PSVita: This is what’s inside the cobra blackfin
The cobra blackfin is back from the dead. This p2p Vita game sharing device implicitly promises to be Vita pirates’ wet dream, allowing people to share games with their “friends” worldwide. The Cobra team, behind the dongle, recently updated their website to announce that resellers started receiving the device. As a matter of fact, several end users have already received theirs: venerable Japanese hacking site emuonpsp.net, which as far as I can remember has been online pretty much forever, has managed to get their hands on a Cobra blackfin. According to them, they got it from a typical retailer (Myself and a few other high profile scene sites are still waiting for our sample items to review).
Emuonpsp used the opportunity to share a few screenshots of the inside of the cobra blackfin (see below). The screenshots reveal what kind of hardware architecture is powering the piracy dongle.
Unsurprisingly, quite a number of people on the scene are expecting to get their hands on the device in order to reverse engineer it. Although such a thing is pretty typical (the scene is always keen on reverse engineering the likes of TrueBlue, Gateway, etc…), in the case of the BlackFin I’m wondering if there’s even an incentive to do so. The concept sounds pretty “simple” and non-magical to me: the device uses actual, legit games at the authentication step, getting just enough data for the PS Vita to then accept to run the iso. I’m of course over simplifying things here, but the rest is mostly glue for all the software components to work together.
Nevertheless, I wouldn’t be surprised if the software running on the cobra blackfin is heavily protected with DRMs to delay knockoffs.
The value of the blackfin will mostly lie in its network of servers hosting the games, which might or might not be enough to gather interest from gamers and pirates.
The screenshots from emuonpsp show that the blackfin uses an Actel A3P250-VQG100 (FPGA) as its main CPU and an FTDI FT2232HL for USB communication. Emuonpsp note that another slot is available for a microcontroller, but that one appears empty on the screenshots.