I missed a couple of important announcements that were done around New year’s eve, so here’s a quick summary.
Team molecule to leave the scene, Yifan Lu will focus on researching Vita’s level 0
First of all, YifanLu wrote a lengthy blog post about the state of Vita hacking, and what he and the rest of team molecule intend to do moving forward. Chosen extracts:
Back in November, I said that I (and I am assuming the rest of molecule but I do not speak for them) would retire from the scene after taiHENkaku was stable enough and that time has finally come. Aside from a parting gift from Davee that should be released in a couple of days we will be retiring from all non-research tasks.
There are four distinct security levels on the Vita. Userland, kernel (lv2), TrustZone (lv1), and F00D (lv0). We have hacked the first three levels, but owning F00D is particularly challenging.
Attacking F00D will be my only focus in Vita hacking at this point and I welcome anyone who wants to help me in this journey.
So, team molecule is kind of moving on from the Vita scene. This shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone as Yifanlu announced that a while ago. They leave behind a set of high quality tools with the accompanying documentation, and a forum for people who want to ask questions or help with VitaSDK.
Also, Davee was supposed to release a “surprise” last week, but these damn hackers are so lazy they can’t keep a schedule. Plus, he said we’d be underwhelmed. I’m still excited to see what it’s about.
Last but not least, Yifanlu remains focused to some extent on the PS Vita, with a goal of hacking the level 0 of the device. He has not given any details of what additional benefit this could give The Vita scene. Access to the equivalent “lvl 0” on the PS3 gave us access to signing keys and a theoretical guarantee that firmware updates would not patch the hack. This did not prevent Sony from mitigating the issue with firmware updates though.
Hacker Hexkyz to release a few HENkaku tools + writeup on Vita TrustZone exploit
Still on the Vita front, hacker Hexkyz (mostly known around here for being one of the 2 hackers who reverse engineered HENkaku) stated on his blog he would release a few tools for HENkaku as well as a dive deep on a vulnerability in Vita’s implementation of TrustZone. Don’t get too excited though, as he explained that bug was patched a while ago:
As for the Vita, I have a bunch of tools I’ll be releasing as necessary and tons of documentation that I’ll be pushing to the HENkaku wiki. I have also recently managed to break TrustZone, but, unfortunately, the bug I’ve exploited was patched long ago. I suspect I stumbled upon the same bug Team molecule may have used in the past, but I plan on doing a proper write-up later on if they agree.
It’s sad to see team molecule go, but as I’ve stated a few times before, a console scene is not made of a single superhero. There are lots of hackers out there, some of whom don’t even know that they are hackers yet.