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XBox (Games) Linux Games

Xbox 360 Reset Hack Yields Unsigned Code Execution 177

Posted by Soulskill
from the let's-see-if-microsoft-pulls-a-sony dept.
walshy007 writes "A new exploit has been shown which allows unsigned code execution on the Xbox 360 for all current models. It functions by pulsing the reset pin at a critical time during the checksumming/crypto boot process. The exploit enables the running of Xell, a boot loader which facilitates the running of Linux, amongst other programs."
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Xbox 360 Reset Hack Yields Unsigned Code Execution

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  • Finally! (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Now I can run Windows on my 360!
    • Re:Finally! (Score:5, Funny)

      by Pseudonym Authority (1591027) <SammyKake@@@gmail...com> on Thursday September 01, 2011 @12:33AM (#37272092)
      I'm installing ReactOS as we speak!
  • That reminds me of the old Atari 2600, how if you hit the "select" switch at just the right moment after power-up or reset, you could add an extra "bullet" to Space Invaders, and really rack up scores! The normal game only allowed one bullet to be on screen at a time, so having two was a significant advantage.

    • Because I assume the code as written could only handle one bullet at a time. I doubt they put in extra memory locations and support code for more "just in case someone hit select at power-up".

      • by Haven (34895)

        Any marginally complex computer program has the possibility of exhibiting nearly any behavior given the correct environmental parameters.

        Bugs never behave like you imagine they should, and there are always bugs in any computer system.

      • by Hatta (162192)

        The Atari 2600 was a glorified pong machine. It had hardware features to do things like mirror sprites.

      • by Jiro (131519)

        It had a two player game, so it could handle two bullets, just not from the same player. Perhaps resetting the machine convinced it to allow one player to shoot both bullets.

  • Does this open the door to put XBMC back on the XBox?

    • I suppose that's something I hadn't considered. Given the availability of DLNA/UPnP clients on everything from consoles to toasters these days, I'm not sure it's all that necessary, but that would be cool.

    • by Alarash (746254)
      Back with the original Xbox, its (relative) small form factor and power for the time made it a great media center that's true, and I'm glad this gave us XMBC.

      However nowadays you get video hardware acceleration chips, low-power dual core CPUs and all you need to run a media center for less than $200, in a case much smaller than an Xbox (even the new, slim one), much less power consumption and much less noise. I'm running XMBC on Ubuntu Server using an Asus S1-AT5NM10E [asus.com] (the mouthful) witch tops at 2% CPU
      • by Gordonjcp (186804)

        Because when there's nothing worth watching you can still play GTA:San Andreas.

      • However nowadays you get video hardware acceleration chips, low-power dual core CPUs and all you need to run a media center for less than $200

        Including the price of an operating system license?

        I'm running XMBC on Ubuntu Server using an Asus S1-AT5NM10E (the mouthful) witch tops at 2% CPU when displaying a 1080p/DTS movie.

        How much CPU does it use when playing a video game? The advantage of buying an Xbox 360 over building an HTPC is that an Xbox 360 plays Xbox 360 games that don't make it to the PC in addition to watching video.

        • by Alarash (746254)
          As I was saying, I run XBMC on Ubuntu Server, which actually runs better than under Windows, so the OS license fee is a moot point.

          I also happen to own an Xbox 360 to play games. I just think a HTPC is better for this than the Xbox 360 (and, therefore, the vanilla Xbox). This was not true 10 years ago when HTPC didn't really exist and the Xbox was a superior choice.
          • This was not true 10 years ago when HTPC didn't really exist

            HTPCs exist, but still not enough to matter. FunkSoulBrother, CronoCloud, and Altrag seem to be under the impression that apart from devout geeks [pineight.com], so few people have HTPCs that they might as well not exist (1 [slashdot.org] 2 [slashdot.org] 3 [slashdot.org] 4 [slashdot.org]). People are under the impression that computers are for desks and consoles are for TVs, and never the twain shall meet, according to hawguy and Endo13 (5 [slashdot.org] 6 [slashdot.org] 7 [slashdot.org]), especially when people already have enough trouble plugging in a DVD player ( 8 [slashdot.org] 9 [slashdot.org]).

  • Why? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Gojira Shipi-Taro (465802) on Wednesday August 31, 2011 @11:41PM (#37271860) Homepage

    I can already run unsigned code on any of half a dozen PCs or similar devices I have that are not the 360 and are FAR more powerful. This is interesting-ish in that it's a neat kind of hack, but really... why would I want to do this now?

    • Re:Why? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by gman003 (1693318) on Wednesday August 31, 2011 @11:48PM (#37271898)

      You're obviously not a real geek, then. Running arbitrary code on a device designed to not let you run arbitrary code is, to a geek, a worthy goal in and of itself.

      In other words, "it's not about WHY, it's about WHY NOT!".

      • I'm all about doing that if it has a purpose. I guess if there weren't PC drivers for the motion sensor gizmo it would be really cool.

        • Re:Why? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by gman003 (1693318) on Thursday September 01, 2011 @12:56AM (#37272174)

          You're still focusing on the wrong thing. The people doing this aren't doing it because they need a computer to do useful tasks. They're doing it because breaking into a system designed to keep you out is fun. Getting a decent machine (the CPU on it is actually fairly impressive, even if the graphics processor isn't that hot, and the memory system opens some interesting opportunities) is just icing on the cake.

          Some people, in their leisure time, collect stamps, others play war games, others still read ancient Greek political satire. And some people hack game consoles.

          Sure beats arguing on /.

      • by scrib (1277042)

        Thank you, Cave Johnson!

      • by tlhIngan (30335)

        Running arbitrary code on a device designed to not let you run arbitrary code is, to a geek, a worthy goal in and of itself.

        Correction - running arbitrary code on a locked-down device without using the official means.

        After all, the Xbox360 (and iOS devices) let you run unsigned code - it just costs $99. Then you can write your code and run it on those things "officially".

        Of course, the SDKs have limitations (otherwise Microsoft can't sell dev 360s for $15k each with all the necessary maintenance fees and su

      • Exactly!

        Hacking is like mountain climbing -- you do it because you can, not because you can't.

        While I don't care for mountain climbing t all, removing (copy) protection is a fun puzzle to work out. Before "kracking" became hijacked with "hacking", learning for the sake of learning was "The [Moral] Code."

        IMHO "Puzzles for Hackers" is what every computer scientist should have read, (along GEB)
        http://www.amazon.com/Puzzles-Hackers-Ivan-Sklyarov/dp/1931769451/ [amazon.com]

    • Re:Why? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 01, 2011 @12:02AM (#37271972)

      Because its your hardware, and you should have the right to do so, whether or not you have a reason to at the moment. It's about preserving that right, which seems to be going away on more and more devices over time.

      • by grumbel (592662)

        It's about preserving that right,

        If that's the intend, I am not so sure it's working out. As hacking all the closest devices just leads people to buy more of them, instead of going to open alternatives. And judging from the stuff I read around the net, it also seems to have established this expectation that no matter how locked down a device is, hackers will come to fix it, so instead of seeking free devices, people just ignore any lock down as "hackers will fix it". And well, judging by the Xbox360 that "hackers will fix it" might not be

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Umm, because it's fun?

      Jesus, what the hell has happened to this place... *sigh*

    • by exomondo (1725132)

      I can already run unsigned code on any of half a dozen PCs or similar devices I have that are not the 360 and are FAR more powerful. This is interesting-ish in that it's a neat kind of hack, but really... why would I want to do this now?

      You probably wouldn't, and they aren't saying you would or trying to market it to you or anything like that. Since when does publicizing hack yield questions like 'why would i want this'.

    • by mykos (1627575)
      Thanks for bringing me some clarity! I can run unsigned code on my computer, therefore I shouldn't need to be able to run unsigned code on my Android devices, iDevices, or Xbox 360s. I mean, what's the fucking point of running unsigned code on any other devices if I can already run it on one?
    • by X.25 (255792)

      I can already run unsigned code on any of half a dozen PCs or similar devices I have that are not the 360 and are FAR more powerful. This is interesting-ish in that it's a neat kind of hack, but really... why would I want to do this now?

      Because some people don't have half a dozen PCs or similar devices connected to their TV, eh?

    • by Saffaya (702234)

      Because the 360 is region locked and we don't feel like importing from the other side of the world via FedEx + custom tax another 360 regularly because it RRoDs or is simply bricked by Microsoft themselves ?

      I'm talking about absolutely genuine, untampered with consoles here. See 1st gen 360 and the 1GB DVD extension update.

      • by sg_oneill (159032)

        Man , I miss the days when the ACCC forced australian shops to only sell multiregion DVD plays and litigated to PROTECT modchipping , because it was necessary to protect parallell importing.

        Then we signed a useless treaty with the US that wrecked our sugar exports and in return we "won" tighter copyright controls. Dickhead conservatives :(

    • by Yuioup (452151)
      Because the xbox 360 is a pretty decent piece of hardware sold at a price the fraction of an equivalent PC.
    • by V!NCENT (1105021)

      Well you got this billion-trillion-gazillion dollar company that hires the best of the best people to make a million/billion dollar costing platform with some realy serious security that nobody is supposed to break.

      And a single guy, doing some hobby hacking, can beat that. It's like chess. He is superior. He won.

      That's why. And now he's showing the world that he is smarter than the guys who even gone so far as too make the CPU burn its own key. It's like sport, for nerds.

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      You can get a used 360 with a bad optical drive for next to nothing, and it has three PowerPC chips and a fairly decent GPU in it. You can get big used glass TVs for next to nothing. I think you see where I'm going with this and that's just one example.

      didn't sgidoom let you use multiple displays (or did you need multiple computers?) to get a panoramic view? I've been hoping for that kind of thing in video gaming for a while. I guess Forza has it maybe, but I'd like something a little more generalized. It s

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I refuse to buy devices where the mfg intentionally locks me out of running code I want on a device that I own. Sure, sure, these hacks appear but you have to subvert the attempts by the vendor to lock you out of your own hardware. Same for many cell phones, and with things like the iPad slowly starting to eat away at PC sales, that seems to be how personal computing is going to go. It'll end up that you can only run "approved" code on your own device to prevent "hackers" - just wait.

    I don't get why so m

    • by tlhIngan (30335)

      I don't get why so many other people don't seem to mind giving up control over their own systems. It's a war only one side is fighting.

      Depends on which "many" we're talking about. A lot of /. folks and geeks love their Android devices and can properly secure them and examine every permission bit.

      The other "many" are folk who the /. folk have to fix computers for (either as a job or "family pricing'). You know, the ones whose PCs have so much crapware running that reinstalling is necessary and the like. Thes

    • by Jmc23 (2353706)
      Um, probably because the vast majority of people buy a games console to, you know, play games.

      Out of the remainder geeks who do want to run unsigned code they really don't care about being able to run their own code, they just want aded functionality and/or bragging rights by running other people's unsigned code. An even smaller percentage of geeks buy them because of the challenge of breaking the security, finding flaws, and taking advantage of the hardware and possibly making it do things it was never

    • by exomondo (1725132)

      I refuse to buy devices where the mfg intentionally locks me out of running code I want on a device that I own.

      That's the great thing about choice.

      I don't get why so many other people don't seem to mind giving up control over their own systems.

      Because most people don't need that level of control and in fact that level of control just becomes a burden.

      It's a war only one side is fighting.

      It's not a war, it's a difference of opinion, if you want control get yourself a Nexus and a PC if not then you can opt for an iphone and an xbox.

      • if you want control get yourself a Nexus and a PC if not then you can opt for an iphone and an xbox.

        So what do I buy if I want both control and local multiplayer? Major video game companies don't make multiplayer games for home theater PCs; they make them for consoles.

        • by exomondo (1725132)

          So what do I buy if I want both control and local multiplayer?

          Buy both, not sure why you need control and local multiplayer at the same time on the same platform.

          • by tepples (727027)

            not sure why you need control and local multiplayer at the same time on the same platform.

            Because maybe my team wants to develop a video game with local multiplayer, but we don't qualify to develop for a Sony or Nintendo console.

            • by exomondo (1725132)

              Because maybe my team wants to develop a video game with local multiplayer, but we don't qualify to develop for a Sony or Nintendo console.

              You know you can do local multiplayer on a PC with no problems and you can develop it there in XNA and then run it on your xbox.

              • by tepples (727027)

                You know you can do local multiplayer on a PC with no problems

                But almost nobody else will be able to play it. Please see my reply to Anonymous Coward [slashdot.org].

                and you can develop it there in XNA

                XNA supports neither unmanaged languages nor DLR languages. In other words: "If your game allows the use of more than one controller, it must be written in C# if it is to gain any substantial audience." Do I understand you correctly?

    • by Gravatron (716477)
      It's a game console, sold with a specific set of functions, and features. Most people do not expect it to do anything more than advertised. We aren't fighting a war, because we are perfectly happy with the device as is. Not every device one buys needs to be general purpose device.
      • by tepples (727027)

        It's a game console, sold with a specific set of functions, and features. Most people do not expect it to do anything more than advertised.

        Other than get games ported to it.
        -- Why doesn't $this_game run on $that_console?
        -- Because the developer of $this_game isn't a big enough company to qualify for a license to develop for $that_console.

    • by Yfrwlf (998822)
      Thanks for that, and this is why pushing for openness to combat all that control and corporate greed is so important. Support all movements for openness!!!

      I'd like to start an open car company myself as I'm incredibly sick and tired of overpriced proprietary replacement part costs. Of course, the U.S. government might have to be overthrown first for that to happen due to the depth the existing auto companies have dug themselves into the government.
  • by AHuxley (892839) on Wednesday August 31, 2011 @11:50PM (#37271906) Homepage Journal
    Deconstructing The Xbox Security System
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9NqLljaHc80 [youtube.com]
    Xbox 360 Security System and its Weaknesses
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uxjpmc8ZIxM [youtube.com]
  • by ArchieBunker (132337) on Thursday September 01, 2011 @12:02AM (#37271978) Homepage

    For all the usual emulators to get ported. Is it really that big a deal to run a Sega Genesis emulator on your Xbox? If you want a media player then you might as well buy a netbook for around the same price but with a larger hard drive and much lower power requirements.

  • this lets you figure out the keys that are necessary to write to the optical drive firmware to pair them up again, because there are boatloads of systems out there that don't work after someone removed and lost track of the paired drive that was in it.

  • by neokushan (932374) on Thursday September 01, 2011 @04:30AM (#37272986)

    A lot of people are saying things like "ohhh, I wonder how long before emulators appear".

    FYI, this is actually the 3rd hack like this to appear for the 360. There was a first hack, the KK (King Kong) exploit that got patched quickly, then in 2009 details for a JTAG hack were released. Because of this, there's quite a few 360's running unsigned code out there and plenty of emulators for them. MAME, SNES, Genesis/MD, I believe someone even ported Final Burn Alpha. Sadly the homebrew scene wasn't quite as rampant as the PS3 homebrew scene and neither had anything on the Xbox homebrew scene, but hopefully this will breathe new life into it.

    Suffice to say, as a JTAG owner myself, it's worth it for being able to store and load all your games from a HDD. With most 360 games (full games, that is) clocking in at about 6.5GB, you don't even need a lot of space for a big collection.

  • Thanks guys. You do realise that MS will now "upgrade" all of the XBoxes to "improve service" and "enhance security"?

    And you know what that means. My save files will be corrupted, I'll probably lose at least one game plugin, and my Linux->Xbox streaming workaround will stop working around. You had to go and encourage them didn't you?

Fools ignore complexity. Pragmatists suffer it. Some can avoid it. Geniuses remove it. -- Perlis's Programming Proverb #58, SIGPLAN Notices, Sept. 1982

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