Recently, several people have been complaining about getting their PS Vita banned by Sony, allegedly after using a hacked 3.60 PS Vita (running HENkaku) to access some of Sony’s services, including the PSN. Unsurprisingly, such reports started showing up after Team Molecule released an update that restored PSN access to hacked PS Vitas.
To my knowledge, there hasn’t been any verifiable report of account or hardware ban from the PSN for people using HENkaku. However, there has been quite a few people confirming their IP had been banned.
PS Vita IB Banned, workaround and fix
Which type of ban you are subject to is fairly easy to verify: if you cannot login from your home, but the same account and console can login from a different network (e.g. a friend’s), then the problem is with your IP, not your account. If, however, you can’t login with that account, from any network, then it might be your account, or your console, that got banned (you can further verify by trying the same account on a friend’s console to differentiate between a console ban and an account ban, although I’d advise against risking a friend’s console for that kind of test… you don’t want Sony to affiliate your friend’s console with your banned account).
Despite what some people claim, IP bans from Sony are a real thing, but are generally temporary (1 day or 2). Unlike console or account bans which are probably extremely targeted and proactive, it is likely that IP bans are just a regular protection on Sony’s servers to reduce risks of DoS. In other words, it doesn’t directly matter if your console is hacked or not: if you hammer Sony’s servers for one reason or another, there’s a risk they will temporarily ban your IP. It is, in general, not a big deal, and the easiest way to solve the issue is to either reboot your router (which for many of you will give you a new IP address), or wait a couple days before accessing Sony’s systems again. Alternatively, you can try to use a VPN.
Clean up you PS Vita to avoid future Bans
The real problem, of course, is to stop this from happening again. To do that, you’ll have to identify what behavior on your end is causing your home network to access Sony’s servers too often. User nota16er on Reddit came up with a potential culprit: the Vita app Near. According to nota16er, the Near application pings Sony’s servers up to 16 times per second, making it very likely that the servers will block your IP after a while.
Nota16er further explains:
You can easily turn these off by opening Near, clicking the settings icon in the bottom left, going to “Sharing Settings” and disabling Near’s automatic location updates., as well as going into “Location Data” and disabling “Obtain location automatically at regular intervals”. You might also want to limit the frequency you manually update your location as well if you do use this program. Because, like I learned in my experiments, every time you update your location it contacts Sony’s servers way more than it should. I’ve no idea exactly why it does this, but I’m fairly certain it has to do with not having the most recent firmware.
I think he nails it in the last sentence: it’s likely that not running the latest firmware (while pretending to) causes some sort of glitch in the interaction between Near and Sony’s servers, which could trigger an infinite loop of pings to the servers.
Near might not be the only app on a hacked PS Vita that’s behaving strangely and could cause a ban. Nota16er also suggested the following, which makes sense:
you can check your auto-start settings under System and disable all that’s listed there. There’s a Near option listed there as well as something. You can also check PlayStation Network, under settings, and disable anything under Automatic Update Settings.
If you’ve been the target of some IP ban from Sony’s systems, we’d love your feedback on this.