Security was a major issue for Sony when they designed the PS Vita. Anyone who’s familiar with the PSP likely knows that the console is one of the easiest consumer gadgets to crack out there: It was (and is) very easy to pirate PSP games, and that’s something Sony does not intend to allow on the Vita. Despite Sony’s best efforts, however, no device is “unhackable”: Self-proclaimed reverse engineer Yifan Lu says he’s found an exploit in the system that will eventually allow custom software to run on the device. While many gaming pirates are hopeful that the breakthrough will lead to hackers eventually jailbreaking the PS Vita, Lu says that his work doesn’t allow people to pirate games, and he has no intention of helping them figure out how to do so.
Lu, who has a history of figuring out how to jailbreak well-known gadgets, including the Kindle Touch and Sony’s PSXperia phone, posted in a Wololo message board that he may have found a way to install loading software that would allow the Vita to play custom software like homebrew apps, indie games and… pirated software. The posting led to speculative reports that the Vita had been “cracked” the same way engineers had jailbroken phones and gadgets and that the Vita piracy party would get into full swing soon.
Lu, speaking with Giant Bomb, was quick to clarify that the exploit he found will not directly lead to piracy on the Vita. In reality, Lu figured out how to dump the Vita’s RAM, allowing him and a few others he’s working with to analyze the Vita’s code in the hopes of figuring out how install software of their own.
Furthermore, despite having a proven track record “reverse engineering” gadgets, Lu claims that he’s “very anti-piracy” and would never create a hack designed to help people steal from developers. That said, Lu also recognizes that his work could potentially help pirates if another cracker used his work as the base for a different type of hack.
“We can’t stop it, but I can promise that I will never help it,” Lu said. “I made this metaphor before, but it’s like the invention of airplanes. They’re good for transportation, but somebody decided it can be used to drop bombs. But to prevent bombing cities, would it have been better if airplanes were never invented?”
For now, Lu hasn’t even gone so far as to show his work to the homebrew community. As he’s said, his achievement is only one step toward opening up the Vita to independent development. He says that, should Sony step in and legally request that he stop his work on the Vita, he would do so.
(via Giant Bomb)
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