren’t a few geniuses out there.

      I, too, was a “normal” kid when I was 15, but I had a few friends who were spending their free time writing their own jpeg encoder/decoder, so, you know, probably depends what kind of people you were hanging out with when you were 15, but I definitely knew people who would have been up to this.

      Reply

  18. nxtuser’s avatar

    this guy aint serious .. 15 yrs Damnn!!

    Reply

  19. Griwwjack’s avatar

    Hello everybody, this is my first time here. I am bad at programming, it is a hobby and i not have more than 5 hours per week, i just finished Lógicade and Algorithms and i will begin to study C, i am 31 ??years but at 12 i began studying electronics reading magazines, to 15 years i was already technical and repairing radios and TVs, i began programing in Basic with 16 years. two years later I met an 8 year old boy who spent his time reading books on programming in C, I would not have believed it if he did not write and compile a program in front of me. TN, I do not doubt his ability and I thank you for sharing your work with us. I would like you to give us some tips on getting started with the ASSEMBLY or C for PSP, after all with BASIC is not going anywhere .. rsrsr

    Reply

  20. witness’s avatar

    When do you schedule to have a new exploit and make other users be able to hack?

    Reply

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