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XBox (Games) Hardware Hacking Hardware

Xbox 360 File System Decoded 225

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the step-in-the-right-direction dept.
slurpster writes "The register reports that Pi group has decoded the file system used in the Xbox 360. They write "Once you get past the protections and down to the raw bits on the disc, its just the standard xboxdvdfs, however the offset and layer breakpoint are different.""
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Xbox 360 File System Decoded

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  • Important to Note (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MeanderingMind (884641) on Tuesday December 13, 2005 @09:43AM (#14245823) Homepage Journal
    The article notes that this in an of itself is only a step in the long march towards all those crazy things people have done with the original Xbox.

    An important step, but only a step.

    Don't get too excited, it will be a few months yet before any underworld homebrew applications are running.
  • Re:Took that long? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Elixon (832904) on Tuesday December 13, 2005 @09:50AM (#14245854) Homepage Journal
    There will be always more clever people out there then those employed in various corporations...

    The motivation is the key. Salary is a motivation but the fun is bigger motivation. :-)

    The word "unbreakable" should not be used anymore. (Only liars from marketing departments use it :-)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 13, 2005 @09:55AM (#14245873)
    Excuse me but Mr Gates is not stupid.

    Piracy sells consoles which in turn sells games = market share.

    He wants people to pirate games, simple as.
  • Re:how? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SigILL (6475) on Tuesday December 13, 2005 @09:59AM (#14245892) Homepage
    I've always wondered how you actually go about understanding a file system with absolutely no documentation.

    Well, you know the contents of the files as well as their names, right? So you can use a simple text search to figure out where on the disk the contents are placed. Then you look for structures on the disk that appear to point to these contents.

    You can for example figure out the size of a directory entry by looking for the amount of characters between successive file names. After that, things like file size and other metadata can usually be readily detected.

    There's admittedly some guesswork involved. That's why official documentation is always preferrable to something that's reverse engineered.

  • by dreamchaser (49529) on Tuesday December 13, 2005 @10:00AM (#14245905) Homepage Journal
    How would selling something at a loss help to offset investment? They sell it at a loss in order to spur sales, so they can sell the games. The money is made from the games, and that profit is what recoups the investment.

    Sure, I guess you could say 'Well if they gave it away for free they'd recoup that much less', but the point is that they do not sell them at a loss in order to recoup anything. It is to drive sales, plain and simple.
  • Re:Look out (Score:3, Insightful)

    by grasshoppa (657393) <skennedy&tpno-co,org> on Tuesday December 13, 2005 @10:15AM (#14246000) Homepage
    I think that may be a bit high brow humor for the morning crowd.

    Got me chuckling though.
  • Re:huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DrXym (126579) on Tuesday December 13, 2005 @10:15AM (#14246001)
    The hard part is how to get unauthorized code to run. This part involves bypassing systems bios and installing a compatible version over the top that the system cannot detect. This could take a few years.

    And if MS have learnt anything from the likes of the PSP (as they undoubtedly have). Any exploit will be quickly patched, either when you install a new game or next go online.

  • Re:Look out (Score:5, Insightful)

    by InvalidError (771317) on Tuesday December 13, 2005 @12:00PM (#14247139)
    That was true for the original XBox which was based on PC-ish and off-the-shelf hardware. For the 360, it would be more like a souped-up Mac/(whatever else uses PPC chips).

    Since the custom PPC and chipset/GPU for the 360 were tweaked specifically for M$ from the very start instead of quick hacks of off-the-shelf designs to make them less interoperable, chances are that the 360 will be much harder to crack.
  • Re:Took that long? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kaboom13 (235759) <kaboom108@bellsout[ ]et ['h.n' in gap]> on Tuesday December 13, 2005 @12:17PM (#14247333)
    Remember that the MS engineers have a near impossible task. They have to design a DRM system to ensure only official games work, but at the same time,
    A. The DRM is implemented into a consumer device that the "enemy" has complete access too.
    B. The DRM can not be complex as to hinder third party companies making licensed games.
    C. The DRM can not signifigantly impact the performance of the device (ie no CPU intensive encryption).
    D. The Xbox itself has to be able to un-drm the code to play the game.
    E. Because old games can not be updated on a console, the DRM can not be changed or updated after release.
    F. The DRM system can not signifigantly add to the cost of production of the consoles or games.

    Basically DRM on consoles is a losing battle. All the odds are stacked against the developers. Add in the fact that the number of people trying to break it probably greatly exceeds the number of people responsible for it's development in the first place, and it becomes a fight MS can't hope to win. However, the tougher the DRM is, the more complicated the workarounds will be. Consider how massive dreamcast piracy (Dreamcast games could be copied with no mod chip and a cd burner) was compared to playstation piracy (required a mod chip with lots of soldering at first, later would require just a swap disk trick). The dreamcast sold a lot less then the playstation, but the piracy scene was enormous in comparison because it was so easy.
  • by blincoln (592401) on Tuesday December 13, 2005 @12:17PM (#14247341) Homepage Journal
    Average joe however might only occasionally get pirate games off someone he knows so therefore may still actually buy games.

    This is a creature I have never met. Everyone I know who pirates games talks about "buying the ones that are good enough," but none of them actually do it. As soon as the technology exists to bootleg games, they do so exclusively.

    I know for a fact that this is what put a lot of developers off of the PS1 before it was commercially dead. I wouldn't be surprised if it was a significant factor in the end of the Dreamcast as well.
  • Re:Took that long? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Groo Wanderer (180806) <charlieNO@SPAMsemiaccurate.com> on Tuesday December 13, 2005 @04:27PM (#14249808) Homepage
    "B. The DRM can not be complex as to hinder third party companies making licensed games."

    Unless something radically changed this time, that is not an issue. The DRM is applied after the game is done, it is part of the manufacturing process. Basically, the people give MS the gold code, MS applies the DRM infection, encrypts it, whatnot, and then makes a master.

    This has been the same since day one, but I only have first hand knowledge going back to the Atari Jaguar. :)

                -Charlie
  • Re:Took that long? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by salgiza (650851) on Tuesday December 13, 2005 @04:28PM (#14249816)
    Yes. But those clever hackers have something that most people who work for technology companies don't have. Lots of motivation. They don't do it for money, they do it because it's a challenge.
    And you can be thankful that most hackers don't even think of using social engineering [wikipedia.org].

    That's not to say that cracking something as the XBOX 360 is going to be easy or fast, nor that I disagree with part of your post. But we are still far away (if it ever happens) from the point that it is too expensive/complicated to crack this kind of security.

  • by Koatdus (8206) on Tuesday December 13, 2005 @04:42PM (#14249980)
    It may just be me, but once you Buy something you ought to be able to do with it as you wish.


    The key word here is ought. I agree with you that once I buy something it ought to be mine to do with as I please. The same way I feel that the trees and buildings sitting on my property are mine to do with as I please. (why is it always OUR trees when they are on someone else's property)

    However, there are several companys and more then a few politicians that don't seem to feel the same way.

    The worst part of is that by making such stupid, unpopular, and unenforcable laws they destroy respect for the law. Face it, most people really don't think that it is wrong to copy media that they have purchased. If they really think about it they may agree that it is wrong to give out copies but if it is "just a copy for their friend" they can rationalize it as not really doing any harm. "After all they payed for it once, and the record companys have more money then GOD anyway..."

    The result is that they have deceided not to respect or obey that law. From there it becomes easier to pick and choose which laws to obey and which to break.

    The end result is a general breakdown in respect for the law. People no longer feel that they are "UNDER" the law but that they are equal to it and have the right to choose which laws to obey and which to disobey.

    Someone with an agenda then steps in and more stupid laws are passed. (see hate crimes... the crime is beating someone up, and you SHOULD be punished for it, not what you thought about while you were doing it)

    Soon we get to the point we are at now where most of us are technically criminals and will break any "minor/stupid" law as long as we think we won't get caught. More and more lawyers are needed to keep from getting caught and there is no longer any right or wrong. Caos in the streets, dogs and cats sleeping together, ....

    I don't know what the best solution is.

    I suspect that it may be to wipe most of the laws off of the books and start over with a simpler set that has some kind of rational structure to it. (Good luck trying to get people to agree on what that structure is.)
  • Re:Took that long? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Glooty-Us-Maximus (865500) on Tuesday December 13, 2005 @07:35PM (#14251845)
    "# They work full time. In terms of sheer man-hours the tech companies can throw at the problem, Joe Randoms in their bedrooms will always lose."

    Simply because someone is simply sitting in a cube for 8->12 hours a day doesn't mean they are any more effective than someone who is putting in ~4->6 hours a day in his off-work hours (and lets not forget weekends). You will also find that someone works far more effectively when the work is fun.

    "# They work together. The internet is great but a mailing list and IRC channel for people in 12 different timezones is no substitute for a well equipped set of offices and labs where everybody works together every day."

    Umm, Linux versus Windows?

    Linux came out of nowhere, built nearly entirely by people who are in different timezones in their basements/home offices/etc. Microsoft had rooms full of hired talent working on their OS. Look at how well Linux has done compared to Microsoft in many areas (servers, embedded systems, etc).

    You also forget that you can have many more people working together via The Internet than you can cram into an office building/park/etc.

    I know that in the past couple of years corporations have been responsible for a lot of Linux progress, but an amazing amount of work had been done prior to this which resulted in a surprisingly usable and stable system. If your argument were true, Linux should be no more than a gleam in Torvald's eye.

    "# They have (almost) unlimited financial resources, so they can buy the work and brainpower of other smart people"

    See above.

    I recommend you read "The Cathedral and the Bazaar" by Eric S. Raymond.

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