Yifan Lu dumps the Vita NAND, confirms it’s encrypted

January 12, 2014

I’ve mentioned a few weeks ago Yifan Lu’s ongoing experiment/attempt at looking at the vita’s hardware. Yifan’s been busy over the Christmas period, looking at the bowels of our favorite portable console. Earlier today he announced he was able to dump the Vita’s NAND.

Now before everyone gets excited for no good reason, all this really gives us today is confirmation that the vita onboard memory is encrypted. This in itself is interesting though, as this confirms Sony didn’t mess up their security on that point, and attempting to hack the Vita by modifying the NAND directly is not a possibility.

Yifan also shared a bunch of cool pictures and explanations on how he achieved the dump, something that I think is extremely valuable for all of us, especially those interested to know how hardware hacking works. As I’ve stated many times now, I believe Vita hacking will not come without massive help from hardware hackers.

vita_nand_dump_zoom

Some of Yifan Lu’s interesting findings are that the eMMC NAND is about 3.78GB, with about 800MB used by the (encrypted) system, and the remaining 3GB or so potentially empty for now.

This experiment gave Yifan Lu new cool hardware skills that he’ll use to look at more stuff in the Vita’s internals. He also details the hardware cost of this experiment, something you’ll find interesting if you want to do something similar one day :)

Oh, and this goes without saying, but yifan Lu will not publicly disclose the dumped material. Not that it would be useful anyway, given that it’s encrypted.

This might sound like a disappointment, but to me, the fact that one guy went from no hardware knowledge to being able to dump the NAND of the Vita in a matter of weeks is extremely exciting. Again, more important than the result is how he achieved it, a process that he details on his blog. I wish I had the time to do the same :)

vita_nand_dump

Source: Yifan’s blog

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