AES Registers

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Old3DS Name Address Width RW
Yes AES_CNT 0x10009000 4 RW
Yes AES_BLKCNT 0x10009004 4 W
Yes AES_WRFIFO 0x10009008 4 W
Yes AES_RDFIFO 0x1000900C 4 R
Yes AES_KEYSEL 0x10009010 1 RW
Yes AES_KEYCNT 0x10009011 1 RW
Yes AES_CTR 0x10009020 16 W
Yes AES_MAC 0x10009030 16 W
Yes AES_KEY0 0x10009040 48 W
Yes AES_KEY1 0x10009070 48 W
Yes AES_KEY2 0x100090A0 48 W
Yes AES_KEY3 0x100090D0 48 W
Yes AES_KEYFIFO 0x10009100 4 W
Yes AES_KEYXFIFO 0x10009104 4 W
Yes AES_KEYYFIFO 0x10009108 4 W


Bit Description
4-0 Write FIFO count (0-16)
9-5 Read FIFO count (0-16)
10 Flush write FIFO (1=Clear write FIFO)
11 Flush read fifo (1=Clear read FIFO)
12-13 Write FIFO DMA size (0=16, 1=12, 2=8, 3=4 words)
14-15 Read FIFO DMA size (0=4, 1=8, 2=12, 3=16 words)
18-16 MAC size (encoding = (maclen-2)/2)
19 ? (MAC related)
20 MAC input control (0 = read MAC from FIFO, 1 = read from MAC register)
21 MAC status (0 = invalid, 1 = verified)
22 Output endianness (1=Big endian, 0=Little endian)
23 Input endianness (1=Big endian, 0=Little endian)
24 Output word order (1=Normal order, 0=Reversed order)
25 Input word order (1=Normal order, 0=Reversed order)
26 Update keyslot (selects the keyslot specified by AES_KEYSEL when this bit is set)
29-27 Mode (0=CCM decrypt, 1=CCM encrypt, 2=CTR, 3=CTR, 4=CBC decrypt, 5=CBC encrypt, 6=ECB decrypt, 7=ECB encrypt)
30 Interrupt enable (1=enable, 0=disable)
31 Start (1=enable/busy, 0=idle)

When bit31 is set, this register essentially becomes locked and doesn't change when written to. However if bit26 is "set", keyslot-selection is cued to be handled when bit31 is cleared.

Clearing bit31 while the AES engine is doing crypto will result in the AES engine stopping crypto, once it finishes processing the current block.

Read/Write FIFO counts and the MAC status can never be set by writing to AES_CNT, they are read-only.

Changing the input word order triggers the key/keyX/keyY FIFOs to be flushed.


Bit Description
31-16 (Data length)>>4 (i.e. the number of blocks to process)


The AES engine can accept up to 64 bytes of input data (16 32-bit words) and can hold up to 64 bytes of output data at a time (for a total of 128 bytes of buffered data). Bits 12-13 and 14-15 in AES_CNT configure the DMA request for the relevant FIFO (see above).

The input data for the AES crypto operation is written to AES_WRFIFO, the output data is read from AES_RDFIFO.

Reading from AES_RDFIFO when there's no data available in the RDFIFO will result in reading the last word that was in the RDFIFO.

When triggering either RDFIFO or WRFIFO to be flushed, the AES Engine does not clear either buffer.

Word order and endianness can be changed between each read/write to these FIFOs. However changing the word order when writing to WRFIFO can cause the word to be written outside the current block, leaving uninitialized data in its place. Attempts to change endianness or word order are not honored when reading from RDFIFO when no more data is available.


Bit Description
5-0 Keyslot
6 Hardware key-generator type: 0 = 3DS, 1 = DSi.
7 This normally has value 1 written here when updating keys. 0 = disable key FIFO flush, 1 = enable key FIFO flush.

Bit6 is only used when keyslots >=4 are used, value1 has the same affect as doing key-init with the TWL keyslots. Bit6 is only checked when a keyY was completely written, for when the final-normalkey needs updated via the key-generator. Changing bit6 has no affect on the generated normalkey when writing to this bit immediately after writing the last keyY word.


This register specifies the counter (CTR mode), nonce (CCM mode) or the initialization vector (CBC mode) depending on the mode of operation. For CBC and CTR mode this register takes up the full 16 bytes, but for CCM mode the nonce is only the first 12 bytes. The AES engine will automatically increment the counter up to the maximum BLKCNT, after which point it must be manually incremented and set again.


This register specifies the message authentication code (MAC) for use in CCM mode.


These registers are the same as they were on TWL, and are likely preserved for compatibility reasons. The keyslot is updated immediately after *any* data(u8/u32/...) is written here, which was used on DSi to break the key-generator.

Endianness and word order

When writing to the AES_CTR, AES_MAC or AES_KEY0/1/2/3 register, the hardware will process the written data according to the current input endianness specified in AES_CNT. However, the current specified input word order will not be honored for this register, and always defaults to reversed word order. Therefore, for normal word order, the reversal must be carried out manually if required.

CCM mode pitfall

Non-standard AES-CCM behaviour is observed on Wrap/Unwrap function. According to RFC 3610, the first block B_0 for authentication should be generated from the message length and some other parameters. Using these function, it seems that the message length is aligned up to 16 when generating B_0. This makes the generated MAC not compliant with the standard when (inputsize-noncesize)%16!=0. It is very likely that this non-standard behaviour happens on the hardware level, but not confirmed yet.

Keyslot ranges

This is approximately a table of what is set by bootrom before booting into FIRM. Often it appears that keyslots in groups of 4 have the same keyX, and sometimes also same keyY set.

Byte Description
0-15 Normalkey
16-31 KeyX
32-47 KeyY
Keyslot Name KeyX KeyY/Normal-key Console unique.
0x00-0x03 TWL keys. Probably unset. Probably unset. -
0x04-0x07 NAND partition keys. Same for all. Different for all. Yes
0x08-0x0B See below. Same for all. Different for all. Yes
0x0C-0x0F SSL cert key. Same for all. Same for all. No
0x10-0x17 - Not set. Not set. -
0x18-0x1B Never used. Same for all. Same for all. Yes
0x1C-0x1F Never used. Same for all. Same for all. Yes
0x20-0x23 Never used. Same for all. Same for all. Normalkey is not. keyX is. keyY unknown.
0x24 Never used. Individually set. Individually set. Normalkey is not. keyX is. keyY unknown.
0x25-0x27 - Not set. Not set. -
0x28-0x2B Never used. Individually set. Individually set. Normalkey is not. keyX is. keyY unknown.
0x2C-0x2F Various uniques. Same for all. Same for all, probably. No
0x30-0x33 Various uniques. Same for all. Same for all, probably. No
0x34-0x37 Various uniques. Same for all. Same for all, probably. No
0x38-0x3B Various uniques. Same for all. Different for all. No
0x3C-0x3F Various uniques. Individually set. Individually set. No

Keyslot pairs (0x24, 0x28) and (0x38, 0x3C) shares the same normal-key, while at the same time having different keyX's. This suggests they were set to same normal-key by bootrom.


There are 0x40 keyslots, each of which stores three keys called keyX, keyY and normalkey. All keys can be set explicitly, but the normalkey can optionally be generated using a hardware key generator instead (see below). There is no way to read the contents of a keyslot.

Keyslot Description KeyX set by KeyY set by Normal-key Old3DS
0x00-0x03 TWL keys. NATIVE_FIRM hard-boot. NATIVE_FIRM hard-boot. - Yes
0x04..0x07 NAND partition keys.

Keyslot is determined by NCSD partition FS type and encryption type. The New3DS Process9 sets the keyY for keyslot 0x05 (New3DS CTRNAND) to a key from .(ro)data. Its keyX is console-unique and set by the bootloader.

Bootrom. Bootrom. - Yes
0x0A DSiWare export key.

Used for encrypting the all-zero 0x10-byte block in the DSiWare_Exports header. Console-unique.

See above keyslot info. See above keyslot info. - Yes
0x0B This is console-unique. This keyslot is used for the NAND dbs images AES-CMACs, and the Nand/private/movable.sed AES-CMAC(when used). See above keyslot info. See above keyslot info. - Yes
0x0D SSL-certificate key.

See EncryptDecryptAes.

- - Bootrom. Yes
0x11 Temporary keyslot.

Used by FIRM for general normal-key crypto. Also used by the New3DS FIRM arm9 binary loader.

Arm9Loader. Arm9Loader. NATIVE_FIRM. Yes
0x14 Starting with 5.0.0-11, NATIVE_FIRM Process9 now sets the keyY for this to the same one it uses for initializing 3 of the keyslots' keyYs from here. Bootrom. NATIVE_FIRM boot. - Yes
0x15 Used/initialized by the New3DS arm9 binary loader, see here. Arm9Loader. Arm9Loader. See previous info for this keyslot. No
0x16 Used/initialized by the New3DS arm9 binary loader starting with 9.5.0-X, see here. Arm9Loader. Arm9Loader. See previous info for this keyslot. No
0x18..0x1F These are the New3DS keyslots, where the keyX is generated with keyslot 0x11 by the New3DS arm9 binary loader. As of FIRM 9.6.0-X keyslots 0x1C..0x1F are not yet used by Process9. Arm9Loader. NATIVE_FIRM / see previous info for these keyslots. See previous info for these keyslots. No
0x18 New3DS 9.3.0-X NCCH key, when ncchflag[3] is 0x0A. Arm9Loader. NATIVE_FIRM - No
0x19 New3DS gamecard savedata AES-CMAC key.

Equivalent of keyslot 0x33, used when a NCSD flag is set to a certain value (implemented with 9.3.0-X).

Arm9Loader. NATIVE_FIRM - No
0x1A New3DS gamecard savedata actual key.

Equivalent of keyslot 0x37, used when a NCSD flag is set to a certain value (implemented with 9.3.0-X).

Arm9Loader. NATIVE_FIRM - No
0x1B New3DS 9.6.0-X NCCH key, when ncchflag[3] is 0x0B. Arm9Loader. NATIVE_FIRM - No
0x24 AGB_FIRM savegame AES-CMAC key. Bootrom. AGB/NATIVE_FIRM. - Yes
0x25 v7.0 NCCH key, when ncchflag[3] is 0x01. NATIVE_FIRM boot. NATIVE_FIRM. - Yes
0x2C Original NCCH key, when ncchflag[3] is 0x00 and always for certain NCCH sections. Bootrom. Process9. - Yes
0x2D UDS local-WLAN CCMP key.

See EncryptDecryptAes.

Bootrom. Bootrom. - Yes
0x2E Streetpass key.

See EncryptDecryptAes.

Bootrom. NATIVE_FIRM. - Yes
0x2F v6.0 save key. Bootrom. NATIVE_FIRM. - Yes
0x30 SD/NAND AES-CMAC key.

This keyY is initialized via movable.sed. This is used for calculating the AES-CMACs under SD /Nintendo 3DS/<ID0>/<ID1>/ (except DSiWare_Exports) and NAND /data/.

Bootrom. NATIVE_FIRM. - Yes
0x31 APT wrap key.

See EncryptDecryptAes. NATIVE_FIRM sets this keyY to the same one used for keyslot 0x2E.

Bootrom. NATIVE_FIRM. - Yes
0x32 Unknown.

See EncryptDecryptAes.

Bootrom. Bootrom. - Yes
0x33 Gamecard savedata AES-CMAC. Bootrom. NATIVE_FIRM. - Yes
0x34 SD key.

This keyY is initialized via movable.sed. This is used for encrypting *all* SD card data under /Nintendo 3DS/<ID0>/<ID1>/.

Bootrom. NATIVE_FIRM. - Yes
0x35 Movable.sed key.

This is the keyslot used for movable.sed encryption + AES-CBC MAC with the import/export commands.

Bootrom. Bootrom. - Yes
0x36 Unknown. Used by friends module.

See EncryptDecryptAes.

Bootrom. Bootrom. - Yes
0x37 Gamecard savedata actual key. Bootrom. NATIVE_FIRM. - Yes
0x38 BOSS key.

See EncryptDecryptAes.

Bootrom. Bootrom. - Yes
0x39 Download Play key, and the actual NFC key for generating retail Amiibo keys.

This keyslot is used for two different keys. Both are available via EncryptDecryptAes. NATIVE_FIRM sets this keyY to the same one used for keyslot 0x2E.

Bootrom. NATIVE_FIRM. - Yes
0x3A DSiWare export key.

This keyY is initialized via movable.sed. This is used for calculating the AES-CMACs for SD DSiWare_Exports.

Bootrom. NATIVE_FIRM. - Yes
0x3B CTR-CARD hardware-crypto seed decryption key.

AES-CCM is used, the keyY, nonce and MAC are stored in the Card Info Header.

Bootrom. NATIVE_FIRM. - Yes
0x3D Common key.

Used to decrypt title keys in Ticket.

Bootrom. NATIVE_FIRM. - Yes
0x3F Used for various internal Boot9 crypto operations, different keydata for each one. Used to decrypt the OTP, the FIRM sections when booting from non-NAND, and when generating the console-unique keys.

The keydata for this keyslot is overwritten with other keydata before booting FIRM. This keyslot is not known to be used post-Boot9.

Bootrom. Bootrom. Bootrom. Yes

Updating keydata

The contents of the keyslot specified in AES_KEYCNT can be updated by consecutively writing four words to AES_KEYXFIFO (keyX), AES_KEYYFIFO(keyY), or AES_KEYFIFO (normalkey).

After writing to a keyslot, the keyslot must be selected again(write AES_KEYSEL + set AES_CNT bit26), even when writing to the same keyslot. Writing the last word to a key FIFO immediately after selecting a keyslot will not affect the keyslot keydata that gets used at that time, the new keydata will not get used until the keyslot gets selected again.

Writing to the key FIFOs with byte writes results in the AES engine converting the byte to a word for setting the key word, with this: word = (byteval) | (byteval<<8) | (byteval<<16) | (byteval<<24). The result is the same regardless of which FIFO register byte was written to.

The TWL keyslots 0x00-0x03 can be set directly by writing to the AES_KEY0-AES_KEY3 registers.

The key FIFOs can be written simultaneously. For example, executing the following will result in the keyX and keyY being set to all-zero(unknown for normalkey): memset(0x10009100, 0, 0x100);

Each key FIFO has a 0x10-byte tmp-buffer for storing the words written to that FIFO. Once the last word is written to a key FIFO, the filled tmp-buffer is then written to the key-data for the keyslot selected by AES_KEYCNT at the time the last word was written.

Hardware key generator

A dedicated hardware key generator can be used to generate a keyslot's normal-key from its keyX and keyY. The hardware key generator is triggered by writing the keyY, which is the only way to trigger it with the 3DS keyslots.

The algorithm for generating the normal-key from keyX and keyY is as follows, in big-endian 128-bit unsigned wraparound arithmetic:

Mode Formula
3DS NormalKey = (((KeyX ROL 2) XOR KeyY) + C1) ROR 41
DSi NormalKey = ((KeyX XOR KeyY) + C2) ROL 42

Unless noted otherwise, all keyslots on retail units use the hardware key generator.

FIRM-launch key clearing

Starting with 9.0.0-20 the Process9 FIRM-launch code now "clears" the following AES keyslots, with certain keydata by writing the normal-key: 0x15 and 0x18-0x20. These are the keyslots used by the New3DS FIRM arm9bin loader(minus keyslot 0x11), the New3DS Process9 does this too.

AES key-init

See here for how Boot9 initializes the AES keyslots.

For an issue with console-unique key-init, see here.

Some of the Boot9 key-init appears to have a bug(?) when initializing a chunk of keyslots at once: normally it does for(i=0; i<4; i++){... <setup_keyslot_keydata(keyslotbase+i, keydata)> ...}, however in some cases it does that except with (keyslotbase, instead. This results in the keyslot specified by keyslotbase being initialized 4 times in a row, with the remaining 3 keyslots following keyslotbase being left uninitialized.

initialize_aeskeys() works as follows:

  • Validates input, calls panic() on failure. conunique_dataptr and bootrom_dataptr are both input parameters for initialize_aeskeys().
  • Calls crypto_initialize().
  • Then it basically: copies 0x1C-bytes from conunique_dataptr to tmpbuf+0(sp+12), and copies data from bootrom_dataptr with size 0x40-0x1C to tmpbuf+0x1C(conunique_dataptr and bootrom_dataptr are updated afterwards).
  • The 0x40-byte tmpbuf is hashed with SHA256.
  • Keyslot 0x3F is then initialized using the above hash: keyX = first 0x10-bytes of the hash, keyY = last 0x10-bytes of the hash.
  • Then with each console-unique key-init code-block: IV is loaded from bootrom_dataptr(which is updated afterwards), then the 0x40-bytes from bootrom_dataptr is encrypted with AES-CBC. The output is then used as 4 keyXs for initializing keyslots. How bootrom_dataptr is updated if at all varies per code-block. Hashing similar to the code at the start of this function is also run(when the remaining size for conunique_dataptr is non-zero), but the output hash isn't used(this code is also slightly different for one code-block).
  • Once finished with that, the non-console-unique keyslots are initialized. This is done with keydata loaded directly from bootrom_dataptr.
  • The last initialized keyslot is 0x3F, via normalkey. The keydata for this is copied to 0xFFF00618. This is for restoring the keydata when non-NAND FIRM boot fails, since those use keyslot 0x3F with other keydata.
  • Lastly it clears the 0x40-bytes at tmpbuf with the u32 loaded from bootrom_dataptr(the word following the above keyslot 0x3F keydata), then returns.

The keyslots are initialized with the same order of keyslots+keydata_type listed below:

Console-unique keydata, after the initialization for the key-generation keyslot(0x3F):

 0x04..0x07 keyX
 0x08..0x0B keyX
 0x0C..0x0F keyX
 0x10       keyX
 0x14..0x17 keyX
 0x18..0x1B keyX
 0x1C..0x1F keyX
 0x20..0x23 keyX
 0x24       keyX
 0x28..0x2B keyX

Common keydata:

 0x2C..0x2F keyX
 0x30..0x33 keyX
 0x34..0x37 keyX
 0x38..0x3B keyX
 0x3C..0x3F keyX
 0x04..0x0B keyY
 0x0C..0x0F normalkey
 0x10..0x13 normalkey
 0x14..0x17 normalkey
 0x18..0x1B normalkey
 0x1C..0x1F normalkey
 0x20..0x23 normalkey
 0x24..0x27 normalkey
 0x28..0x2B normalkey
 0x2C..0x2F normalkey
 0x30..0x33 normalkey
 0x34..0x37 normalkey
 0x38..0x3B normalkey
 0x3C..0x3F normalkey