Scene designer Zecoxao added some information “CP Box” page on the PS5 Dev Wiki today, and reported that hackers were working on extracting some of its encryption keys. Little is known in the scene (publicly) about this PS5 Development accessory, presumably the official PlayStation development studios know more precisely what it does.
What is PS5 CP Box?
The CP Box is a black box with USB C input, USB C output, ethernet and power cable that connects to the Test Kits. His exact purpose is unknown in the scene, but there are theories.
CP Box can work in two modes, “Engineering Mode” and “Normal Mode”. In engineering mode, the CP Box is simply connected to power via a USB-C cable on the PS5. In normal mode, the CP Box USB-C Port connects to the USB-C Portable Hard Drive, the Ethernet connects to your router/network hub, and the USB-C Cable connects to the ps5. (source)
Images of the PS5 CP Box started appearing very early in the console’s life, with some images actually leaking before the console’s release. Unfortunately, as the Internet is, many original sources have been lost, but this article TwistedVoxel I have a copy of the pictures. They theorized at the time that it could be an SSD for the console.
Initial speculations also include a “Breakout Box for PS VR” and the current explanation of the scene is that this box can be used to enable Dev mode on PS5 Test Kits and/or verify account/hardware activation on Sony’s DevNet. . From the PS5 Dev wiki:
It is not known exactly what the CP Box is for at this time, but it is to enable development mode on test and development kits. maybe the ethernet connection is for checking online activation on DevNet? and USB Hard Drive maybe for Packages? or games?
Or maybe it has to do with the Communications Processor like the one on the PSVita, maybe just a foreign version of it? I dont know ;-;
The PS5 Dev Wiki notes that these CP Boxes may not be necessary for DevKits (testkits only) and perhaps functionality is included in Dev Kits.
The NCC page for the DevKit does not refer to the “CP Box” which appears to have been built instead
I personally like this educated guess from user Farncone Reddit:
Since the “test kit” is a normal PS5 as opposed to a V-shaped dev kit, and this little box has network indicators and an RJ-45 jack, this is probably to facilitate a network testing scenario, since it’s PSN for PS5 games. not yet active. Developers will have to test their online functionality in a closed test environment. Typically a network will have a PROD and DEV side and a development side for fully tested games from a production/commercial perspective. It looks like a box to enable network testing in a DEV environment – and it will allow them to do this with a real PS5 test model.
This follow-up by doktorlongghost on the same topic also makes sense to me:
One thing that comes to mind for this is that it can be used to slow down the Internet. I’m a web developer and all major browsers come with built-in development tools that allow you to deliberately slow down your Internet so you can test your code to see how it works on slower networks (eg 3G/4G mobile). So it could be for something like this. Allowing developers to intentionally slow down or disconnect the network connection to the console.
Test Automation site Suite.st says that they support PS5 Devkits and TestKits for automation testing of HTML-based apps (I think media apps like Netflix, Disney+, etc. might have some HTML-based pages?). On them Help page for PS5, they mention CP Box. So it might make sense that the box is here to test different network conditions through tuning mechanisms.
How suitable is CP Box for PS5 Hacking?
It is not clear if CP Box will be useful for PS5 Hacking. It’s likely that the PS5 firmware doesn’t trust any accessories connected to it, but it’s also possible that an official Sony component has a higher level of trust than other devices.
Either way, that won’t stop Reverse Engineers from at least trying to get as much information out of the box as possible. Zecoxao noted today that the hackers wanted to extract some keys from the device’s firmware. He said the keys will be posted on the PS5 Dev wiki once they are available.
CP Box firmware master search is currently underway. keys will be published on the wiki once successful
— Control_eXecute (@notzecoxao) January 28, 2023
Whatever comes out of this, stay tuned for more details!