Reversing Gateway Ultra First Stage (Part 2)

When we last left off, we looked at the ROP code that loaded a larger second-part of the payload. Now we will walk through what was loaded and how userland native code execution was achieved. I am still an amateur at 3DS hacking so I am sure to get some things wrong, so please post any corrections you have in the comments and I will update the post as needed.

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PS Vita 3.30 Filesystem Listing

To start off, two main facts: 1) this is NOT a hack or anything and 2) this post is completely useless for most people. We have had this information for a long time now and it wasn’t too hard to obtain but we chose to not publicize it because unlike certain other people, we didn’t feel the need to brag about a listing of files with no other information just for the sake of showing off. However, now there’s reports of people obtaining the facility to dump files from the Vita file system. I do not know the details of this alleged method, but seeing how at least one person could benefit from this, there could be others working in secret. Anyways, please don’t make this news.

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How to Disassemble Vita Game Cartridges

A hacker named katsu recently released a method for dumping Vita games. As a developer, I am completely against piracy, but as a reverse engineer I can’t shy away from taking apart perfectly working devices. However, most pictures I see of Vita game carts taken apart show the game cart casing damaged beyond repair or completely destroyed. I managed to take apart a game cart and put it together with no obvious signs of damage, and I thought I would share my (simple) method here.

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Dumping the Vita NAND

When we last left off, I had spent an excess of 100 hours (I’m not exaggerating since that entire time I was working, I listened to This American Life and went through over a hundred one-hour episodes) soldering and tinkering with the Vita logic board to try to dump the eMMC. I said I was going to buy a eMMC socket from taobao (the socket would have let me clamp a eMMC chip down while pins stick out, allowing the pressure to create a connection) however, I found out that all the sellers of the eMMC socket from taobao don’t ship to the USA and American retailers sell the sockets for $300 (cheapest I could find). So I took another approach.

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