We’ve mentioned several times in the past few days that firmware 3.00 has been a surprise to some of the veterans in the PSP/Vita scene, as Sony has patched several undisclosed psp exploits with this update.
It is fairly rare for Sony to patch an exploit before it gets publicly released, more so when it comes to exploits in the psp emulator, which in two years of Vita’s existence haven’t proven to be a security or business threat to Sony.
Nevertheless, firmware 3.00 appears to contain patches for several exploits that were known probably by a handful of people. Firmware 3.00 contains typical “blacklist” patches in the savedata_utility.prx, but also apparently deeper fixes in the psp kernel.
Savedata_utiliy.prx is a file that contains (among other things) a blacklist of exploits. I’ve described that file a while ago here: “When the PSP and the Vita show their battle scars“. With firmware 3.00, the savedata_utility.prx blacklist has been updated to block the “pawa pro” exploit from 173210 (this was expected), but also Frostegater’s Fieldrunners and Pipe Madness exploits and Yosh’s Half Minute Hero exploit, which hadn’t been publicly disclosed before the 3.00 release.
In addition to those, somewhere between 10 and 20 other undisclosed game exploits have been added to the blacklist, which means those exploits are now technically patched. (I have been asked by my sources to not be more precise than that)
It does not stop there, though, as it appears some techniques used in VHBL to increase compatibility are now patched in the psp kernel. The patches in general do not prevent VHBL from running, but limit the compatibility of some homebrews. Acid_Snake discussed this at length in his rant to Sony
Vita firmware 3.00 has put serious limits to ongoing efforts to open the psp emulator within the Vita. However, many devs/hackers have contacted me to let me know their own exploit wasn’t impacted, or that they had found workarounds. Total Noob’s long awaited TN-V4, an upcoming kernel exploit within the psp emulator on the Vita, does not seem to be impacted.
To me the big remaining question is the source of these fixes. Do you think Sony have a team looking for exploits in their PSP games? Or do they get contacted independently?