Nobody likes firmware updates. They usually happen on that evening when you just had a bit of free time to play, and you end up having to update instead. Counting the download and install time, it might sometimes even mean you won’t play today. We’d all love if there were less of them… or if at least they were meaningful.
In particular, nobody likes the “stability improvements” firmwares, which bring absolutely nothing. In case you’re not familiar with this blog, most “stability improvements” firmwares on the Vita are published in reaction to vulnerabilities we disclose on this site.
As a joke last week I tweeted : On my resume, I’ll write: “Responsible for more than half of PS Vita’s firmware updates”. Out of curiosity, I decided to check how true that statement is…
In the past 18 months, Sony released 16 firmware updates for the PS Vita. Half of them (8 exactly) had patches for exploits we revealed here at wololo.net:
- 2.61: patches the Arcade Darts exploit.
- 2.60: patches the Gamocracy one exploit.
- 2.10: Patches the Apache overkill exploit.
- 2.05: Patches the UNO exploit.
- 2.00: Patches the Urbanix, Mad blocker alpha, and Gravity crash exploits.
- 1.81: Patches the Monster hunter exploit.
- 1.69: Patches the Super collapse exploit.
- 1.66: Patches the Motorstorm and Everybody’s Tennis exploits.
So I could pretend we are responsible for half of the Vita’s firmware updates in the past 18 months, but 4 of these also introduced actual useful features to the user (2.60, 2.10, 2.0, and 1.66), reducing our “exclusive share” to 25%.
I’m not proud or ashamed of that number, it’s just a fact: a significant share (between 25% and 50% depending on how you look at it) of the PS Vita’s firmware updates are in reply to the vulnerabilities we reveal regularly on this blog. As I’ve said before, our new catchphrase should be: “Wololo.net, making Sony nervous since 2008″ (thanks to Tepoo who inspired this)
When I announced the first VHBL exploit back in 2011, I didn’t really think VHBL would still be around today. Probably like many other people, I thought the Vita would end up being fully hacked within a year or so. That turned out to be false, maybe for the best, but a side effect has been that VHBL is still going strong on the Vita. With 11 PSP user mode exploits released since 2012 and no plan to stop releasing more, VHBL is today the only way to run homebrews on the Vita (if you exclude the extremely rare psp kernel exploits that surface once in a while), and it also seems to be one of the main reason Sony releases firmware updates for the Vita.
There’s little to no reason for Sony to patch these exploits. They give users access to the PSP emulator at best, and do not impact Sony’s Vita business or games. Nevertheless, it seems they’re more in a hurry to patch those minor hacks than vulnerabilities that are actually dangerous for their customers.