PS Vita 3.63 jailbreak – when will a hack be released for PS Vita firmware 3.63?
TL,DR: The best way to get a hacked PS Vita is to get yourself a PS vita running firmware 3.60. The Borderlands bundle is the safest bet (ensure you buy it new, not used).
Several people have been contacting me inquiring about the future possibility to exploit PS Vita firmware 3.63. The majority of the audience of this blog has been enjoying HENkaku on firmware 3.60, but a growing number of users are left in the cold, stuck on firmwares 3.61 or 3.63. So I expect the questions related to a PS Vita 3.63 downgrader, or a PS Vita 3.63 jailbreak, or a PS Vita hack for higher firmwares to increase with time.
Is there, or will there be a PS Vita 3.63 Vita Jailbreak?
The short answer is no. You can however run and install a PSP Custom Firmware (ARK) on your 3.63 PS Vita, as of February 2017.
The long answer is more nuanced, but still ends with a “no”. Think about it, it took about 5 years for the first “real” Vita hack to surface. And hopefully, the various explanations that have been posted by Team Molecule and others about the hack have proven that it was not a small achievement. HENkaku required several hacks and tricks to work.
It’s not clear to me how many of these vulnerabilities have been patched by Sony (the user Mode webkit exploit was definitely patched), but it’s safe to assume they did not only patch the webkit vulnerability.
Basically, it wouldn’t be a stretch to assume that a similar scope of work (as what happened for HENkaku) would be required for a new Vita exploit to be released on newer firmwares. In other words, years.
With that being said, hackers now have access to more information about the Vita than Team molecule had. It is not a black box anymore, and with access to the system, I assume some groups are hard at work reverse-engineering the Firmware to find more vulnerabilities. But this is not the PSP days anymore, where the system had very limited protection. Here again, Yifan Lu and Xyz have made a point of showing how complex it is to fool the Vita securities.
However, hackers Hexkyz and St4rk have both claimed they have found Kernel exploits in the PS Vita. None of them has released anything though, although it’s pretty certain they did have to have access to such exploits in order to break the Henkaku Challenge.
How about a PS Vita 3.63 downgrader then?
A downgrader would basically imply that Sony’s private keys are leaked or that their security is completely taken down. According to everyone I’ve asked, this scenario is highly unlikely.
Alternatively, it would mean a Kernel exploit with the ability to patch the system in Ram, which wouldn’t really be a downgrade anymore, just another kernel exploit for Firmware 3.63. So a downgrader is probably even more unlikely to happen than a 3.63 Jailbreak.
People have contacted me, offering to donate money to fund a “bounty” for a PS Vita 3.63 downgrader or exploit. I’d like to remind everyone that we have attempted this in the past, with a total bounty of about $2000. This gave us Rejuvenate, from the very same person who gave us HENkaku, Yifanlu. Nobody else ever even tried to suggest something else: Rejuvenate was literally the only entry for that bounty, despite it running for months.
So I don’t think money is the issue here, unless, as I’ve told to the people who have suggested it, unless you have somewhere between $10’000 and $50’000 to give away. That kind of money might motivate the people with the right skills who weren’t thinking of doing it for free in the first place.
However, it’s been confirmed that hardware “downgrading” is possible by swapping your PS Vita’s 3.63 motherboard with a PS Vita 3.60 motherboard. These can be bought for about $40 on Aliexpress, however there is significant risk of permanently damaging your PS Vita if you attempt such a hardware replacement yourself. My advice is to chip in a bit more money and get yourself a full fledged 3.60 Vita, but see below for details.
What hacking options exist for Users on Vita 3.63?
The only software based option at this point on Vita firmware 3.63 is a PSP Custom Firmware. You can install popular Custom Firmware ARK on Vita 3.63 by following these steps. The same technique can be used to install tools such as VHBL (pictured above) although ARK is the most powerful ePSP tool at the moment.
Do not trust websites that claim to have HENkaku or a PS Vita Jailbreak for 3.63 today. These sites are usually scamming you into answering surveys or clicking ads for which they get paid. HENkaku is not available for 3.63, and if it ever becomes available for those, trusted scene sites such as wololo.net will be the first ones to talk about it.
PS Vita 3.63 hack: The conclusion
Bottom line, a 3.63 Vita native hack is unlikely to happen in the months to come, and for now your best option is ARK. So, if you have $100 to donate for the scene, instead get yourself a PS Vita running firmware 3.60.