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….
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.
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
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!