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XBox (Games) Security

Hacking the Xbox 30

minuszero writes "BBC News is reporting that the hacker community has already begun to crack the Xbox 360 system. From the article: 'A group of crackers called Team PI Coder says it has discovered the basic workings of the console's file system. The information has helped the group dig out the raw data from the console for 13 Xbox 360 games.'" Relatedly, Mancomb Seepgood writes "Xbox-Linux have published a new paper 17 Mistakes Microsoft Made in the Xbox Security System, which will be presented at the 22nd Chaos Communication Congress in Germany. It details the history of efforts to crack the Xbox and highlights a number of mistakes Microsoft made, including not understanding basic cryptographic algorithms or reading Intel's CPU datasheets." This latter article focuses on the original console.
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Hacking the Xbox

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  • BS (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Is0m0rph ( 819726 ) on Friday December 16, 2005 @06:45PM (#14275862)
    They didn't discover anything. They just repacked other people's work from the old Xbox extractors. The author of Qwix has stated that Qwix (Xbox unpacker that's been out for a long time) will unpack a 360 iso with no changes other than renaming the 360 image file to .iso.
  • If /. had editors they wouldn't have missed this DUPE [slashdot.org] from three days ago.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      How is the parent offtopic? Wouldn't readers want to see the other thread which has more and better comments?
  • Let me know when I can install SuSE, ubuntu, or Mandriva on it, then I'll buy a bunch of XBoxes and have a nice Linux server farm for lower cost than I can build a single dual core PC for.
  • Cheap (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Threni ( 635302 ) on Friday December 16, 2005 @06:57PM (#14276006)
    > The Xbox is supposed to find out the highest clock speed the RAM chips can go
    > and run them at this frequency - this is the reason why some games don't run as
    > smoothly on some Xboxes as on others.

    Sounds like a good way of getting your money back, in the UK at least - if you see a demonstration Xbox on demo in a shop, and find that the one you bought isn't the same then you've been misled and can get a full refund from the retailer.

    It's also just a shitty thing to do. Does the Xbox2 also pull this trick?
  • Hmmmm (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Sv-Manowar ( 772313 ) on Friday December 16, 2005 @07:34PM (#14276337) Homepage Journal
    Why is this news to some people? I can't see any reason to not expect this. As long as the curiousity is there, and there is a market for pirate (cheaper) games there will always be people willing to crack the console, and the earlier they can do it the more money (or fun, depending on their reasons for doing it) they can have/make.

    Microsoft can write all the protection they want into their consoles in the time they develop them, but at the end of the day as soon as it changes hands.. someone has 24 hours a day all day to do what they like to try and crack it. Unlike a salaried coder at MS, they probably have a lot more motivation to do it as well. Just a thought.
  • No Linux hackers ever attacked the Playstation. When you are fair, people don't fight you.

    What they're trying to say here is, "Since Sony put out a commercial Linux kit, Linux hackers didn't hack the PS2". I would venture a guess (from experience and Linux/PS2 sales) that Linux hackers did not gravitate toward the XBox because commercial Linux was not available for it, but because it is a cheap x86 box with hard drive and USB ports.

    I do however, find the hackers sense of "ethics" quite laughable -- That

    • I thought the rational was *buying* the hardware gives them the right to crack it (i.e. use it they way they want to).
    • I do however, find the hackers sense of "ethics" quite laughable -- That they are some sort of heroes "fighting" an "unfair" company. Typical hacker rationale: Locking it gives us the right to crack it.

      You are mistaking the hacker ethic. Think of it this way. Since I bought it, it belongs to me and I can use it anyway I see fit.

      I own several things which now serve a totally different purpose from which the manufacturer intended. His intentions are not an issue now that it is no longer his.


  • Is the media confusing the difference between crackers and hackers again? Or is my understanding of the definitions out of date? (ie hackers = good, crackers = evil hackers)
    • Re:Crackers? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by macshit ( 157376 ) *
      Is the media confusing the difference between crackers and hackers again? Or is my understanding of the definitions out of date? (ie hackers = good, crackers = evil hackers)

      It's just that the words have different accepted meanings in different contexts; there are no absolute "definitions".

      Potentially confusing to be sure, but that's natural language for you (though in practice, of course, nobody actually gets confused over this issue; some people just like to use the unrealized possibility of confusion as a
    • Is the media confusing the difference between crackers and hackers again? Or is my understanding of the definitions out of date? (ie hackers = good, crackers = evil hackers)
      I have never seen "the media" use the term "crackers" unless the writer was a hacker, in other words not "the media."
      • Plus that isn't the standard definition of the words. A hacker is a code-monkey, a cracker is someone who breaks encryption/copy protection - whether for good or bad reasons.
  • Know your enemy - and talk to them. They are not terrorists that you are not supposed to negotiate with. [story about how they approached MS] ... But as they refused to talk, we were forced to release the exploits, and they were lucky we heavily obfuscated our solutions so in order to slow down people interested in using it for copies.

    Apparently, the hackers are more like kidnappers that you have to negotiate with.

    So I have it now: Bad Hacker == terrorist, Good Hacker == kidnapper

  • by KermodeBear ( 738243 ) on Friday December 16, 2005 @08:58PM (#14276916) Homepage
    I really think I must be. Microsoft put in some security measures on their console, and not all of them were top notch. Okay, that's a flaw in the design, but come on... This is a GAME CONSOLE. It plays games. These things aren't used to store credit card numbers.
  • by PhotoBoy ( 684898 ) on Friday December 16, 2005 @11:16PM (#14277568)
    ... because I modded my Xbox and put a bigger hard drive in there and it's been one of the best console setups I've ever had. I can install all my games to the hard drive, reset to the menu system via the joypad, FTP files to the Xbox and watch divx/xvid and DVDs in 720p or 1080i.

    Before anyone reminds me about the evils of piracy, I do buy all my games, it's just the convenience of not having to keep all my game discs around if on a whim I decide to play one I've not played in a while. I can just turn it on, browse the list and pick whatever takes my fancy. It saves on disc scratching too. In fact the only drawback is that when the hard disk dies (which I had happen a few days ago) you have to spend a few hours loading your games back onto a new drive.

    So I eagerly await a mod chip for the 360 that allows me to replace the removable HD with something bigger and to allow me to run imported games from any region, to install my games to the hard disk, play any region DVDs and watch non DRM'ed movie files. I can't wait!
  • The "17 Mistakes..." article is one of the coolest things I've ever seen linked to from Slashdot. I am in a blissed-out state of ultimate geekness!
  • its only a matter of time before theres a mod out anyway. no such thing as a "uncrackable" system when it comes to games someone will make a work around anyway.
  • Now if only someone would have the foresight to install a wheelchair lift or entrance ramp in the Jedi temple.

Help! I'm trapped in a PDP 11/70!