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Xbox 360 File System Decoded

CmdrTaco posted more than 8 years ago | from the step-in-the-right-direction dept.

XBox (Games) 225

slurpster writes "The register reports that Pi group has decoded the file system used in the Xbox 360. They write "Once you get past the protections and down to the raw bits on the disc, its just the standard xboxdvdfs, however the offset and layer breakpoint are different.""

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225 comments

fp??? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14245795)

is this the fp?

Look out (3, Funny)

kalla (254222) | more than 8 years ago | (#14245800)

Cue the legal threats in 3..2..

Re:Look out (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14245866)

It starts like 3.14...

Re:Look out (2, Insightful)

grasshoppa (657393) | more than 8 years ago | (#14246000)

I think that may be a bit high brow humor for the morning crowd.

Got me chuckling though.

same? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14246313)

it's not the same... everything has been rotated 360 degrees!

Re:Look out (4, Interesting)

IAmTheDave (746256) | more than 8 years ago | (#14245995)

Cue the legal threats in 3..2..

Ya know, it's starting to become a relatively predictable model, game systems, especially for MS. 1) Release console, 2) hackers bypass DRM, 3) someone deciphers FS, 4) ROMs released, emulators attempted, 5) Linux now runs on it, etc.

I'm wondering if, along with the release of a game system, Microsoft and other companies don't have legal offenses prepared in advance, so that the pounce-factor on those that break the FS/DRM schemes is near immediate. Would make sense, since it's almost guarenteed that someone will break it, and they'll get threatened/sued.

Re:Look out (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14246184)

Yes, definitly enough to establish a pattern. MS have only released one console you know? Well, two, but the 360 is still in the hacking stage of the pattern I'm pretending not to acknowledge.

Re:Look out (1)

robgamble (925419) | more than 8 years ago | (#14246326)

I don't even know why MS makes an attempt to obscure the machine. It's common knowledge that the XBox is a suped-up PC with dedicated packaging. Even the consumers who aren't programmers and /.'ers know this.

Re:Look out (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14246397)

I'm sure Microsoft isn't threatened by a handful of hackers that want to run Linux on the Xbox 360, they want to avoid the pirates and the cheaters hacking the system. It takes a special breed of dork to buy a $400 Xbox 360 and mess around with it until it runs Linux.. 99% of the rest of the people would take that $400 and just buy a PC.

Re:Look out (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14246020)

1..ARRGGGHHHH.. MELTING

Took that long? (2, Interesting)

GatorMan (70959) | more than 8 years ago | (#14245802)

I hope MS DRM in future products is this unbreakable...psshh

Re:Took that long? (5, Insightful)

Elixon (832904) | more than 8 years ago | (#14245854)

There will be always more clever people out there then those employed in various corporations...

The motivation is the key. Salary is a motivation but the fun is bigger motivation. :-)

The word "unbreakable" should not be used anymore. (Only liars from marketing departments use it :-)

Re:Took that long? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14246003)

Except google. They are hiring all of the clever people, and giving them enough time to do fun stuff on the side during company time.

Re:Took that long? (2)

Kent Simon (760127) | more than 8 years ago | (#14246153)

There will be always more clever people out there then those employed in various corporations...

That is a bit misleading. It takes a lot more work to design something hard to break, and to be sure that it is hard to break, than to actually break something.
security is always a losing battle because the ammount of work put in to make something 'unbreakable' is often exponentially larger than the ammount of time taken to find a small mistake.

I hope not. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14246124)

I hope Microsoft finds an unbreakable piracy prevention system; one that completely stops pirated copies of Windows and Office; one that finaly forces everyone who wants to use Microsoft products to pay for them.

That day, and not before, will FOSS be on the path for 'World Domination': most people, when considering alternatives to Microsoft products, do not take into account license fees, because they have no intention to pay for them; as long as Windows / Office can be easily obtained for free, FOSS will be at a dissadvantage.

Re:I hope not. (1)

heinousjay (683506) | more than 8 years ago | (#14246474)

Most people don't pirate things. Don't confuse your lack of morality for a general lack.

Re:Took that long? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14246173)

DRM? Who said anything about DRM? What are you talking about? Oh, sorry, its Microsoft...bash away! hehe, I love Slashdot!

Re:Took that long? (5, Funny)

Ankou (261125) | more than 8 years ago | (#14246374)

Its probably becuase they only had 30 minutes at a time to work on it before it overheated ;)

Re:Took that long? (1)

monsted (6709) | more than 8 years ago | (#14246670)

If you read the article, you'd know that it wasn't the DRM that was broken, but just the file system layout.

It does open up the stage for people who actually want to start working on breaking DRM.

Uhh? (-1, Troll)

timmerk15 (753792) | more than 8 years ago | (#14245804)

I didn't know this was a secret.. it's in the dev docs for the xbox 360.. search the net for them --- Free stuff without getting the referrals? http://referralaccelerated.com/ [referralaccelerated.com]

Re:Uhh? (0)

timmerk15 (753792) | more than 8 years ago | (#14246029)

By the way, sorry for the link being on the same line.. it was suppose to be like a signature, but I guess slashdot removes '\n's. I should have used Preview :-)

Re:Uhh? (0, Flamebait)

BMonger (68213) | more than 8 years ago | (#14246149)

Then why not put it in your signature? Just curious as I've noticed this has been becoming a smallish trend on /.

Re:Uhh? (1)

richardablitt (897338) | more than 8 years ago | (#14246611)

Might be for the benefit of those who turn off signatures.

Re:Uhh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14246079)

Are the dev docs legally available without an NDA? Or were you just trying to get your spam link modded up?

Re:Uhh? (2, Interesting)

timmerk15 (753792) | more than 8 years ago | (#14246115)

No, of course you need a NDA.. I'm just saying they can be "had" if you look hard enough. Same with the iPod dev NDA docs. Both are very interesting.

Parent Overrated (2, Interesting)

Lord Byron II (671689) | more than 8 years ago | (#14246176)

Why is the parent post modded at +5?? He's just trying to get ppl to sign up for a MLM scheme.

Re:Parent Overrated (-1)

timmerk15 (753792) | more than 8 years ago | (#14246361)

No, I really wasn't. The site is new, which is why it wasn't in my sig. But now it is. Sorry for confusion.

Mirror (0)

un1xl0ser (575642) | more than 8 years ago | (#14245809)

Oh come on now. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14245871)

I'm sure the Register can handle a slashdotting.

What's with this 404 error?

how? (5, Interesting)

mistersooreams (811324) | more than 8 years ago | (#14245814)

I've always wondered how you actually go about understanding a file system with absolutely no documentation. I realise in this case that they just had to circumvent some DRM-style file protection, but that still leaves the question of how xboxdvdfs came to be understood in the first place. Does anyone know how they do this? Little to my surprise, the article offers no details.

Re:how? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14245872)

yeah, it's surprising the people at the register don't know how to reverse-engineer a filesystem

Re:how? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14245875)

Here's how I'm guessing (though I really have no idea): Look for an area in the data with strings that may represent file names. Once these are found, look at the data in between the strings for pointers to other parts of the data and follow them.

Re:how? (5, Insightful)

SigILL (6475) | more than 8 years ago | (#14245892)

I've always wondered how you actually go about understanding a file system with absolutely no documentation.

Well, you know the contents of the files as well as their names, right? So you can use a simple text search to figure out where on the disk the contents are placed. Then you look for structures on the disk that appear to point to these contents.

You can for example figure out the size of a directory entry by looking for the amount of characters between successive file names. After that, things like file size and other metadata can usually be readily detected.

There's admittedly some guesswork involved. That's why official documentation is always preferrable to something that's reverse engineered.

Encryption? (3, Interesting)

Mattygfunk1 (596840) | more than 8 years ago | (#14245951)

Will this mean that if processor and read latency speeds are acceptible, that the file system could be encrypted in future versions?

__
Adult Funny Video Clips from Laugh Daily [laughdaily.com]

Re:Encryption? (1)

SigILL (6475) | more than 8 years ago | (#14245994)

From TFA I understood that that was already the case. But if it isn't, then yeah, sure, why not?

Re:Encryption? (1)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 8 years ago | (#14246015)

You would still have to encrypt the disk in discreet little chunks because you certainly wouldn't want to read and decrpyt the entire contents in one go and decrypt it all just so you can view a track listing.
There must be some structure to these discreet blocks, so even if you cannot get the contents within, you can hand these blocks onto a secondary team who can attack the algorythm.

Once you realise this and the fact the key MUST be stored either somewhere on the disk, or on the player itself (else how would it know how to decrypt it..) the decryption comes something like deCSS, ie painless.

I'm quite certain encrypted drives are only a real problem if the key is user set.

Re:Encryption? (1)

z0idberg (888892) | more than 8 years ago | (#14246475)

If the processor and memory were capable of fast enough encryption/decryption then you are sacrificing gains in performance in other areas.

e.g. if the next X-Box generation has the next generation chips/memory/architecture but the games perform only as well as the last X-Box because it uses all those advances to encrypt/decrypt the file system would you buy it? and if so why?!?

Re:how? (5, Interesting)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 8 years ago | (#14245932)

There's a lot of trial and error involved, but mainly it's a matter of understanding how it's been done in the past and how it could be done.

You start by looking for signs of things you know should exist. It's Microsoft, so they would probably use a file system along the lines of one they already use, like FAT or NTFS. Look for signs like a file table and figure out how they stored the information regarding where things are placed.

With some trial and error, you can determine exactly how things are placed there, and what format is used to describe them. (Meta data.) After you understand the meta data, you write a program to let you access it easier and then you start understanding the data.

I'm not guessing at any of this. This is exactly the process I used to write my Sims skn2obj converter a few years back. Maxis was very very tight-lipped on everything and wouldn't even respond to eep2 or I. He pointed out how close it looked to OBJ format and I took it from there. It turned out the format was relatively close, but there was a lot of extra data that obj didn't handle and everything had been rotated and transformed.

Anywhere, as always, it's a ton of work and guesswork both. (Very rewarding, though, once you get it.)

As for how to break encryption... I assume it's along the same lines, but I've never even tried it.

Re:how? (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 8 years ago | (#14245964)

You look for recognizable structures. For instance, if you have some idea of the filenames involved, you might start looking for those in a mixed hex/ASCII dump, then start trying to figure what the numbers before and after the filename mean.

In analyzing these numbers, you try to see emerging patterns that represent data structure. One 64-bit number might refer to a location in a FAT table, or it might refer to something like an inode, another might contain a date/time stamp. Some other numbers might represent a files attributes or permissions. It's about making educated guesses. It helps if you have some way of reading back the data structure -- either through a program that reads the filesystem or in this case, the Xbox itself. That way you can start playing with different values and see what effect that they have when read back.

Re:how? (4, Informative)

tpgp (48001) | more than 8 years ago | (#14245980)

I've always wondered how you actually go about understanding a file system with absolutely no documentation.

From Wikipedias Reverse Engineering Page [wikipedia.org]
Reverse engineering of software can be accomplished by various methods. The three main groups of software reverse engineering are:

      1. Analysis through observation of information exchange, most prevalent in protocol reverse engineering, which involve using bus analyzers and packet sniffers for example for listening into a computer bus or computer network connection, revealing the traffic data underneath. Behaviour on the bus or network can then be analyzed for producing a stand-alone implementation that mimics the same behaviour. This is especially good for reverse engineering of device drivers.
      2. Disassembly using a disassembler, meaning the raw machine language of the program is read and understood in its own terms, only with the aid of machine language mnemonics. This works on any computer program but can take quite some time, especially for someone not used to machine code.
      3. Decompilation using a decompiler, a process that tries, with varying result, to recreate the source code in some high level language for a program only available in machine code.
I suspect that methods 1 and 2 would have been most useful for the original xbox dvd filesystem.

If your filesystem is writable, you can try:

      1. Look at the volume with a hex editor
      2. Perform some operation, e.g. create a file
      3. Use the hex editor to look for changes
      4. Classify and document the changes
      5. Repeat steps 1-4 forever

(from The linux ntfs faq [sourceforge.net]

Re:how? (0)

Kildjean (871084) | more than 8 years ago | (#14246171)

That is why there are hackers and they are normal peeps... ;)

Re:how? (1)

dascandy (869781) | more than 8 years ago | (#14246341)



- Take the file, determine (guess) the header size
- Note a bunch of values in hex, BCD and binary that could be useful. If it's an ancient Unix file, add octal notation. These things include the header size guess, the file size, a guess of an average content size etc.
- Guess what the values could mean, taking note of offsets.
- Try to fish out stuff behind the header by looking at repetitions, and determine block structure for those blocks. Determine how to find them from the header (jumping through headers, constant offset, encoded offset)
- When you can't find a direct relation, try with a constant offset from the found address. Microsoft (yep, I've been doing some myself in the past) used to love a 20 byte offset in the pointers.
- Deconstruct the entire file that way, recursively
- Know existing filetypes, preferably by heart. When you see 0xFF 0xC0, you should know that it's possibly a JPEG header. Same for text "GIF89a", bitmap headers and so on. For Microsoft embedded JPEGs, also expect 0xFF 0xD1 and RGB encoded JPG's (yes, that's horror. All things that may be named .jpeg are actually JFIF files, which requires CMY encoding).
- Write down your guesses multiple times, use markers and a laser printer, and don't mind the looks on your co-workers if they see you pondering over a hex output for over an hour.

Wrong bet... (5, Funny)

halleluja (715870) | more than 8 years ago | (#14245815)

Darn. I voted for FAT12!

Re:Wrong bet... (1)

kerplunk1984 (871218) | more than 8 years ago | (#14246431)

i voted for fat360

eat my cock content filter (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14245816)

welcome to last week, faggots

Important to Note (5, Insightful)

MeanderingMind (884641) | more than 8 years ago | (#14245823)

The article notes that this in an of itself is only a step in the long march towards all those crazy things people have done with the original Xbox.

An important step, but only a step.

Don't get too excited, it will be a few months yet before any underworld homebrew applications are running.

Re:Important to Note (1, Funny)

spicydragonz (837027) | more than 8 years ago | (#14245839)

I can't wait for a beowulf cluster of XBox 360s to take over the world!

Re:Important to Note (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14246330)

I can't wait for a beowulf cluster of XBox 360s to take over the world!

If by "take over" you mean "melt", then yeah, I can't wait either.

Re:Important to Note (1)

hoshino (790390) | more than 8 years ago | (#14245842)

And a few hours that before you can rip 360 discs to your Xbox HD and play off the ISO file directly.

Re:Important to Note (1)

wild_berry (448019) | more than 8 years ago | (#14246322)

If only you could swap the HDD for one of a respectable size: the 20GB disk supplied at the moment can't hold more than three 4.7 GB DVD's. I also suspect that ISO isn't the correct terminology for an XBOX 306 disk image...

Re:Important to Note (2, Interesting)

Lauritz (146326) | more than 8 years ago | (#14245878)

My guess is that the ps3 will have come out, including a linux devkit, before the xbox360 is broken so much that it is usefull.

Re:Important to Note (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 8 years ago | (#14245910)

Yeah, the xbox may store its games in this format, but it must be able to read the standard DVD file system if it is to play DVD movies. I'm sure if a mod chip comes out, it will have the ability to transfer the files to your computer over the wireless network, and play games off standard DVDs

Re:Important to Note (1)

Yst (936212) | more than 8 years ago | (#14245962)

The article notes that this in an of itself is only a step in the long march towards all those crazy things people have done with the original Xbox.

And if (as a worst case scenario) attempts to impliment NTFS5 under Linux are any example of just how incredibly nuanced the implimentation of a file system can be (though a very different case, obviously), one is compelled to observe that understanding the basics of a file system can be just one step on an absurdly long path towards fuller support and exposure of all the finer details.

Tape does it again (5, Funny)

rharder (218037) | more than 8 years ago | (#14245846)

It turns out the DRM was stimied by putting electrical tape on the disc.

Owww arr Bill Gates... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14245873)

Excuse me but Mr Gates is not stupid.

Piracy sells consoles which in turn sells games = market share.

He wants people to pirate games, simple as.

Re:Owww arr Bill Gates... (3, Interesting)

Obvius (779709) | more than 8 years ago | (#14245879)

Not if they're selling the consoles at a loss to recoup the investment on games.

Re:Owww arr Bill Gates... (4, Insightful)

dreamchaser (49529) | more than 8 years ago | (#14245905)

How would selling something at a loss help to offset investment? They sell it at a loss in order to spur sales, so they can sell the games. The money is made from the games, and that profit is what recoups the investment.

Sure, I guess you could say 'Well if they gave it away for free they'd recoup that much less', but the point is that they do not sell them at a loss in order to recoup anything. It is to drive sales, plain and simple.

Re:Owww arr Bill Gates... (1)

bob2cam (90501) | more than 8 years ago | (#14245934)

Absolutely. Piracy helps keep the Penquin from soaring with the eagle and X-Box will eventually take the market lead.

Re:Owww arr Bill Gates... (2, Interesting)

Obvius (779709) | more than 8 years ago | (#14245957)

Well that was my point entirely, I'm sorry if it didn't come across that way. Why encourage piracy when the investment is recouped through sales of games?

Re:Owww arr Bill Gates... (1)

Carrot007 (37198) | more than 8 years ago | (#14246054)

Casual Piracy.

the hardcore pirate would only buy the system if it is cracked, they would never buy any games.

However cracking the system still could sell more games though casual piracy. If someone knows the machine is cracked they may have more incentive to get it. Average joe however might only occasionally get pirate games off someone he knows so therefore may still actually buy games. Several people with cracked xbox 1's fall into this catagory. They have a lot of copies and a lot of originals.

Me I'll stick to my PC for gaming.

Re:Owww arr Bill Gates... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14245987)

But why would you buy the games if you can pirate them for free?

Re:Owww arr Bill Gates... (1)

mastertigurius (929730) | more than 8 years ago | (#14246071)

Considering that Microsoft lost money for each and every Xbox-console they sold, and the fact that most people who chip their console choose to download games, I'd say that Mr.Gates doesn't like the pirates very much.

Does anyone know approximately how many percent of the sold Xboxes that have been chipped?

Think more evilly (5, Interesting)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 8 years ago | (#14246351)

Every x-box game played is not a PS2 game played. There is one tiny little difference between Sony/Nintendo and MS. MS doesn't need to make a profit on the x-box/360. With its cash cows windows and Office it can afford to loose money on an awfull lot of other product lines and has.

Why is MS in the console market in the first place? Lets not forget that the x-box is directly competing with MS own product windows. Yes windows is a game platform as well and MS itself produces games for that platform. Exclusive games even that are not available on consoles not even its own. They are still doing it now even with the arrival of the 360.

I think the entire reason is that MS is desperate to spread out its wings. Focussing on one or two key products wich make all your money leaves you incredibly vulnerable to changes. Bill Gates probably knows like nobody else how easy it is to replace the market leader in the Word processing/Spreadsheet market or even the OS market. You youngesters may not know this but there was a day when suggesting you buy MS for a business enviroment had roughly the same reaction as suggesting linux a few years ago.

One of MS dreams has been to get a share (the lionshare) of the mythical living room entertainment hub whatever that maybe. At the moment the PC usually stands in the corner if it isn't banned to the bedroom or some pokey hobbyroom. The Internet TV was one attempt at getting the PC into the living room. It bombed but the idea remained and the very popular consoles are now being seen as the next battleground as to who will control the living room.

iTunes if anything has proven that there is a point. How many people here run iTunes because they bought an iPod? Would you have used iTunes if you bought say a Zen instead? Might it be possible that if you owned the living room entertainment center to then put something like iTunes on it and control the distribution of digital media into the living room? Can you say commercial wetdream?

The x-box was not an attempt to beat sony at making a good game console. It was an attempt to control peoples entertainment. The 360 is the same. The battle is on for who own the living room PC, the desktop PC has been won. Why do you think Sony actually sold a linux extension to their PS2? Because they are such nice people who like the whole opensource movement? Or because they are experimenting with turning their game consoles into a more PC like device.

I seen rumours about the PS3 actually running linux as either its core operating OS or at least being capable of doing so for certain tasks. If you look at the design of the cell processor it certainly seems designed far more for multitasking, essential for a desktop not for gaming.

What would happen if people actually could really surf the net (or better a subset of the net filled with your own sales channels) and everything else via their entertainment center? Oh I am not talking about people here but those people who have only got an old virus and spyware laden 98 15" CRT machine in the bedroom and a shiny new PS3/360 in their living room hooked up the a widescreen HD. It certainly seems to have MS worried that it might not be their logo on the software.

So MS doesn't care about profits. Yet. It cares about nobody but them owning this "new" market. Wether they are right or not and wether they succeed or not does not matter. They believe it is a battle to be fought same as for the Internet TV and same as with PDA's and same as with Mobile Phones. Internet TV bombed all around, PDA's MS sorta kinda won and mobile phones is unique because the phone makers do NOT want MS to muzzle in on their business.

Sony too must be smart enough to realize that MS is its true enemy, nintendo is just a competitor but MS is out to destroy it. But sony despite having a far wider customer base then MS is doing very badly. Some people even suggest that the PS2 might have won in sales numbers but it just hasn't made Sony the kind of money it needs.

So MS has the simple option of winning by default. It worked before. Was MS software that good or was it that you could easily take a copy from work and install it at home that led to the wide adoption of its software? It has been suggested in the history of C (programming language) and Unix itself that those products being given away free to universities and its students helped them become accepted despite superior competitors. Why should the same not have worked for MS. Oh they didn't give it away free, they just never checked wether you had a legit copy. Until they achieved 100% market share.

As for you last question. I do know that during lunch or at the watercooler there is an awfull lot of "trade" in ripped games so much that some workplaces even forbid it from being done on their premises. At least in holland I would say a significant number. Then again the local shopping center had a shop that openly advertised with the selling and installing of modchips for over a year. They now replaced it with a "repair" service sign nudge nudge wink wink.

Re:Owww arr Bill Gates... (1)

Kildjean (871084) | more than 8 years ago | (#14246103)

Everytime he sells a console he looses $100 bucks.... if people buy the console, but dont buy the game he is loosing money BIGTIME. Do your math now...

Re:Owww arr Bill Gates... (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14246307)

loose, adj. Not fastened, restrained, or contained.

lose, v. tr. To be unsuccessful in retaining possession of; mislay.

Know the difference!

Re:Owww arr Bill Gates... (1)

Pneuma ROCKS (906002) | more than 8 years ago | (#14246393)

There will always be people who will want to purchase the original games, be it because they don't condone piracy, or they like the art on the booklet and DVD, they don't have the time/skill/balls to mod their system, or simply because they like having the original better. Mass distribution of games, even pirated ones, increase the popularity of both the games and console. Otherwise, more sophisticated and probably user unfriendly ways of protecting content would be implemented.

Re:Owww arr Bill Gates... (1)

Kildjean (871084) | more than 8 years ago | (#14246618)

I have a modded Xbox, reason i modded it was to take my games to lanparty's and not bohther about loosing the cd's. My point is that regardless how much piracy can make a product stand, it cn also take a product down. Microsoft sells 1,000,000 consoles but they loose 100 bucks in that, you know how much money that is?that is 100 million bucks lost. Im sure if you were in the other end of the desk, you would have a stroke by now. Hey if everyone wants to piate games go right ahead... but dont tel me that because you pirate something the industry gets any richer. Until Microsoft or Sony or Nintendo, make a console where they at least make .01 cents (at least) they are loosing if we dont buy their games. If we pirate the games they dont win anything....

Re:Owww arr Bill Gates... (1)

Virtualtaco (848235) | more than 8 years ago | (#14246221)

I used to agree with you. Then I thought about it. Piracy may push up console sales a litte bit in internet culture, but the internet culture (namely console hacking website users) no longer holds majority on who buys consoles. The 360 was unveiled on MTV! It doesn't get more mainstream. If piracy boosts sales, why has no EASILY hackable system been successful ever? Bottem line, software makes money, any software being run on a videogame system that you are not trading money for is software that these companies don't want run on your system. If you use my system, you run my software, and you give me money for it. That's how they think.

Re:Owww arr Bill Gates... (1)

HaydnH (877214) | more than 8 years ago | (#14246555)

If piracy boosts sales, why has no EASILY hackable system been successful ever?

The PC game market is very "hackable" and there's loads of piracy - correct me if I'm wrong but this market seems very successful!

Hacking The Mainframe (-1)

pHatidic (163975) | more than 8 years ago | (#14245919)

Those fuckers hacked the fucking mainframe.

First DVD Jon hacked the mainframe.

Now Pi is hacking the mainframe.

The mainframe has been hacked once more, bitches!

huh? (5, Interesting)

the computer guy nex (916959) | more than 8 years ago | (#14245923)

"Don't get too excited, it will be a few months yet before any underworld homebrew applications are running."

The first xbox took about a year for the first mod chips. Right now people are doing the easy part and deciphering how everything runs.

The hard part is how to get unauthorized code to run. This part involves bypassing systems bios and installing a compatible version over the top that the system cannot detect. This could take a few years.

Re:huh? (4, Insightful)

DrXym (126579) | more than 8 years ago | (#14246001)

The hard part is how to get unauthorized code to run. This part involves bypassing systems bios and installing a compatible version over the top that the system cannot detect. This could take a few years.

And if MS have learnt anything from the likes of the PSP (as they undoubtedly have). Any exploit will be quickly patched, either when you install a new game or next go online.

Re:huh? (1)

Jarlsberg (643324) | more than 8 years ago | (#14246111)

It may be Sony that learned from MS, seeing as this is how the original Xbox has operated since day one. You can't update modded xboxes that are locked against updates. You can, however, deny them access to Live, which is exactly what MS did.

Re:huh? (2, Interesting)

poind3xt3r (890661) | more than 8 years ago | (#14246012)

Perhaps this is bills tactic? Release XBOX360 a year before PS3. By the time PS3 hits 360 will be "cracked" (hoefully) -> Surge in 360 sales -> Death of Sony. Just a shot-in-the-dark

Re:huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14246507)

"cracked" (hoefully)

Can you dislose the procedure for opening a XBox360 with a hoe? Inquiring minds want to know...

Re:huh? (1)

quanticle (843097) | more than 8 years ago | (#14246535)

Release XBOX360 a year before PS3. By the time PS3 hits 360 will be "cracked" (hoefully) -> Surge in 360 sales -> Death of Sony.

Except for the fact that Microsoft is taking ~$100 loss on every XBox sold. They are relying on games to recoup that loss. Since having a cracked system presumably allows you to play cracked games, I expect Microsoft to be coming down on these hardware mods in order to prevent proliferation of cracked games.

neato (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14245945)

so...they have gotten past the protections ? isnt that the most important part anyway ?

Am i missing something or does that not mean that a mod chip is imminent ? Increased power and the ability the do stuff i want to ? well, this can only mean good news for the xbox 360 sales.

make better games that gamers want and the games sell too , now that the consoles are bought anyways...

Re:neato (4, Interesting)

matth1jd (823437) | more than 8 years ago | (#14246337)

Copy protections on the discs themselves is just one part of the much larger puzzle. As someone pointed out earlier you have to be able to get unsigned code to run on the machine. While this was fairly easy to accomplish on the original Xbox, the Xbox 360 is supposed to be a trusted computing platform. It looks as though there's alot to overcome in getting unsigned code to run.

You can checkout Xbox Scene [xbox-scene.com] , or Free60.org [free60.org] for information.

Re:neato (1)

dioscaido (541037) | more than 8 years ago | (#14246764)

Well, apparently the CPU contains hardware for the "trusted computing platform" on-die which restricts what the CPU will allow to execute. So writing on the disk is probably the easy part.

i want linux on my xbox 360!!! (0, Redundant)

claus.rosito (913183) | more than 8 years ago | (#14246009)

let's bet how long does it take... my bet: in 6 months we will have it running.

Re:i want linux on my xbox 360!!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14246243)

I have no idea, although I bet * * Beatles-Beatles will be the first to tell us...

just waiting for the mod chip (0)

PrescriptionWarning (932687) | more than 8 years ago | (#14246019)

my preciousssssssss

Not again ! (4, Funny)

4Dmonkey (936872) | more than 8 years ago | (#14246023)

A reliable source from Pi 'research' group later told press repoters that minutes after removing the DRM encoding, 'researchers' were surprised to see that it resembled Dos 6.2 by almost 97.5%, except it occupied 548% more memory.

Re:Not again ! (1)

Minwee (522556) | more than 8 years ago | (#14246934)

"it resembled Dos 6.2 by almost 97.5%, except it occupied 548% more memory."

It's Windows 95?

Dosen't matter (1)

Big Bad Hoss (833679) | more than 8 years ago | (#14246042)

Dosen't really matter, all of the content is still encrypted. It will take MUCH MUCH more time to crack it this time around. MS spent big bucks on the protection.

Re:Dosen't matter (1)

bots (671566) | more than 8 years ago | (#14246208)

Well they better hurry up cause im not buying a 360 until they are easy to mod.

Re:Dosen't matter (1)

aeric67 (871847) | more than 8 years ago | (#14246638)

Sony spent big bucks on their protection too and a felt tip marker completely defeated it. Big buck does not equal big return.

The whole concept of protection is flawed (5, Interesting)

DrYak (748999) | more than 8 years ago | (#14246706)

Except this kind of protection is completly wrong, no matter how much buck you throw at it.
- It's the same as with DVD, etc. : You've got the content, the decryption key and everything required in the same place.
Data may be encrypted in an Xbox, but ultimately, the XBox has to start-up, decrypt, and run decrypted code.
The content virtually exist in an unencrypted form.

Good protection relies on secret.
When you transmit encrypted e-mails they are much more secure because an encrypted e-mail per-se doesn't contain everything needed to decrypt it. The XBox does.

This is only "traing to keep things hidden from user" and is pointless.
It'll get cracked, no matter how much bucks MS spent on it.

Unless XBoxes where to commit suicide and nuke the whole place if they find the slighest error (errors likely to show that somone is reverse-engeneering and trying to feed constructed data to see reaction), it's hard for Microsoft to stop anyone with decent tools to try to reverse-engeneer their conoles.

The console just got out.... (5, Funny)

Kildjean (871084) | more than 8 years ago | (#14246192)

Jesus, the console is barely a month old and you people are already thinking in doing something else with it? Could we enjoy it til January 2006 before you start contemplating doing OS changes, putting hamsters to roll on a cage, adding fish, dressing it as barbie to play "tea party"... ;)

Re:The console just got out.... (1)

stunt_penguin (906223) | more than 8 years ago | (#14246848)

Dude, people were champing at the bit to do this in May of this year, never mind this month. There'll always be a community out there that wants to do this stuff immediately, just because they can.

The Real Deal (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14246195)

Firstly, the Register article (and /. summary) is useless. They're just high-level summaries. The details (the meat, if you like) are here: http://www.xbox-scene.com/xbox1data/sep/EEFuplVllV IYuZHGfq.php [xbox-scene.com]

Now, for the problem. Team Pi have released an open-source extractor FOR THEIR ALREADY-DECODED IMAGES. They have NOT released an open-source decoder for turning DVDs into images.

Why is that? I believe they probably haven't fully reverse-engineered the encryption yet. They've just cracked the raw disk driver or some other part of the XBOX360 operating system, so that it performs the decryption for them (MS's code) and saves the result to hard disk.

Needless, it won't be long before there's a public utility to run on a hacked 360 or devkit that does the same thing, then eventually someone will do the hard part - fully reverse-engineering the encryption.

Obviously Slashdot again is a bunch of n00bs (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14246220)

This info was posted on xbox-scene almost a week ago i think. Also this means almost nothing. The hypervisor which check the kernels mode is more important and more diffcult to beat that most htings we *Hackers no slashdots community* have every seen. Stop whining and pay for a fine piece of hardware and the software to run on it. its not that bad when you think about the quality of the games. If you bitch aout the quality of th games get a gamefly account and try out everything im just sick of whiney kids who wants everything for free.

Re:Obviously Slashdot again is a bunch of n00bs (0, Flamebait)

mc900ftjesus (671151) | more than 8 years ago | (#14246883)

Over half of the launch titles are sequels or updated sports titles, I guess your definition of quality means better eye candy. My definition is innovative gameplay, not better tackling animations or race cars that show damage or a new better looking shotgun.

In a few years, you'll get tired of the "Hollywood" flash-over-substance model and you'll say the same thing. But hey, enjoy your underclocked Radeon and the avalanche of sequels at $60/each.

Fair use (1)

omeg (907329) | more than 8 years ago | (#14246234)

Isn't dumping ISO files of your disks considered "fair use"?

Re:Fair use (1)

SQFreak (844876) | more than 8 years ago | (#14246832)

Not if they're copy protected. Breaking copy protection is a violation of the DMCA.

Nothing new.. Big Shock... (-1, Troll)

WickedLogic (314155) | more than 8 years ago | (#14246253)

Where you expecting something new and innovative? Same old stuff w/ new locks and gates, that about sums up Microsoft products for the last decade.

Dumb & Duper (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14246616)

It's amazing, like any other clueless readers, the register didn't even bother to read the nfos :

source code for a utility that allows discs' files to be extracted and displayed as raw data.

The utility runs on a PC, apparently, but Xbox 360 DVDs are incompatible with PC DVD drives.

No, the utility released can't dump the content of 360 discs to HDD,
the utility can extract the *files* from the disc *dumps*.

Pi released this utility *AND* full raw dumps of 360 discs.
But the method for dumping discs was *NOT* disclosed.
They released this utility so that you can actually DO something with those dumps: you can extract the files on your pc hdd and fiddle with them...

What's funny is that they wanted to put 'RAW' somewhere, as the dumps are raw images, but i assume they put it randomly in their article..

BTW, this was previously covered on slahdot [slashdot.org] and the most dumb^H^H^H^Hcomplete thread is at xbox-scene [xbox-scene.com]

Authors in violation of the DMCA and (1)

crovira (10242) | more than 8 years ago | (#14246733)

can expect the FBI on their doorstep for violating trade secrets.

A representative said:

  "Users don't need to know the details."
  "This was clearly done by terrorists and hackers."
  "We will find you, and we w_i_l_l kill you"

That all she wrote. :-)

XBox "Live" Watchdog??? (5, Funny)

UttBuggly (871776) | more than 8 years ago | (#14246865)

I wonder if the 360 sends any "help me, I've been raped and pillaged" data to XBox Live?

At which point your $400-1000 console goes tits up.

MS certainly knows how people got inside the original XBox and it seems EVERY 360 game, multiplayer or not, "reports" scores and achievements to Live.

Seems like a cool feature and all, but it could very well be some crafty social engineering.

Given Sony's recent rootkit debacle, it isn't too much of stretch to believe Uncle Bill had the boys put in a "phone home and tattle" capability.

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