Well, this is a surprise, and not a good one. Vita firmware 1.80 comes with a few unwelcome updates, one of them being that it blocks VHBL.
I have good and bad news. The good news is that, as far as I could see, VHBL still runs fine on firmware 1.80. The bad news is, it is impossible to copy it to the PS Vita. The version I tested had been installed before the update to 1.80, but sadly I could confirm the 1.80 update prevents us from copying the VHBL files, ad well as homebrews, to the memory card.
Vita firmware 1.80 comes with a forced CMA update (open CMA, sadly, didn’t help to prevent that), which, among other things, has a series of more advanced checks on the files it copies from and to the Vita. Remember how we could put anything we wanted in the PSP savedata folders, and get CMA to copy that to the vita? install.zip, h.bin, etc, etc… well, all of this is over, and now only the allowed files for each specific save seem to be accepted.
Several people are already looking into this, but for now it means that our long awaited VHBL release is, at the very least, postponed, if not worse.
I am not sure this is a good strategy from Sony. As I’ve been saying for a while, VHBL is a blessing in disguise for Sony, because it distracts many skilled hackers, focusing the attention of the scene on something that is basically harmless. The day VHBL is blocked, these people will start to look for other ways to hack the vita. Note however that I am not sure if this is just Sony cleaning up their CMA code by enforcing stricter rules, or if this is intentionally made to prevent VHBL from running.
As you can imagine, I am the first one to be disappointed by this, stay tuned while we are (of course) looking for solutions…