Pentax Firmware Decrypting in the Web

A couple of years ago, I purchased my first DSLR: the Pentax K-30. Photography has been my hobby ever since, and I’m always looking for cool new things to push my camera further. The one thing that I really miss from my previous Canon point-and-shoot is unsurprisingly, the Canon Hack Development Kit (CHDK). Luckily, most of the features that make it so useful, such as RAW image capture, live histogram, and the intervalometer are already present in the K-30. I’m not missing out on much.

But I can’t resist the urge to fantasize over a programmable DSLR. So when Pentax Forums user Shodan announced he had started working on the Pentax Hack Development Kit (PHDK), I knew I had to be a part of it.

The first step to hacking the firmware is decrypting it. Svenpeter made a tool called pfwtool which does an excellent job of decrypting the firmware. However, I was curious as to seeing if that functionality could be done via HTML5. My favourite file host, MEGA uses JavaScript for on-the-fly decryption, so why couldn’t I? As it turns out, it was a lot easier than I thought it would be.

The web app is based off of svenpeter’s awesome code. I ported it all to JavaScript and built a simple GUI that let me leverage the new file API in HTML5 to decrypt the file and spit it back out without uploading it. That’s right – everything happens client side. It’s really nifty and if you’re interested in seeing how it works, feel free to examine the GitHub repository.

Follow these simple steps to give it a try:

  1. Download the Pentax K-30 firmware (v 1.05) from Ricoh-Imaging.
  2. Open the Pentax Firmware Decrypter in Google Chrome. Other browsers may have problems.
  3. Drag the firmware file named fwdc215b.bin into the web page.
  4. In a couple seconds, you will have a file appear in your downloads folder named decrypted-fwdc215b.bin.
  5. Verify that it has the md5 checksum of 0afe2524251009b97639316edfe1c410.

That’s it! Have fun with the PHDK