Scene developer Zecoxao added information to the “CP Box” page on PS5 Dev Wiki today, and claimed that hackers are working to extract some of its encryption keys. Little is known (publicly) in the scene about this PS5 dev accessory, though it’s likely that the official PlayStation dev studios know more specifically what it does.
What is the PS5 CP Box?
The CP Box is a black box with a USB C input, USB C output, ethernet, and power cable, which connects to the test kits. Its exact purpose is unknown at the scene, but there are theories.
There are two modes the CP Box can run in “Engineering Mode” and “Normal Mode”. In engineering mode, the CP box simply plugs into power, using the USB-C cable on the PS5. In Normal mode, the CP Box’s USB-C port is connected to a USB-C portable hard drive, and the Ethernet is connected to your network router/hub, and the USB-C cable to the ps5. (font)
Images of the PS5 CP Box started appearing fairly early in the console’s lifecycle, with some images leaking before the console’s actual launch. Unfortunately, the internet being what it is, many of the original sources are gone, but this article on TwistedVoxel has a copy of the images. They theorized at the time that it could have been an SSD for the console.
Early guesses also included a “Breakout Box for PS VR”, and the current explanation for the scene is that this box could be used to enable Dev mod on PS5 Test Kits, and/or perhaps to check for account/hardware activation on Sony’s DevNet. From the PS5 dev wiki:
Although it is unknown at this time exactly what the CP Box is for, it is to enable development mode in test and development kits. possibly the ethernet connection is for checking online activation on DevNet? and the usb hard drive maybe for packets? or games?
Or maybe it’s related to the communication processor similar to the one in the PSVita, maybe it’s just an external version of it? I dont know ;-;
PS5 Dev Wiki mentions that these CP Boxes may not be required for DevKits (test kits only), and that perhaps the functionality is built into Dev Kits.
The NCC page for DevKit makes no reference to a “CP Box”, it seems to be built in instead.
I personally like this educated guess from Reddit user Farncone:
Since the “test kit” is a regular PS5 instead of that V-shaped dev kit, and that little box has network indicators and an RJ-45 jack, it’s probably to facilitate a network test scenario like what it’s the PSN for PS5 games. not yet enabled. Developers will need to test their features online in a closed test environment. Typically, the network would have a PROD and DEV side for fully tested production/commercial games, and a development side. This looks like a box to enable network testing in the DEV environment, and would allow them to do this with the actual PS5 test model.
And this follow up from doctorlongghost in the same thread makes sense to me too:
The only thing that comes to mind from this is that it could be used to speed up the internet. I’m a web developer and all major browsers come with built-in developer tools that allow you to intentionally slow down your internet so you can test your code and see how it works on slower networks (like 3G/4G cellular). So this could be for something like that. Allow developers to intentionally slow down or cut off the network connection to the console.
Test automation site Suite.st says it supports PS5 Devkits and TestKits, for HTML-based app automation testing (I’m thinking maybe media apps like Netflix, Disney+ and others could have some HTML-based pages). HTML). On their support page for PS5, they mention the CP Box. So it might make sense that the box is here to test various network conditions through throttling mechanisms.
How important is the CP box to hack PS5?
It is not clear if CP Box could be useful for hacking PS5. It’s highly likely that the PS5’s firmware doesn’t inherently trust any accessory attached to it, but it’s also possible that an official Sony component has a higher level of trust than other devices.
Either way, it won’t stop reverse engineers from trying to at least squeeze as much information out of the box as possible. Zecoxao has mentioned today that hackers are looking to extract some firmware keys from the device. He said that the keys will be posted on the PS5 Dev wiki once they are available.
CP box firmware key recovery is currently in progress. once successful, the keys will be posted on wiki
— Control_eXecute (@notzecoxao) January 28, 2023
Whatever comes out of this, stay tuned for more details!