March 5, 2007 3:32 PM PST

Microsoft patches Xbox 360

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Microsoft has quietly released a fix for a security vulnerability that could let Xbox 360 owners run their own applications or operating systems on the console.

The update corrects a problem with a tamper protection mechanism on the Xbox 360. Hackers had discovered a way to break through the shield and run their own software, including operating systems such as Linux, on the Microsoft game console.

Full details of the security vulnerability were disclosed last week in a posting to two widely read security mailing lists. The flaw was actually discovered in November, demonstrated at a hacker conference in December, and fixed by Microsoft in January, according to the posting by an anonymous hacker.

"Together with a method to inject data into non-privileged memory areas, this vulnerability allows an attacker with physical access to an Xbox 360 to run arbitrary code such as alternative operating systems with full privileges and full hardware access," the anonymous hacker wrote.

Microsoft confirmed the issue on Friday. "Microsoft has worked with the party that reported this issue and has already distributed a fix across our distribution methods, both online and offline," a company representative said in an e-mailed statement.

The update was pushed out via Xbox Live, Microsoft's online gaming service. Any game coming out after February 20 will ship with the fix, which is also available for download on the Xbox Web site, the representative said.

However, Microsoft doesn't describe the Xbox update as a security fix. Instead, on its Web site it lists an "operating system update" for download, without stating what the update does.

The Xbox and other game consoles have always been popular hacker targets. The challenge for hackers is to circumvent protections on the devices to run their own, so-called homebrew code on the device or load another operating system.

A whole market for Xbox cracks grew around the first version of the game console. Add-on chips for the Xbox--called "mod chips"--let consumers play pirated discs and other applications. In addition, some groups claimed they could run Linux on the Xbox.

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12 comments

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why?
Why go through the bother of patching this. It will be broke again.
Posted by solblack (276 comments )
Reply Link Flag
It's cancer, that's why
> Why go through the bother of patching this.

They're just trying to help us to not give ourselves cancer.

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://news.cbsi.com/2100-1001-268520.html" target="_newWindow">http://news.cbsi.com/2100-1001-268520.html</a>

sarcasm How can that possibly be a bad thing? /sarcasm
Posted by amigabill (93 comments )
Link Flag
So... Preventing people from using their own property...
This just in...

"Microsoft" preventing "competition", and stopping consumers from using THEIR OWN PROPERTY the way THEY SEE FIT... is now, called, "a fix".

Funny, I thought it was called, "a feature".

Oh well... at least Microsoft is finally admitting that, "The Fix", ...IS in.
Posted by Had_to_be_said (384 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Read the EULA
Actually the MS laywers are one step ahead of you. I'm sure if you read all 14,000 lines of the EULA there's probably a provision or something in there that says you don't physically own the Xbox console - you're just paying an up front lifetime rental fee for it and that Microsoft actually owns the property. Your rental license of the Xbox 360 doesn't include rights to hack or otherwise modify in any shape or form, the gaming console. And if you violate this EULA, Microsoft reserves the right to take back their property at any time. So, HA!
Posted by doug526 (13 comments )
Link Flag
Really...
It isn't any different that most other things. When you buy a DVD you buy the disc not what's on it. Microsoft owns the software on your xbox and has a right to update it and protect their property from unauthorized uses.

Robert
Posted by Heebee Jeebies (632 comments )
Link Flag
Will they ever learn
Will Microsoft ever learn, their bound to be a other vulnerability sooner or later a other method of running your own software on Xbox 360. They should learn just like Sony did with PSP their no point in endlessly trying to bloke people doing this type of thing it a unwindable battle/war. So surrender, and follow the light like Sony have just allow your customer to do what ever they want to their own property. Like change Hardrive with anyother, upload linux onto PS3 so fourth.
Posted by knowles2 (1653 comments )
Reply Link Flag
There is always a way!!!
They hackers have barely begun to dissect the XBOX 360. This so called "patch", is a minor bump in the road. The firmware on the DVD drive is already hacked and once they figure out how to use retail hard drives with it, it's all over! If you can build the code, you can break it.
Posted by c40oz (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
XBOX 360 was never fully hacked!!!
and even the once who managed to crack though couldn't play on xbox live. Even without this patch only old versions of the xbox kernal were affected.
Posted by FutureGuy (742 comments )
Reply Link Flag
 

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