Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Hardware Hacking XBox (Games) Games

Hackers Leak Xbox One SDK Claiming Advancement In Openness and Homebrew 86

MojoKid writes Microsoft, it seems, just can't catch a break. Days after a major hack took its servers offline on Christmas day, and after being lambasted in multiple stories for shipping games like Halo: The Master Chief Collection in nigh-unplayable condition, the company's Xbox One SDK has been leaked to the public by a group calling itself H4LT. H4LT, which apparently objects to being called a hacker group, offered this explanation when asked why it was distributing the SDK. The group claims that "the SDK will basically allow the community to reverse and open doors towards homebrew applications being present on the Xbox One." To be clear, what H4LT has done is a far cry from groups like Lizard Squad. The SDK for any given product is typically available behind some degree of registration, but they don't necessarily cost anything. The SDK is one small component of creating the ecosystem that would be necessary to get homebrew up and running on the platform. Whether or not users will ever pull it off is another question.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Hackers Leak Xbox One SDK Claiming Advancement In Openness and Homebrew

Comments Filter:
  • No. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 04, 2015 @09:46AM (#48730005)

    Zero shits given. By anyone.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    A ddos is not a hack.

    • True, except that in practice to DDOS any target of a reasonable size, you need to hack several thousand PCs to create a botnet. The alternative is you pay someone who has a botnet to DDOS for you.

      In any case, a DDOS requires a hack, even if you were not the one to do it.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    I stopped reading after it labelled the Christmas DDoS as a "major hack". As for the "leaking": I assume you can already get most stuff just by registering as an indipendent developer (I think it's even free http://www.xbox.com/developers/id [xbox.com]) and all stuff by registering as a professional developer.
  • Translation (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Futurepower(R) ( 558542 ) <MJennings.USA@NOT_any_of_THISgmail.com> on Sunday January 04, 2015 @09:54AM (#48730043) Homepage
    "Microsoft, it seems, just can't catch a break."

    Translation: Microsoft is poorly managed.
  • by alvinrod ( 889928 ) on Sunday January 04, 2015 @09:56AM (#48730047)
    Does it really matter if the SDK is available so long as there's no way to run that code? I'm not really up on the latest consoles and how close they are to finding exploits to allow code execution, but it would seem rather premature to claim that this is some great victory. If nothing else it's better that people are spending their time on things like this rather than Launching DDOS attacks against the companies online services.
    • It does not matter. Console security systems are designed to sandbox code written with the SDKs, game developers are seen as adversaries for the purposes of security because otherwise a hacked game makes it too easy to "level up" to full control and then piracy. For example an early Xbox 360 exploit was based on replacing an unsigned shader file in a specific game, which allowed arbitrary shader execution and from that control over the CPU.

      The Xbox 360 security system was very impressive and only encountere

      • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

        The Xbox 360 security system was very impressive and only encountered truly serious problems right at the very end of the consoles much extended lifespan. I've got an interest in computer security so I'm eagerly awaiting talks on how the Xbox One is done, but given the general success of the 360 architecture I suspect the One is very similar, with some tweaks and additional defence in depth.

        I haven't heard of any major security breaks in the Xbox360 - the old ones that were present are still there (reflashi

    • SDKs are useful to investigate and develop homebrew exploits (they provide information on the system architecture), but they are not useful for actually developing homebrew unless you want to end up with a situation like the Xbox 1 (the original) where all homebrew (except for Linux) was basically illegal because compiling it meant using the SDK and the resulting binaries were not legally redistributable. As a counterexample, the Wii has a fully open source homebrew SDK (though some bits have a questionable

      • Given what I've heard of the Xbox One security architecture, it's going to be a tough nut to crack, SDK or not.

        And what's the point when you can just buy a cheap PC where you dont have to be concerned about cracking security or distribution legalities of linking against an unlicensed SDK or that a new update might close whatever security exploit you were using. Not to mention the available audience is much larger with the PC.

        I can see how deterministic performance and targeting exact hardware is advantageous for game developers so just register as a developer for the platform if that's what you want to do.

    • I stopping following Xbox homebrew at 360, but Microsoft as a whole and the Xbox series have never used security that was not easily overcome. I doubt that the Xbox One will buck this trend.
    • by Xest ( 935314 )

      Well given that Microsoft originally claimed that every Xbox One was to be a dev kit to allow widespread indie development once they get around to releasing the more broad based anyone can build dev kit then I think the question is do they care?

      The console was always intended to at least some degree to be developed on by everyone and anyone, so I'd wager it was always similarly designed to be hardened for exactly that purpose regardless.

  • Ramifications (Score:5, Interesting)

    by stephanruby ( 542433 ) on Sunday January 04, 2015 @09:58AM (#48730055)

    So someone gave a disposable email address, downloaded an Xbox SDK, and then reposted the SDK somewhere else?

    Is this what we're talking about here? Or is there actually more to the story?

    • Re:Ramifications (Score:4, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 04, 2015 @10:53AM (#48730287)

      No, that's not what we're talking about here. It was either leaked by a Microsoft insider / licensed developer or it was obtained by hacking into some system that had the files on it.

      You can't get the major native-code console SDKs simply by registering. The way it's typically set up is that you have to formally apply to become a licensed developer, which generally involves having a corporate entity (Nintendo used to also require that the entity have its own dedicated commercial-grade office space, i.e. no "garage startups") with some demonstrable track record of publishing commercial-quality games and substantiation of sufficient funding to actually complete development on commercial-quality games. Then you have to drop a decent chunk of money on a short list of approved test/debug hardware in order to actually develop games. There are several levels of security and contracts/NDAs involved that require manual review and execution.

      • AKA Publicity Stunt. They are riding the coat-tails of the Sony hack and want everyone to talk about X Box.

      • The way it's typically set up is that you have to formally apply to become a licensed developer, which generally involves having a corporate entity [and in some cases a commercial office] with some demonstrable track record of publishing commercial-quality games and substantiation of sufficient funding to actually complete development on commercial-quality games.

        How does Microsoft expect a company to demonstrate such a "track record" before becoming accepted to the Xbox developer program for the first time? PC games, Windows Phone games, or something else? Or is Microsoft mostly looking to poach companies from the other two consoles?

        • How does Microsoft expect a company to demonstrate such a "track record" before becoming accepted to the Xbox developer program for the first time? PC games, Windows Phone games, or something else? Or is Microsoft mostly looking to poach companies from the other two consoles?

          PC games, mobile games, XBLA/ID@Xbox program titles, etc ... or teams made up of people who have previously delivered titles. But no, you cant get in if you are a complete newbie with no experience.

          • by tepples ( 727027 )

            How many such games from a company are typically needed? And must they be pay games?

            • It should be pretty obvious that the number of games would be a silly metric. The FAQ states:

              Q: I want to be a certified Xbox publisher. How do I do that?

              A: Companies interested in becoming a publisher for the Xbox gaming platform should write an email to newpub@microsoft.com. Interested companies will be required to show a strong commitment to retail products and a solid plan for multiple Xbox titles. Applicants will be asked to share that plan along with information about their company’s history

  • by linebackn ( 131821 ) on Sunday January 04, 2015 @10:16AM (#48730135)

    Why bother trying to create an open home brew environment around a closed platform?

    I suspect the so-called leaker is really working for Microsoft.

    BTW, "leaking" is something you do in to a toilet. :P

    • Why bother trying to create an open home brew environment around a closed platform?

      Cost and availability of hardware? While the original platform/OS might be closed, it might be possible to root it and get raw access to the underlying hardware. With original Xbox this was super easy, since it was essentially a cheap Intel PC in a console box. There was a very lively hobbyist culture around the original Xbox with many people installing Linux on it to convert it to an affordable HTPC.

      • But nowadays I don't see the point of homebrew on a set-top console. The price of PCs has fallen so much that one can buy a set-top PC that will run a media player and indie PC games for no more than the cost of a current console.

      • Cost and availability of hardware?

        No you can easily put together a decent system for the $400 a console would cost you.

    • I suspect the so-called leaker is really working for Microsoft.

      Interesting. For what purpose?

  • OK, so what is the security around the Xbox One's SDK? It this article seriously about how a "hacker group" downloaded the publicly available SDK, and then, in breach of the licencing agreement, hosted their own copy of it?
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Security: Only registered video game development companies are given the download link. That's about it. It's not "publicly available", but nor is it seriously locked-down. Any one of thousands of employees at various game dev studios could have leaked this, intentionally or otherwise.

  • Nigh unplayable? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    My son downloaded the Master Chief Collection the day it came out. He has gotten many hours of play out of it. Hasn't had one problem with it. A week ago I asked him about it specifically because of all the online ranting about problems. He knew about the rants, but dismissed them - apparently it was just one part of online matchmaking or something. He had no problems and could not understand what the fuss was. Nigh unplayable? Obviously written by someone who never even tried...
    • The "unplayable" comment is a comment on the matchmaking system, yes. If your son solely played the Master Chief Collection offline or in custom matches with friends, he would have had no issues at all. However, if he had tried to play matchmade games (the only way to play with strangers, or to play "ranked" games) he wouldn't have had much luck at all on release day, or several days after that. I saw it take more than an hour to find a single match on release day; a week or so later it was still taking upw

  • The SDK is not "publicly available" and not "just anyone" can download it. I fully support this move just because MS is so obnoxious about SDK access that someone really needed to poke them in the eye. To be clear to get sanctioned access to the SDK you at a minimum must submit an application (resume, not program) to MS that "proves" you are an "experienced game developer" on one or more platforms. You must also sign an NDA.

    This is a far cry from developing for other systems like Android, where anyone
    • You could have been "fooling around" on the Xbox 360 from March 2006 when MS released the XNA toolkit to all and sundry, so what was stopping you?

    • I have a 360 and a One, and I've long wanted to just "fool around" with developing apps for them, to see how difficult it is. This will potentially make that a possibility on the One at least.

      Its no more difficult than learning to develop in a compiled language for any other system.

    • To be clear to get sanctioned access to the SDK you at a minimum must submit an application (resume, not program) to MS that "proves" you are an "experienced game developer" on one or more platforms. You must also sign an NDA.

      Can anyone speak to what Microsoft's criteria for "experienced game developer" are, such as how many published PC games it takes for a company to become "experienced"? Or is that part of the NDA too?

  • "Days after a major hack took its servers offline on Christmas day"
    Why is it such a difficult concept to grasp? Or is it simply exaggeration to get attention?
  • Microsoft said they wanted every Xbox One to be a development platform, I'm sure they were going to do this themselves soon anyway.
  • by eulernet ( 1132389 ) on Sunday January 04, 2015 @01:27PM (#48731105)

    The original tweet is not even mentioned, here it is:
    https://twitter.com/notHALT/st... [twitter.com]

  • I know a lot of people that would buy an Xbone right away if they could install that.

  • If the SDK includes information on DRM and the XBox Live protocols, one might be able to devise a compatibility layer on top of a standard x86 compute platform to run (not emulate) XBox One games. But, given the hardware specs, I'm not sure if this would be more economical than just buying an XBox One. You would also presumably require a ripped XBox One BIOS.

    8 core AMD Opteron (XBox is custom AMD 8core) = ~$50
    ACS Mobo = ~$30
    8 GB DDR3 = ~80
    8GB Flash Rom = $0 (Emulate via HDD?)
    Blu Ray Drive = ~$60
    500GB HDD =

    • It is still not going to work properly and most likely be very inefficient. They aren't using off-the-shelf hardware, it is custom hardware and the software is written to take advantage of this custom functionality that the off-the-shelf hardware does not provide and would then need an additional software emulation layer.

      Not to mention your whole system architecture is different. While the xbox contains its CPU and GPU on the same chip (the APU) and huge chunk of on-die RAM where the setup you listed has a

  • Microsoft could monetize it hell of a lot more by taking a cut from the app store with the extra Indie apps.

    The extra apps would give it a leg up over the more proprietary PS4 which would again return the cash back to Microsoft. Monetizing off a few developers is dumb and costs more than it gains.

    If I were at Microsoft I would make universal apps for Windows 10 and the xbox SDK apps cross compatible in the app store. Imagine the marketshare and the gamers who are clinging onto Windows 7 for life now migrate

All great discoveries are made by mistake. -- Young

Working...