Sony fixed a security exploit that turned the PS Portal into a PSP emulation machine


Facepalm: A team of Google engineers recently discovered an exploit that could have provided a welcome improvement in functionality for the PS Portal. Those very same engineers have now closed that door by promptly informing Sony about the bugs.

Sony recently released a new system update for the PlayStation Portal, the streaming gadget designed to play PS5 games over WiFi. Official notes for the 2.0.6 release of the PS Portal firmware only quote improvements for the device’s system software performance and stability, but an additional fundamental change has likely been left out of the release notes.

Andy Nguyen confirmed that the bugs he and his team of Google engineers discovered in February are fixed in the 2.0.6 firmware release. Nguyen’s team worked for a month to turn the bugs into an exploit that could make the PS Portal a much more useful device, adding the ability to natively run open-source PSP emulator PPSSPP.

The PlayStation Portable (PSP) handheld console was globally released by Sony in 2005, providing fans of the “Play” ecosystem with the most powerful mobile gaming experience available at the time. The console sold over 80 million units before being discontinued in 2014, leaving room for the much less successful PlayStation Vita platform.

The cross-platform PPSSPP emulator focuses on portability and speed, and it can run hundreds of PSP games in a “playable” state. The Android-based PS Portal device doesn’t include cutting-edge computing power, but it was powerful enough to make the aforementioned emulator do its magic to turn a streaming gadget into a proper “gaming” machine of its own.

After disclosing the PS Portal bugs to Sony, Nguyen is now being criticized for potentially permanently closing the door to device emulation. The researchers could have made the exploits public, offering the community a chance to tinker with the newly discovered software “toy.” The PSP has long been abandoned, so there should be no risks of a new emulation meltdown like what recently happened with Switch emulators Yuzu and Suyu.

Nguyen said that he “responsibly” reported the PS Portal issues to Sony. The researcher has “no idea” why he is being criticized on X/Twitter, as a public disclosure of the exploits would not have had real consequences for further community-fueled developments. Sony would have patched the bugs anyway, leaving the community with just a few weeks of research and exploration time.


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