Sony Is Still Trying To Stop People From Hacking The Vita, For Some Reason

Sony Is Still Trying To Stop People From Hacking The Vita, For Some Reason
Image: Sony, PlayStation Blog

Less than a day after a new exploit for jailbreaking the Vita was discovered, Sony has already released a new firmware update to safeguard its sunsetting handheld.

“Surprise! h-encore² released for PS Vita firmware 3.71,” Andy Nguyen, a Vita hacker behind the recent Trinity Exploit for jailbreaking the most up-to-date versions of the handheld, announced on Tuesday. Unlike the Trinity Exploit, which required using a PSP game to hack the Vita, h-encore² is a native hack, meaning it can be done directly on the system. And while some hacks on work on Vitas running older software, h-encore² was designed to work on any firmware version between 3.65 and 3.71, the most recent one.

As if on cue, Sony announced firmware update 3.72 today.

“Welp, Sony doesn’t want to see us having fun,” Nguyen posted on Twitter today. “They just released FW 3.72 which blacklisted the userland exploit.” Like the previous two firmware updates, 3.72 doesn’t do anything more specific than “improves system performance.”

Back when the original Trinity Exploit was revealed by Nguyen in early May, Sony didn’t get around to patching it out until mid-July with firmware 3.71. Given how fast Sony responded this time, it’s possible the company was already aware of the vulnerability of which h-encore² takes advantage.

Sony did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

While hacking the Vita can be used to pirate games, it can also be used for benign things like emulating old games, running third-party programs, overclocking, and even backing up save data without needing to rely on Sony’s extremely overpriced, proprietary Vita memory cards.

And for all intents and purposes, Vita has also been unofficially retired, leaving some people in the homebrew community scratching their heads about why Sony has seemingly redoubled its efforts to safeguard it.

The Vita no longer gets new monthly PlayStation Plus games, and production of new game cartridges ended earlier this year. “I need a movie about the 4 guys at Sony who still have to work on the Vita in friggin 2019,” wrote one person on Twitter.

But Nguyen isn’t giving up either. The hacker recently put out a tutorial for finding new exploits and has invited people to join him in discovering a way to break firmware 3.72 as well.


  • The interesting thing is that it doesnt actually remove the exploit, just blacklisted the game doing it. Once someone finds another game, exploit works again.

  • The biggest reason for using an exploit is the SD card adapter. Not only are Sony cards expensive, they’re increasingly rare. And considering the cost of any physical Vita media, digital copies really are the most convenient and cheapest way to go

    • Yep. Somewhat embarresingly, I have both a Slim with a SD card, and a Vita 3G I replaced the 3G with and has two SD cards.

      They are pretty great for portable emulation, especially if you like PSX.

    • The PSP’s last update was a good 4 years after the PSP was discontinued. I daresay we’ll continue to play whackamole sadly.

  • I have never tried the exploits as I use the remote play function but it’s frustrating the only Vita updates target this. They could at least remove the region lock on them i can log into other region PSN’s like the PS4. Unfortunately some of the games i really want to play on it like Breath Of Fire IV & Parasite Eve 1 are only in the USA store..

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