December 16, 2005 5:10 PM PST

Hackers find first Xbox 360 cracks

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Only weeks after the introduction of the Xbox 360, hackers appear to have cracked their way into the software that runs the Microsoft game console.

A group called "Team PI Coder" claims to have found a way to extract the source files of Xbox 360 games as they get loaded onto the console.

The glimpse at game code represents the first move toward hacking the Microsoft device, said Steve Manzuik, a security product manager at eEye Digital Security.

"All that has been done is that they have figured out the file system, which is not much different than the original Xbox file system," Manzuik said. "I would consider it a game hack, not really an Xbox 360 hack. But (it is) the beginning steps of one."

Team PI Coder has posted details on several games to the Web along with an "extractor tool" that could potentially be used to copy games, according Xbox-Scene.com, an enthusiast Web site.

"Downloading such releases is illegal, and you can't do anything with them yet," Xbox-Scene.com said in a posting.

The copies are useless, at least for now, because further Xbox safeguards prevent playing of the copies, and the games also won't run on a PC.

In a text file describing the extracted data, Team PI Coder said that not much can be done with the files. "You can't run these dumps yet, but you will be able to sooner or later," it wrote in the note. "So the first task is done. We hope this encourages all hackers, coders and crackers out there to take up the challenge."

Microsoft wouldn't comment on the hacking work by Team PI Coder, but a company representative said the recently launched Xbox 360 is well-protected. "We have made improvements on both the hardware and software side to protect Xbox 360 against piracy and modding (modification of components)," the company said in a statement on Friday.

"With Xbox 360, we had the benefit of learning from our experiences on Xbox. This allowed us to identify points of weakness that were exploited by hackers in the first generation and to eliminate those vulnerabilities in Xbox 360," the Microsoft representative said.

The first-generation Xbox was a popular hacker target. Add-on chips for the console--so-called "mod chips"--let consumers play pirated discs and other applications on their consoles. In addition, some groups claimed they could run Linux on the Xbox. Such hacks have yet to surface for the Xbox 360.

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CLAIMED to run Linux?
That's kind of a silly statement, my buddy's x-box ran Linux for a long time, we used to stream AVI files to it and use it as a media center PC
Posted by DJ-Panic (14 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Olds news - misleading title
This news about the filesystem is old. It's at least a few days old.
Xboxes DID run Linux successfully - I don't know what crack you
are smoking when you say that they "claimed" to.

When someone boots linux on the thing - then maybe you have
news.
Posted by ryebrye (6 comments )
Reply Link Flag
to all Xbox360 modders; this is retar.....
DED~~~! Why would you pay $400 Dollars or more just to tear it apart and run Linux on it.

Yeah you can learn how to hack a game console....wow. Now that you have to buy a new console to play online or...anything else, pat yourself on the back, oops you broke your arm (to bad huh).

You people that feel you need to do this need more schooling, so you can do something that would actually bring improvement to some part of the world.
Posted by baggyguy1218 (155 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Actually, Preventing Microsoft...
...From accomplishing their stated-goal of locking-down virtually every PC, so that it can only run "Microsoft-approved Apps" IS...

>> "... something that would actually bring improvement to some part of the world".

In fact, most IT-professionals would say the entire computer-industry would benefit.
Posted by Had_to_be_said (384 comments )
Link Flag
Hello....xbox360 would be a great computer
Why would you pay $400 to run linux??????? Hmmm, let me think,
maybe because the 360 has 3 3GHZ PROCESSORS!?!?!?! Do you
know of any other computers that have that, let alone ones you can
buy for $400? I don't personally mod these, but I know people who
do exactly for that reason. Even the top of line PowerMac Quad only
has 2 dual core processors and costs $3000, so why wouldn't you
want to mod your xbox360?
Posted by radon18 (1 comment )
Link Flag
to all Xbox360 modders; this is retar.....
DED~~~! Why would you pay $400 Dollars or more just to tear it apart and run Linux on it.

Yeah you can learn how to hack a game console....wow. Now that you have to buy a new console to play online or...anything else, pat yourself on the back, oops you broke your arm (to bad huh).

You people that feel you need to do this need more schooling, so you can do something that would actually bring improvement to some part of the world.
Posted by baggyguy1218 (155 comments )
Reply Link Flag
really?
...have you ever heard of such thing as curiosity
Posted by urban psycho (4 comments )
Link Flag
RE
"Why would you pay $400 Dollars or more just to tear it apart and run Linux on it."

Because they can, and it's their money. If that makes them happy more power to them. What good is having money if can spend at least some of it how you want?


"Yeah you can learn how to hack a game console....wow."


In the case of the original Xbox it added features that weren't avaliable on the stock model. Unless your the figuring out the crack it usually just involves some soldering (there are solderless kits avaliable)and software installation.


"Now that you have to buy a new console to play online or...anything else, pat yourself on the back, oops you broke your arm (to bad huh)."

There are a lot of people who don't use Xbox Live. With a hacked console you can still play games and use it in LAN parties with people you might actually know instead of the idiots you usually find online.

"You people that feel you need to do this need more schooling, so you can do something that would actually bring improvement to some part of the world."

Modding could easily be something one does in their spare time. As for improving some part of the world, if that's what you want join The Peace Corps. As for more schooling, one of the guys (Andrew "Bunnie" Huang) who cracked the original Xbox was a Ph.D student at MIT at the time (from what I understand he has since gotten his degree).
Posted by unknown unknown (1951 comments )
Link Flag
Learn the terminology!
Ok,
Before you go and post a story check your terms. They didn't pull the "source files" because source files are the stuff with actual "source code" in them. They pulled GAME files down, binary files that aren't ANY use because you can't read or understand them unless you understand hexadecimal code very, very well.
Posted by TheShadowx (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Some of the BIZARRE Statements in this article.
Things like the following make me wonder...

>> "mod chips"--let consumers play pirated discs and other applications on their consoles. In addition, some groups claimed they could run Linux on the Xbox.

Funny, that this article seems to, rather strongly, infer that the purpose for "Mod chips" is to pirate video games, ...NOT mentioned was the fact, that the "chips" were actually, specifically-designed to allow consumers to run their OWN choice of software, and make "fair-use back-ups" on the computers that consumers legally-owned.

And, even stranger than that, is the naked suggestion that there is ANY doubt, WHAT-SO-EVER, that "Linux" (and other OSes) have been run, VERY successfully, on many, many, "X-Boxes".

These FACTS are so well known... I have to ask...

Accident, intentional or just inconceivably GROTESQUE IGNORANCE..?
Posted by Gayle Edwards (262 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Yeah
Just like how P2P software is really for sharing legal files. Please, we all know what people use them for.
Posted by NeutralX2 (11 comments )
Link Flag
Yeah, really.
That's why the dreamcast is so big with this kind of thing. It comes pre-modded, so people can download homebrew. It's not primarily used for pirating. It's mostly used for legal things.

And the only reason they were skeptical of Linux on Xbox was because they had an "unreliable" resource. But you and I know that it's definetly possible.
Posted by kippy33 (1 comment )
Link Flag
Well
Yeah and i have personally seen a lot of modded xbox run pirated games. In fact, every single person I know at my university that has a modded xbox (which is a lot) has one specifically for pirated games. Unless you have any factual data that shows me that the majority of people that buy modded xboxs NOT to run pirated software, I am going to assume you are wrong.
Posted by NeutralX2 (11 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Your position, however...
>> "...Unless you have any factual data that shows me that the majority of people that buy modded xboxs NOT to run pirated software, I am going to assume you are wrong."

I fail to see why I or anybody else should prove anything of the sort, to you. I made perfectly valid assertions, which ARE completely "factual" (if you "knew" what you were talking about, you would "know" that).

If you cannot understand that there are facts, ...other than the "corporate-line" that "everyone knows", ...that is your own personal-problem. None of your assertions, effectively refutes any of my basic observations.

And, it IS a FACT that a lot of people DO use "modded X-Boxes" for perfectly legal-purposes (such as running "Linux").

I know college is tough, trying to grow-up and all, but if you simply insist upon the idea that people with decades of experience in the IT field must meet your personal-criteria of proof whenever you challenge them, ...or youll "assume" their "wrong", ...then you are in for some real problems.
Posted by Gayle Edwards (262 comments )
Link Flag
Duh, its from Microsoft, of coarse it got hacked!!
Nuff said
Posted by Cornholieo (15 comments )
Reply Link Flag
umm not on MS things get hacked
look at the PSP. It got hacked too.
Posted by techguy83 (295 comments )
Link Flag
and Sony's products never ...
...get hacked or have any security issues. Get Lost.
Posted by FutureGuy (742 comments )
Link Flag
WRONG - NO TOS VIOLATION
They DO NOT provide a service. Microsoft provides a PRODUCT WITH WARRANTY which VOIDS after the opening of an Xbox. What they cannot do is make you agree to the WARRANTY and they cannot keep you from accessing the internal components. You have paid, not only for the rights to use it (unlike copyright licenses), but for the console (physical material) itself.

If you choose to VOID the warranty, they cannot stop you. That is YOUR decision. And its one reason they are going to such great lengths to protect the 360 as best as they can. If I were a company, I would do the same because I would HATE providing warranty to people who fsck up their Xbox, then *I* would have to pay for the repair.

Regarding the pirated games protection: If the company does not allow me to make Fair-Use PRIVATE backups for personal reasons, they are in violation of the fair-use and copyright laws.

Also, i have successfully, and with GREAT EASE installed mandrake linux 10.1 on my Xbox (not 360). I also have games copied straight to my Xbox harddrive because I love the ease of just scrolling to find a game without having to get up and change disc's. Its called FAIR USE and its perfectly legal NO MATTER what other people do!

My rights should not be taken away because someone else decides to use the flaw to pirate copies.

CNET, get your f*king stories straight, im sick of reading this BS!

Peace,
alkalineX

PS: ...this may be a bit of an old article, but I will post my thoughts anyways :)
Posted by alkalineX (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
forgot to reply to comment
This comment was supposed to reply to Joe Manco which said "Hacking the xbox violates the TOS thus federal laws." (which is false)

Also I commented some on the linux being able to run on Xbox which cnet says it 'could be possible' or something like that.
Posted by alkalineX (2 comments )
Link Flag
RE
"If the company does not allow me to make Fair-Use PRIVATE backups for personal reasons, they are in violation of the fair-use and copyright laws."

Wrong. Fair use is an exception to copyright law meaning that if your particular use falls under fair use they can't prosecute for copyright infringement. There is nothing that says they have to make it easy to exercise fair use. The DMCA lets companies strip you of at least some fair uses simply by applying some copy protection or DRM scheme to the content.
Posted by unknown unknown (1951 comments )
Link Flag
 

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