Debug units also ship with a security feature.
At this year Gamescom, a couple of users at Wololo.net found that the Vita they tried had a 1.69.1 Debug firmware, and shared some interesting details about it.
Wololo.net users and friends 'The Z' and 'npt' went to this year Gamescom event, and found that the PS Vita's they tried had a 1.69.1 Debug firmware.
Here are a few details about it:
Sadly, there are bad news. Apparently, those "test" units also come with a 'security feature', most likely inspired by the recent CEX to DEX 'madness' on the PS3.The Debug firmware is clearly aimed at developers who work on the Vita, and offers features to efficiently test games and apps. According to the video, these features include a Package Installer (this apparently needs to run through CMA in order to copy packages), which, as the name implies, allows to install (unsigned?) packages. The firmware also apparently offers a way to download content to the console without having to go through CMA, a feature that, honestly, even retail units should be offering.
The debug firmware also lets you choose which server to download Updates from, an option to fake a 3g network from wifi (to test 3g functionality), a possibility to fake lots of parameters (such as free disk space, etc…), options to change key bindings (in particular X and O can apparently be exchanged), a feature to change your region settings, and, did I spot a way to switch user accounts easily?
Another interesting feature of the debug firmware is the possibility to investigate the Ram in case of a crash, with the possibility to retrieve core dumps. This is clearly aimed at game developers, but it something I’m sure lots of hackers would like to see too
So, well played this time, Sony?For people who are eager to actually “test” this, it is interesting to note that the Vita debug firmware seems to ship with an interesting security feature: It requires to be activated with a new key every 90 days. This is probably to mitigate the impact of a potential leak of such a firmware, as Sony most likely don’t want to see a new “convert your console into a debug unit and play games for free” situation anytime soon! It is assumed that if you fail to re-activate the console within 90 days, it will refuse to boot or to run anything.
Don't forget to watch the video demonstration below!
NEWS SOURCE #1: PS Vita debug firmware spotted at Gamescom (via) Wololo's Blog
NEWS SOURCE #2: PS Vita debug firmware found Gamescom (via) DashHacks
Our thanks to 'Gauss' for this news item!