Yifan Lu: ‘Why hacking the Vita is hard’

A few days ago, Yifan Lu posted on his blog his thoughts about the current status of the Vita in terms of hacking, why we are not seeing any significant progress, and why we are in a very different situation than we were a few years ago with the PSP.

In many aspects, Yifan Lu’s article echoes what I said 6 months ago (although I was much more hopeful back then), and what the fail0verflow team (famous for hacking the PS3) wrote in may as well.

Yifan Lu first summarizes what’s been said a lot recently, that the interest of hackers towards the Vita is not comparable to what we had when the PSP was pretty much the only valid portable device available for tinkerers. The rise of smartphones has changed the rules: hackers and indie developers are not focused on dedicated portable gaming systems anymore.

He then develops 3 main points that explain why the Vita is harder to hack than its older sister, or than smartphones: the fact that the PSP had flaws on day 1, which the Vita doesn’t; the fact that the Vita is a very specific piece of hardware making it difficult for hackers to “borrow” ideas from previous hacks; and the fact that hardware hacks, which have proven in the past to be the most effective, would be extremely hard and costly to achieve on the Vita (something that I also pointed out a while ago).

All these points may sound obvious to some of view today, but it’s something the hacking scene had been foreseeing for a few years now… did you see how many “scene” websites have transformed into “regular” gaming websites in the past few years?

Source YifanLu

  1. chingon’s avatar

    Well I hope that the newer slimmer ps vita with the 1g of built in memory

    Reply

    1. chingon’s avatar

      Is easier to hack

      Reply

      1. Michael Pulis’s avatar

        I think it’s exactly the same

        Reply

        1. tunganhdo’s avatar

          I myself think that it is not hacked yet because it is not interested enough for developers to develop games for Vita. Face it, it is expensive, and people would rather buy a smartphone, as well developers may get more money if they spend their time developing mobile games.
          But things will change when the Vita TV comes out, it is affordable and will become option 1 for low budget gamers. Vita will get more games and take back the attention from gamers, developers, and hackers as well.

          Reply

          1. lol’s avatar

            Smartphone games suck and are more expensive. The in-app purchases make it more expensive. You might say it is not always necessary to buy in-app purchases, but in some games it is required. For example an app that forces you to buy the next episode in order to play further. i.e. Final Fantasy Dimensions.

            Hopefully this is not the future of games. Most smart Phone games are either 2 things:
            1. Fun, short, but poor quality. You won’t see a ‘Killzone’ quality game on the iPhone. N.O.V.A or Modern Combat 3 doesn’t cut it.

          2. lol’s avatar

            2. Higher quality games that are $10-15 each. Still not console, or even hand-held console quality. i.e. Chaos Rings.

          3. dominosmd’s avatar

            all $ony has to say is the VITA is unhackable and I think we’ll get one look at ps3 sony bragged that it was unhackable and look at it :)

          4. gunblade’s avatar

            well yea the vita abit costly but campared to how much one would pay fo an ipad to play game its not that bad and i can get an iphone 5 for 80 bucks jus saying ..
            to me its jus cuz its sony…

      2. Yifan Lu’s avatar

        Doubtful. They’re not likely to make major modifications to the hardware (no extra CPU or ram, so no revisions needed). Plus it’ll be the same, secure software. Same with the vita tv.

        Reply

  2. NakedFaerie’s avatar

    The PSP didn’t have exploits or flaws at the start, the first firmware had no blocks so homebrew was enabled from the start. That’s was firmware 1.00. They changed homebrew access in firmware 1.50 making it harder but it was still there. I think homebrew was blocked from firmware 2.00 onwards that’s why CFW was created to re-enable homebrew.

    Reply

    1. wololo’s avatar

      So you don’t consider “no blocks” as a flaw from Sony’s perspective? I’ll respectfully disagree.

      Reply

      1. Yes’s avatar

        He probably mean that people didnt have to do any hacking to make homebrew work on PSP to begin with. But yeah, Sony definitelly didnt intend for homebrew to work on the PSP, so it was no doubt a flaw from Sony’s side.

        Reply

    2. svenn’s avatar

      Thats no argument at all, its like saying vita is “supporting” homebrew through VHBL. It had MAJOR flaws at start, including one about being able to run unsigned code (elf’s) (or something)

      In the point Yifan makes, its perfectly valid, where PSP was an open gate, the vita is still a good castle wall hacker efforts only turned up small gates not enough to be do reall damage.

      Reply

  3. 110706’s avatar

    To everyone not wanting CFW for PS Vita. I hope you are happy that greedy Sony, instead of releasing for PS Vita owners a TV-out cable(+firmware update to support it) which could be hooked to the already infamous “accessory port” on top of the Vita, they gave us the big FU finger and released a totally new product. PS Vita TV? want to hook your Vita to a TV? buy PS Vita TV!!

    If we had CFW, the amazing modding community that PSP had, would have already made a special Remotejoy app for it. And allow us to play Vita games on our monitor using a simple USB cable….

    And as the PSP, almost 2years later, Vita gets a slimmer model announced! and still no sign of HDMI port or even a TV out cable announced. PSP SLim was a total improvement over the PSP. Unlike Vita slim which brings battery and weight improvements, but losses the sweet OLED screen.

    And looking at the Vita TV, i think its set in stone the handheld version will never receive TV-out capability. Only solution remains CFW.

    Reply

    1. Abdou005’s avatar

      I agree totaly , + 1000. Ps vita Tv was a shock to vita owners for sure. Dream to see a Dark Alex or geohot to give us freedom, thanks yifanlu for your hard work <3.

      Reply

      1. nero’s avatar

        theres no hope for seeing geohot hack the vita. if he touches another sony product, he gets life in prison.

        Reply

        1. skpg’s avatar

          Yes life in prison for giving consumers what they want. As far as I can tell copyright law just benefits large corporate bastards like Sony at the expense of everyone else, no wonder Sony is in no hurry to drop the prices of Vita memory cards. And life in prison for copyright infringement? You would think geohot would have to rob a bank and kill all the people inside the bank to deserve life in prison, but modding and hacking an electronic device? Congress needs to look at the copyright laws and really needs to scale back the fines and penalties.

          Reply

          1. Josh101’s avatar

            A company that spends millions and even billions to sell you a device and you complain that you can’t fucking pirate games on it to your will? What kind of fucking twisted world are you living in? What in the literal FUCK? Whiney ass piece of shit motherfucker.

          2. skpg’s avatar

            @Josh101 I was referring to the unjust copyright laws that put hackers like geohot in jail for simply modding an electronic device, I was never advocating piracy you stupid mother fucker.

            I bet you love spending plenty of money on those overpriced memory cards, I bet you get a thrill when you update your Vita that prevents piracy. You are a fucking stupid Sony apologist if you are grateful to Sony. If a company spends millions of dollars that restricts the user on how they want to use their device, how they fuck are you suppose to be grateful? It’s like a film producer spends millions of dollars on a movie and it turns out to be utter dog shit are you going to complement him on making the movie? As far as I can tell Sony is just a hardware company, they don’t make the software. Pirating and modding an electronic device are two different things, you can mod an electronic device, that doesn’t mean you aren’t supportive of the developers who make the video games. Next time think before you post, you retarded fucking faggot ass piece of shit.

          3. skpg’s avatar

            @Josh101 I’m complaining about copyright infringement you dumb ass, not piracy. Odd that a dumb mother fucker like you is criticizing modding and hacking in a site that advocates it. You are in the wrong site if that’s what you are against.

            Modding and pirating are two different things, if you don’t know the difference don’t be talking shit.

    2. Abdou005’s avatar

      Pro team , codbird and Total noob specialy with ecfw was a revolution :D

      Reply

    3. mixedfish’s avatar

      Well thank the heavens for that, I don’t want a HDMI cable laid 5m across my lounge room just to play my Vita from the couch to the TV. It’s dangerous and down right stupid.

      Reply

    4. No’s avatar

      Has it been proved that it is possible to use a HDMI cable on the Vita accessory port? If it was so easy, it doesn’t make much sense why Sony didn’t release such cable at the Vita launch. That would simply have led to more profit for Sony.

      Reply

    5. Antichrist84’s avatar

      Everyone stop complaining about a tv out for the vita, if you want to game on the tv then buy a damn ps3 ffs, the vita is a portable for a reason >_>

      Reply

      1. Shezed’s avatar

        Not all games for the vita are on the PS3/ps4 einstein :p
        Given that the lower resolution might be a turn of for some. i would love to play some games i have on the vita on my big screen. I would only need to uncouple the cable to make it “PORTABLE” again. Just because you don’t care for it doesn’t mean the whole commpunity has to suffer for it. BTW i own a ps3 so what of it?

        Reply

    6. the3’s avatar

      Dude why not buy a vita as a portable and a home console 4 ur tv. The vita doesnt have a huge game line up anyway

      Reply

      1. Shezed’s avatar

        read my post above yours that’s why. really are people really this narrow minded. There is nothing wrong with demanding more features. It’s better to have features you don’t use than don’t having features you want to use(with the exception of features “you don’t use” that interfere with features you do use) I don’t see a tv out option as one of them tho

        Reply

    7. JeoWay’s avatar

      By your understanding of the myserious “port” at the top, it is not easy to just simply plug a cable into a random port on the Vita and it magically appear on your TV or monitor.

      That is like saying “lets plug our PC monitor straight in to the power supply and hope it comes out on the monitor!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      Nope. The pieces of hardware have to actually “send” output data. For all we know, that port in the top could have eventually made its way to being some new type of secondary Memory card slot.

      Reply

  4. FBJ’s avatar

    “The rise of smartphones has changed the rules..”

    And for the worse too. Everyone is playing that damn fruit game or that idiotic man-jumps-over-cavern-and-avoids obstacles game. Smartphone users are a very conformist bunch, and if the portable gaming industry dares take their cue from them with any sort of seriousness, I fear for the portable gaming market overall.

    Reply

    1. old wise man’s avatar

      Dont forget candy crush

      Reply

    2. rofl’s avatar

      Smartphone games aren’t even that great.

      PC > everything else.

      Reply

  5. saeed’s avatar

    no yo cant hack te ps vita ever..you now wath … you cant miss witch the dark alex…he is behinde the fierwall vita…noobs…hahahahaha

    Reply

    1. SuzieJoeBob’s avatar

      Now if only you could actually type, instead of being a wannabe gangsta. Then people would actually be able to understand you & not care, instead of just not caring.

      Reply

  6. jotax’s avatar

    this is a tribute to sony for good work? … not think

    “hacking the Vita is hard” …but not impossible, they say many coders, “no device is invulnerable”

    however (although not the same device)the same was said of psp.

    Now the most important thing is patience and fun meanwhile looking bugs

    Good luck! ;)

    Reply

  7. M12-SAT3’s avatar

    lol.. it’s to harder to a genius like them?
    stupid ideas… go hack some kitty game on 3DS

    Reply

  8. Kazumi’s avatar

    Wut? Yifan Lu?陆一帆?Sounds like a Chinese hacker :P

    Reply

    1. Yifan Lu’s avatar

      Not the right characters, but I don’t see myself as a hacker much less a Chinese hacker. That word has lost all its meaning. I reverse engineer.

      Reply

  9. theinfuser599’s avatar

    What about the PS vita TV that might be hackable it takes psvita games

    Reply

  10. ivo’s avatar

    hi, what about a little hack ?
    sdlBasic for PSP version 0.5

    May 22nd, 2008, 03:47 Posted By: deniska

    sdlBasic is a small, efficient multiplatform basic interpreter originally created by Roberto Viola in 2002.

    together with dxbx ? delphi or pascal to psp sdlbasic convertion ?
    xbox on psp ?.?

    Reply

  11. kenballas’s avatar

    hey!! Yifan Lu im ip banned from your website for no reason.

    Reply

    1. Yifan Lu’s avatar

      I don’t know. It must be cloud flare thinking you’re a bot. Make sure your computer is not infected.

      Reply

  12. kenballas’s avatar

    wwwwhhhhyyyyy!?!?!?

    Reply

  13. Vicsidious’s avatar

    the fact that the PSP had flaws on day 1, which the Vita doesn’t;

    I guess there might be one, but we simply didn’t find it! Don’t you think?

    Reply

  14. ivo’s avatar

    hi,
    free pascal on psp lol
    or even lazarus
    would do the trick of compiling dxbx for psp
    lol
    so anyone want xbox on psp/psvita/vitatv ?

    Reply

  15. ivo’s avatar

    hi Yifan Lu,
    so what are the tools to fully automatic reverse ps3/psp ?
    do u reverse windows/linux applications to ?
    thkx for the read anyhow
    long progrezz
    psvita ebot

    Reply

  16. PS Vita’s avatar

    PS VITA IS UNHACKABLE

    Reply

  17. Voltrom’s avatar

    The little bit achieved within the vita OS is minimal but it’s there. There’s always a way to achieve our goals within our given hardware. But the fact of the matter is that nobody wants to release such an exploit and get jail time. It’s just not worth the risk. Very few have even experience in this new Sony OS. We will see an exploit publicly but that’s gonna be a long long time. Perhaps the vita tv will give us even more clues as to how Sony is thinking this time around.

    In the meantime, pray for 3rd party support and new games (Jesus give us sanandreas stories)

    -Voltromik

    Reply

    1. 110706’s avatar

      And can you tell us whats stopping hackers to give the files to some foreign friend and tell him : can you please upload this to a popular filesharing website and then email some major gaming sites about the jailbreak?

      There are alot of countries where sony cant do anything to citizens other than suck their d**k!!

      Reply

  18. MrMiyamoto’s avatar

    “Some of view”?? The phrase is “some of you”.

    Reply

  19. papimax68’s avatar

    Friends, you may perform the same work in the psvitaTV kernell exploit to…

    Reply

  20. DEXTER MORGAN’s avatar

    Guys like the 3ds there will be a break through in one way or another.
    Time is of the essence.

    Reply

  21. skpg’s avatar

    No one bought the PSP until it was hacked, this applies for the Vita as well. Sony thinks consumers are dumb enough to buy their overpriced garbage, well not in this economy.

    Sony keeps fucking the consumers over and over again with their anti-consumer business practices whether be forcing consumers to use their propriety memory cards on the Vita, banning users on PSN if they have modded devices, suing hackers for copyright infringement, and other shit that Sony does to nickel and dime the user and to “prevent” piracy. Well fuck you Sony, I’m not buying your products.

    Reply

    1. Josh101’s avatar

      Good. I’m fucking glad you don’t buy that shit. Considering no one complains about the fucking Iphone with the basic same internals for 600$. Whiney fucks. Of course Sony selling the Vita at a loss, a very high loss and you still fucking complain.

      Reply

      1. skpg’s avatar

        You are so retarded if you are grateful to Sony or Apple, I don’t owe Sony anything, neither do I owe Apple. As a consumer you should be concerned about your wallet, not the corporation and how they spend their money. The last thing you should be concerned about is how a corporation spends and conducts their business. Last time I checked Apple was a major patent/copyright aggressor that is known to restrict the user and how they used their devices. You know the ipad or the iphone that you spend $300+on.

        As I said in my last post, think before you post you stupid mother fucker.

        Reply

        1. Techni Myoko’s avatar

          There’s no need for you to be such an asshole skpg.

          Reply

          1. skpg’s avatar

            I’m not being an asshole, I’m simply responding back. If someone insults and flames you in anyway you respond back. You’re an asshole for calling me an asshole.

          2. skpg’s avatar

            @Techni Myoko, lol calling me an asshole when Josh101 was being the asshole, I simply responded back. Now I have to respond to another dumb asshole. Hey think before you post.

      2. skpg’s avatar

        I’m talking about modding hardware which this site advocates you dumb fuck. If you don’t think there is anything wrong with the Vita, than you are a brainless Sony apologist.

        If I pay $200 for an electronic device I better have full control over the device, because I paid for it with my own hard earned money, I could give a fuck how much Sony spent to create the Vita. You got your priorities backwards you dick head if you honestly preaching what you are saying

        Reply

  22. Kyu’s avatar

    Maybe…
    If some manufacturer makes an adapter for the front accessory slot, we will get to know more about the Vita.

    …maybe Sony left that by accident there?

    Reply

  23. agent058’s avatar

    The Vita Isnt UN-Hackable.
    The Vita IS very Hard to hack
    The Vita does have hdmi out with a usb, but that model is for developers ( i heard it cost around 2 grand O.o)

    Also, the vita isn’t bad at all, it just isnt receiving as much support over here as it is in Japan

    The only exception id wantto buy a smartphone over the vita are the free 3rd party apps that let u do things like watch videos in native format etc.

    Yay for vita with a LCD screen, i HATE the OLED screen on both this smarthphones

    Reply

  24. Brandon’s avatar

    Yeah I’ve thought this was coming for a while now…the combination of game developers making it harder to hack, and more expensive, while at the same time decreasing the desire for the hack (by supporting many of the features the hack would enable out-of-the-box) is killing console hacking. Personally I’ve always loved hacks and still have my trusty PSP with CFW on it. I’d love to see a Vita hack, but I just don’t think it’s coming. Would rather see a 3DS hack honestly(due to the possibilities on the 3D screen), but doubt that’ll happen either.

    Reply

  25. Vergilxx3’s avatar

    Vita can be hacked for sure as evey device out there but..
    This doesn’t mean it will be hacked

    Reply

  26. Josh101’s avatar

    I can’t believe the non-sense in these comments. How can you people even pretend to be upset with a company that spends MILLIONS on liscensing/exclusivity and parts to make a system, sell it at a loss (Vita=300 Iphone=600 with the SAME basic internals) and STILL complain that they are screwing you over? SMH.

    Reply

    1. skpg’s avatar

      The Vita gets a lot of criticism because it restricts the user on how they can use their device, such as Sony preventing anyone including 3rd parties from modding their the hardware. Other restrictions like CMA, the mandatory kernel updates are also restrictions, think of it as hidden fees. I can care less how much money Sony spends on licensing technology, that’s their fault for being a major patent aggressor.

      I don’t know if some of my other replies to your pathetic posts are going to show up because it’s being “reviewed for moderation”, yet your flame bait posts were accepted? It doesn’t make sense.

      Reply

      1. Techni Myoko’s avatar

        It makes perfect sense cause you’re being a complete jackass, he isn’t.

        Reply

        1. skpg’s avatar

          Oh? You can’t even explain your reason to why I’m being a jackass. He’s basically saying I should be grateful to Sony for what? If I pay for a device and it restricts me on how I use it even though it’s unfair than I will complain, what do you think this site is for? You can’t even make sense, so go fuck yourself.

          Reply

  27. kazz’s avatar

    vita is way to expensive its just a PORTABLE and yet the price expensive its as expensive as a console then their cartridges are also expensive. Its like buying a hamburger then gives you only a sandwich….sony is becoming to greedy or too buissness minded they only care about their income not their consumer if only this company are not way to greedy they can still revive the prig psp there are countries that prefer hardcopies like japan because its like a collectibles

    Reply

  28. nomoresonyproducrs’s avatar

    Vita will be my last sony product, learned my lesson. Fuck sony.

    Reply

  29. Shurado’s avatar

    Mr. Wololo i have a question :
    if the PS Vita gets hacked will it be able to emulate 6th generation video games for the PS2, GameCube, Xbox, Dreamcast?

    i haven’t tried but i don’t think the psp could

    Reply

Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>