A Closer Look At The lv0ldr/bootldr Exploit By naehrwert

by ps3iso on November 21, 2012

PS3 dev naehrwert has reversed some parts of lv0 to understand how the lv0ldr/bootldr/howeveryouliketocallit exploit is working. Read the quote below for more information.


As the exploit that was used to dump lv0ldr/bootldr/howeveryouliketocallit is public now, let’s have a closer look at it to understand what’s going on. Here is what I have reversed from lv0 (it shares the syscon portion of the code with its SPU counterpart):

//In .data section.
static u8 tmp_pkt[0x800];

//Get size from sc packet.
#define GET_SIZE(pkt) ((pkt[4] << 8 ) | pkt[5])

int read_cmpl_msg(/*...*/, u8 *payload_buf /*r5*/, int min_size /*r6*/, /*...*/)

    u16 pkt_size;

    //Get packet header.
    memcpy_aligned_64(tmp_pkt, MMIO_SC_PKT, 0x10);

    //Check packet size.
    pkt_size = GET_SIZE(tmp_pkt);
    if(pkt_size - 4 < min_size 

The syscon library implements some high level functions, e.g. to shutdown the console on panic or to read certain configuration values. Every of this functions internally uses another function to exchange packets with syscon and the exchange function uses the read_cmpl_msg one to get the answer packet. The top-level function will pass a fixed size buffer to the exchange function. So if we are able to control syscon packets, e.g. by emulating MMIO (and thanks to IBM we are), we can change the packet size between the two packet readings and overwrite the caller stack. And if we first copy a little stub to shared LS and let the return address point to it, we can easily dump the whole 256 kB.

Nothing more left to say now, let’s wait and see if this is going to be fixed in future firmware versions (we just have to check lv0 fortunately).

Source: http://nwert.wordpress.com/2012/11/20/the-exploit/

Thanks to jesdaking for the news tip!

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