Sunday, July 30, 2006

PSP: PSP Hacking via the GTA Exploit and eLoader 0.97

I often hear the terms “vulnerability” and “exploit”, and I automatically assume the worse. I suppose I have been paying too much attention to the security world too long. But, there are times where “exploiting vulnerabilities” is not a bad thing, and actual positive end results can result. This is the with the PSP home brew software scene.

You see, I scored a PSP in a contest I had entered. I was aware that a lot of cool things that can be done with the PSP, and now I finally had a chance to give them a try. The first thing that I needed, was the find out which version of the PSP firmware I was running. Since I last checked, which was a year, maybe two years ago, the only version that could be taken advantage of was the 1.0 firmware. I was running the 2.6 firmware, as indicated by the System Information menu under the PSP system menu, accessible by either starting the PSP without a game in the loader, or by hitting the Home button while a game is running. After a little bit of research, I found out there is a vulnerability in the Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories game that allows for the loading of what is called an eBoot loader. So I needed an eBoot loader.

The eBoot loader (now called an eLoader) that I came across is called the eLoader 0.97, available here.
The instructions for loading this are included with the download files. It basically consists of just unextracting the files to the memory stick, done by connecting the PSP to a PC via the USB cable. Once completed, I needed the exploit for GTA. I have read that newer version of GTA have fixed the security hole, however I fortunately had a vulnerable version. The exploit is basically a special saved game that will start the eLoader when the save game is loaded. The exploit is included with the eLoader 0.97 download. Basically just extract the archive to the memory stick and your good to go. When you launch GTA, just load the saved game, and the eLoader will execute. Now you need some home brew apps. I recommend getting the SNES, NES, and Genesis Emulators. I did not have good success with the Game Boy Advance emulator. Perhaps people who downgrade their firmware have better luck, but there is a slight chance of bricking the PSP, so I won't take it. However, I hear there is high success.

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