Did the Vita hacking scene shoot itself in the foot?
As described by The Z in his article yesterday, it appears Sony did not patch the 50 game saves that got recently leaked, instead they patched the firmware somehow. That was the simplest entry point to patch everything in one go, but it also means that the game exploits are still potentially useful. People are already investigating, for example, if these game exploits could be reused for a VHBL release on 3.30. Again, it seems the game exploits themselves might not have been patched, but reusing them might not be as easy as it seems, because what got patched seems to be deeper. The typical “H.BIN” file (used as a binary loader, as explained here) for example cannot be properly loaded anymore, according to some reports from several hackers.
Additionally, the leak last month included more kernel exploits, and at the time of this writing I am not sure if those also got patched. My gut feeling says no but I am waiting for confirmation of that. It means those exploits could also be reused on 3.30 to run TN-V again.
The PS1 exploits allowed to run TN-X, a tool to run PS1 isos on the Vita with perfect sound compatibility. These have been patched as well, it seems.
More importantly, the Package Installer trick from SKFU has been patched. The tool is apparently still here, but gets force-closed by the system if you try to run it (see TomTomdu80’s video showcasing it below). This one could be the biggest hit to the Vita scene in the long run.
SKFU was confident because he had found “other” ways to run the package Installer, but the Sony developers haven’t merely patched the email trick, they have blocked the package installer interface entirely. I’d wait for SKFU’s statement (or other people who knew about the original trick) on this, but this could really be the biggest hit to the scene that happened with 3.30. And yeah, you’ll notice this one was totally unrelated to the gigantic leak of PSP exploits, which in the long run might be less of a problem.
Finally, yes, there exists a native hack, that was mentioned by Acid_Snake here, but that is reportedly patched in 3.30.
What’s interesting with firmware 3.30 is that it’s not the massive “PSP exploit leak” drama that could be the most hurtful to the scene in the long term, but the two “native” experiments that are being patched in 3.30, and that were publicly announced outside of any leak. One because the devs knew Sony already had a patch in 3.30, the other because the dev assumed he’d have other ways to access the loophole.
I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw a VHBL release, or even a TN-V release, for 3.30. I’m more concerned about what will happen on the Native front. Hopefully Acid_Snake, or other people working secretly on native software or hardware hacks, will have good news to share in the near future.
So the following questions remain: will the native hack on 3.18 be useful to unlock further secrets on the Vita? Is there another (publicly unknown) way to run the package installer? Is anyone actively working on VHBL/TN-V ports for 3.30 at this moment, considering the massive hackers exodus from the PSP emulator that happened last month?
Until those get an answer, it’s probably best for people to stay on 3.18 if they want to keep enjoying TN-V