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Microsoft Banning 360 Firmware Modders?

CmdrTaco posted more than 7 years ago | from the well-it-wouldn't-surprise-me dept.

166

arcon5 writes "After several months of silence it was more or less accepted that Microsoft wasn't going to do anything about the firmware hacks that allow Xbox 360s to play backups. Rather surprising, considering the 'inventor' of the hack confirmed in March already that the mods are easily detectable, and the reports that piracy is running rampant in countries like China. It appears that Microsoft is finally taking action against them though, although they may be hitting the wrong persons." Best part of that article is the firmware chip encased in epoxy.

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166 comments

Piracy in china... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16649193)

... is also known as "market share." Fighting it is shortsighted as heck.

You want to get 500 million not-so-Red Chinese hooked on your product, and then tighten the DRM screws.

Re: Piracy in china... (1)

The_Abortionist (930834) | more than 7 years ago | (#16649359)

Similar to how P2P, pay-for newsgroups and free license generators are helping software companies?

Ahh, the slashdot dreamworld. So rosey...

Re: Piracy in china... (1)

MrAnnoyanceToYou (654053) | more than 7 years ago | (#16649761)

They are. I regularly buy software recommended to me by someone who isn't a programmer who has pirated it. I recommend it to the next fellow if it's any good. Sometimes, when I say I like software, people listen to me. I don't know why, really. Maybe I sound smrkt.

Re: Piracy in china... (1)

Overly Critical Guy (663429) | more than 7 years ago | (#16649895)

I'm going to repeat a comment I made the other day: Just because you think piracy is "free advertising" doesn't mean software companies should give up all their intellectual property and copyrights.

Re: Piracy in china... (2, Interesting)

Tweekster (949766) | more than 7 years ago | (#16650029)

Unfortunately for them, they dont get the choice in the matter.

Re: Piracy in china... (0, Offtopic)

WilliamSChips (793741) | more than 7 years ago | (#16651125)

smrkt? Is that like the Chekt?

Re: Piracy in china... (0, Offtopic)

Dun Malg (230075) | more than 7 years ago | (#16651627)

don't get smrkt with me, young man!

Re:Piracy in china... (1)

Overly Critical Guy (663429) | more than 7 years ago | (#16649945)

Piracy in china is also known as "market share."

No, it's not. Market share is a measure of percentage of annual sales, not annual piracy.

Re:Piracy in china... (2, Insightful)

doodlebumm (915920) | more than 7 years ago | (#16650519)

In many cases you are completely wrong. Market share is the percentage of people using a product. Even if they have no paid for it, the market share of users is extremely valuable. Otherwise Linux would have virtually no market share whatsoever. Nor would any other open source product, which is completely wrong.

And another point, dollars spent is a completely bogus way to look at market share as well. Ferrari and Lambourgini would have much larger market shares if dollars spent affected the market share.

If you want to get really picky here, I would put forth the idea that total time played is an very good indication of the popularity (or market share) of a game. This is not something that a board room group would really care about. But I find it much more interesting than the number of units sold per retail outlet between Nov 1 and Dec 31.

I'd like to also put forth the idea that it would probably be a great idea for a company to give a game away for free (perhaps their own pirated copy even) that was extremely popular to get people to buy their console. Once you get people buying your console, they will likely buy more games. As the original poster claims, get them hooked before you start turning the screws. Of course this would work better for a company like Nintendo that actually makes money on the sale of their console, instead of loosing money on each one, and trying to make up for that loss with game royalties, like Microsoft does.

Definitions can be very subjective things.

Re:Piracy in china... (0, Flamebait)

toleraen (831634) | more than 7 years ago | (#16652157)

In many cases you are completely wrong. Market share is the percentage of people using a product.

You're not off to a good start yourself. [google.com]

Ferrari and Lambourgini would have much larger market shares if dollars spent affected the market share.

So now higher price = higher market share? Keep in mind there's another factor in there. Units sold. How many ferraris do you see on a daily basis? Now, how many toyotas? fords? saturns? I don't have the numbers, but I'm guessing the few hundred thousand autos sold by each major manufacturer each year adds up to a bit more than the few thousand Ferraris and Lamborghinis sold. Call me silly.

I would put forth the idea that total time played is an very good indication of the popularity (or market share) of a game.

Popularity != market share. Popularity != time used. The word you're looking for is "quality".

I'd like to also put forth the idea that it would probably be a great idea for a company to give a game away for free (perhaps their own pirated copy even) that was extremely popular to get people to buy their console.

It's called shareware. These days, you might know it as a demo. Remember the Doom shareware back in the day? Probably not from the sounds of it.

Definitions can be very subjective things.

I would like to point you to a dictionary [dictionary.com] . I'd point you to your local high school too, if I knew where you lived.

Re:Piracy in china... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16650651)

If you're Microsoft, "market share" is defined as the percentage of the market that is NOT using your competitor's product.

Hence my point stands. If some random Chinese gamer has a choice between pirating Xbox360 games and buying PS3 games, Microsoft can count the former as a victory. You have to think long-term.

Banning 360 modders? (2, Funny)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 7 years ago | (#16649207)

That's a lot of modders, but it's not really that big compared to their entire subscriber base. Wonder why they bothered.

Re:Banning 360 modders? (1)

shmlco (594907) | more than 7 years ago | (#16649551)

So where's the TPM module that validates the firmware???

Re:Banning 360 modders? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16650439)

Best Line:

but that would be plain silly since MAC addresses are known not to be unique: they only need to be unique within their physical subnet.

Clearly a 733t H4x0r, he knows all about the Mac Addresses :b

You get those at a Fast Food Restaurant, w/ fries and a Coke....

Re:Banning 360 modders? (1)

HardSide (746961) | more than 7 years ago | (#16652193)

Question is why they doing this now, especially near the PS3 release, bad move on their part.

What a gloriously stupid assumption... (4, Insightful)

Quarters (18322) | more than 7 years ago | (#16649225)

"After several months of silence it was more or less accepted that Microsoft wasn't going to do anything about the firmware hacks that allow Xbox 360s to play backups..."

How naive must someone be to think that silence on the part of a corporation equates to a tacit approval for people to circumvent a piece of hardware's embedded security system in order to run pirated copies of software?

Re:What a gloriously stupid assumption... (4, Funny)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 7 years ago | (#16649869)

How naive must someone be to think that silence on the part of a corporation equates to a tacit approval for people to circumvent a piece of hardware's embedded security system in order to run pirated copies of software?

Where in that sentence you quote does it say that they thought the silence was 'tacit approval'. There's a large difference between 'not going to do anything about it' and 'tacit approval'.

I might not do anything about someone's propensity to emit noxious gas from their butthole in my presence, but that doesn't mean that I have given my 'tacit approval' for them to rip huge farts while standing in the same room with me.

Re:What a gloriously stupid assumption... (1)

kimvette (919543) | more than 7 years ago | (#16650529)

Hint: not all copies are illegal.

Backups, for example. If you buy your kids an Xbox and pay $40-$80 per game, you do not want their grubby hands on the originals, you want to give them copies and keep the originals on the shelf out of harm's way.

Re:What a gloriously stupid assumption... (1)

deathy_epl+ccs (896747) | more than 7 years ago | (#16651283)

you want to give them copies and keep the originals on the shelf out of harm's way.

<sarcasm>But... but... but, the advertisements say copying that floppy is stealing! What kind of lesson are we teaching our kids if we show them how to steal a game?!?!?</sarcasm>

Re:What a gloriously stupid assumption... (1)

Jayjr (696035) | more than 7 years ago | (#16651923)

I always love the "its to protect the originals" line of thinking/excuse. Maybe teach your children to keep their "grubby little fingers" off the 40-80 dollar toys and learn how to treat electronics with care and cleanly. Anyways most publishers will replace a scratched beyond repair disk for $5 +/-.

Re:What a gloriously stupid assumption... (2, Insightful)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 7 years ago | (#16652327)

Yeah except that copyright includes fairuse. Don't like it? Then PROPERLY LICENSE your software (e.g. have the purchaser sign an agreement when they buy a copy of the game...).

Re:What a gloriously stupid assumption... (1)

Babbster (107076) | more than 7 years ago | (#16651835)

I might not do anything about someone's propensity to emit noxious gas from their butthole in my presence, but that doesn't mean that I have given my 'tacit approval' for them to rip huge farts while standing in the same room with me.


Considering that "tacit" approval is something inferred rather than implied (the latter would mean words or actions indicating approval - like, perhaps, applause - which would remove the "tacit" part), the person farting could indeed infer your approval from your inaction in response to his or her flatulence.

Re:What a gloriously stupid assumption... (1)

fithmo (854772) | more than 7 years ago | (#16652021)

...for people to circumvent a piece of hardware's embedded security system in order to run pirated copies of software?

The software isn't good enough to pirate. Some of us just want to eventually run Linux (et al) on it and/or write some homebrew games.

There are more uses for mods than pirating games. I have my old Xbox (v1.0) mod'd, but it acts only as a media center running XBMC [xboxmediacenter.de] .

Pointless? (2, Informative)

The_Pariah (991496) | more than 7 years ago | (#16649257)

I thought there was already a chip out that allowed you to turn on/off the modded firmware on the dvd-rom.

Seems like the modders are always one step ahead.

Re:Pointless? (1)

dspyder (563303) | more than 7 years ago | (#16649295)

Not on the 360... yet... although I don't know the details of this particular hack. Even several of the physical on/off switch modchips were eventually able to be detected or thwarted by Microsoft code updates.

Re:Pointless? (3, Insightful)

DDLKermit007 (911046) | more than 7 years ago | (#16649603)

Uhh...no...physical switch chips can not be detected as long as they are off. I'm assuming your speaking of the original Xbox modchips here. Even software switch chips can't be detected on it as long as they are done right. The problem people ran into on the original Xbox was that they would initially sign onto Live with the stock HD, play for a while, put a chip in, switch the HD, and after a while MS began looking at HD serials. You were usually ok if you were never on Live before switching the HD, but many went on with a stock driver first, then switched their drive. I personally prefer the old Xbox since pirates could only play with legitimate games on Live and you could do a hellll of allot more with it than you can with the 360.

Even better.... (1)

Vr6dub (813447) | more than 7 years ago | (#16652183)

I did as you mentioned above. I had read about the bannings for the HD checksums. Fortunately I was able to find a felow that modded Xbox's for a private school with no broadband access. He would extract the EEPROM from somewhere (over my head) and "lend" it to others on the internet. The transaction was based solely on the faith that the particular xbox the EEPROM was extracted from would never be connected to the internet. Anyway, it worked for me and to this date I haven't had any problems. This isn't terribly difficult with the right research...I consider myself pretty technically competent but I'm no programmer or code junkie. I do networks and desktop support. Fun stuff though!!

Re:Pointless? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16651443)

> Seems like the modders are always one step ahead.

That's right ! I have a crate of modchips for the Playstation 4 and I'm just waiting for them to release it.

Lots of Conjecture in that Article (1)

Wile_E_Peyote (805058) | more than 7 years ago | (#16649273)

That article is filled with conjecture. They get a reply that doesn't either confirm or deny that the account had been flagged and assume this is the official word...

Get some more facts and come back.

Re:Lots of Conjecture in that Article (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16649437)

You are right. This is bogus, just like the occasional threads on xboxhacker and any other site full of stupid dipshits who image their drives from other 360s (Which is a no no) or other just as absurd actions.

I played a 4.2 Xtreme account this morning that's working just fine.

slashdotted (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16649321)

After several months of silence it was more or less accepted that Microsoft wasnt going to do anything about the firmware hacks that allow Xbox 360s to play backups. Rather surprising, considering the inventor of the hack confirmed in March already that the mods are easily detectable, and the reports that piracy is running rampant in countries like China. It appears that Microsoft is finally taking action against them though, although they may be hitting the wrong persons.

This thread on the official Xbox.com forums was started by Furydog, who posts with a completely empty gamer profile:
I have two xbox 360s and since Friday October 13 2006 I have not been able to connect with my two 360s. According to MS customer support my status codes indicate that I have MODDED 360s which I dont. I have contacted several different people and I only one person (GreenJohnny) has responded to me but he was not able to assist me. Although, he did confirm that the status codes I received indicate that my systems Mac addresses are banned because their supposedly MODDED.

Xbox Support stating there are status codes that indicate a machine was banned for modding? Thats a new one. To further confirm the story ILBCNU from Xbox Support Staff responds to his post stating they are investigating the issue and apologizing for the problem. No denial or anything, so yep, your modded Xbox 360 is now officially in risk of getting banned from Live or worse.

HackerThe fundamental problem with the firmware hack is that its a so-called Man in the Middle attack on the systems security. Imagine a phone call between 2 English speaking people, and youve got control over the line in between. By cutting in at the right moments, you can make it appear to one of the participants that the other one is saying something to him, but its actually you saying something else and making him believe that its a valid response. Thats a simplified explanation of how the hacked firmware works: it lies to the 360 kernel about what the disc is saying about its authenticity. Now imagine if both the speakers on that phone line suspected you were in the middle, and switched to speaking a slightly modified dialect. If youre still breaking in with the original dialect, its easily detectable that youre trying to fool around. Back to the 360, since Microsoft still has absolute control over disc contents and the kernel code, they can simply change the dialect on both sides and thus detect firmware hacks. If they wish, they can take any action they want upon detection, ranging from the simple Xbox Live ban to even bricking your 360 or disabling it to run any newly released games.

There is something slightly fishy about the report though, being that it says the 360 is banned based on MAC address. Those of us familiar with the OSI model and common network implementations will immediately know this is not true, because MAC addresses are part of the Ethernet protocol and live on Layer 2, and never get routed over the internet. In simple terms: your 360s MAC address is not remotely identifiable. An option could be that the Xbox Live login code sends the MAC address itself to the Live servers to be able to uniquely identify the 360, but that would be plain silly since MAC addresses are known not to be unique: they only need to be unique within their physical subnet. A far more obvious solution on Microsofts part would be to use the console serial number for this, which is embedded in the system anyway and truly unique.

Drowning firmware chips in epoxy didnt stop the modders

Whatever the details, we can probably consider it a fact that MS is currently acting against modded Xbox 360s, and you should start worrying if youve got a firmware replacement in your concave box: the Empire is Striking Back.

Many thanks to Puma81 for the link!

Re:slashdotted (4, Informative)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 7 years ago | (#16649781)

but that would be plain silly since MAC addresses are known not to be unique:

Uh... no. MAC addresses are supposed to be unique. Prototype hardware notwithstanding, you are prohibited from ever shipping Ethernet hardware in which the MAC address is not unique. Of course that doesn't mean you (as the user) can't change the MAC address in software so that it is no longer unique, but the address assigned to the hardware by the factory is, by definition, globally unique.

Re:slashdotted (2, Insightful)

MBCook (132727) | more than 7 years ago | (#16650099)

Which is not to mention that even if the MAC address never hit the wire as part of the protocol, MS could easily pass it as part of the conversation that goes on when connecting to XBox Live (just like I assume they also pass the serial number, dashboard version, etc).

Re:slashdotted (2, Informative)

Jon Luckey (7563) | more than 7 years ago | (#16650599)

In fact MS has used the MAC address when forming Globally Unique IDs in the past.

At one point the easiest way for a program in Windows to get the MAC address of its main network connection was to get the systems GUID.

Not surprising that they might continue the practice in XBox and send a MAC addressed based GUID soplace else in the protocol other than the ethernet frame.

Re:slashdotted (1)

Jester998 (156179) | more than 7 years ago | (#16650317)

MACs are /supposed/ to be unique, yes. However...

I once saw a shipment of ~20 NIC cards which had 3 pairs of identical MACs (6 non-unique cards in the batch, with 2 cards sharing each of 3 MACs). THAT caused quite a bit of confusion when we couldn't figure out why the PCs they were installed in had extremely flaky network connections. :p

Freak manufacturing error? Maybe. We never did find out how it happened. But duplicate MACs are definitely possible in practice.

This was quite a few years ago, so I don't remember exactly... but I /think/ the cards were D-Link.

Re:slashdotted (1)

0xygen (595606) | more than 7 years ago | (#16651027)

I have also seen this, but with onboard LAN, the drivers were meant to generate a unique MAC address for each one from the serial number, but a mistake in the driver caused all of them to be the same. Surprisingly even with three of them it was quite possible to use network shares and browse the web, a kind of swap would happen so one machine was "the one" for a while, then another would get connected.

Re:slashdotted (1)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 7 years ago | (#16651107)

When you see that, you should report them to IANA. Either D-Link goofed or those cards were counterfeits. My guess would be the latter, but that's just a hunch.

Re:slashdotted (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16650515)

Yes, MAC addresses are supposed to be unique. In the place where I used to work, someone ordered a whole bunch of network cards at the same time, and we found that we had three cards with identical addresses. I don't know if this is poor quality control or a cost-saving measure (I can't see how you'd save money only using a few MAC addresses). One might assume that Microsoft is able to verify the uniqueness of MAC addresses in their own hardware, though.

Re:slashdotted (1)

flithm (756019) | more than 7 years ago | (#16650605)

Yes, they are supposed to be unique, but MAC addresses have a couple of inherent flaws. Mac-48, for example, is expected to run out of addresses by the year 2100.

Also, it's trivial to change the MAC address on a NIC via software spoofing, or in some cases to actually modify the card permanently (see MACChanger). I'm not sure if any of these techniques are possible with the 360, but I guarantee you if MS relies on the MAC, someone will find a way to produce a hardware address spoofer that you can just plug in or solder onto the 360's mobo.

At any rate, it's well known that you can't rely on MACs to be unique... in the real world they're just not, even though they are supposed to be.

Re:slashdotted (1)

VertigoAce (257771) | more than 7 years ago | (#16651197)

The Xbox 360 lets you set the MAC address to be whatever you want. This was quite useful when I was staying at a hotel that required you to login with a web browser before using your network connection. I logged in with my laptop and then used my laptop's MAC address on the 360.

Re:slashdotted (1)

Tracy Reed (3563) | more than 7 years ago | (#16651011)

The original poster was correct. It is true that MAC addresses are known not to be unique. They SHOULD be unique but they are not. I once received a dozen motherboards all with the same MAC. Intel server-class motherboards. Not prototypes or anything. The board had been in production for nearly a year. They were set up one at a time and deployed into a huge cluster in the datacenter and forgotten about. Tracking down the mac/ip collisions over the next year as machines with the same MAC addresses happened to find themselves on the same network was not fun. So although we can say that MAC's should be the same we cannot unequivocally state that they are.

Re:slashdotted (1)

ShawnDoc (572959) | more than 7 years ago | (#16651829)

I work for a large company that makes networking equipment. I can state for a fact that MAC addresses are reused, not just by us, but by just about every networking vendor I know of.

Re:slashdotted (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16649973)

Mod Parent down, I was drunk when I posted this, and did not realize that I have F'ing clue about now network cards or networks work.

Re:slashdotted (1)

Renraku (518261) | more than 7 years ago | (#16652205)

No surprise from a company that marks half of its legitimate software installs as pirated.

It's microsoft (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16649325)

They've got billions of dollars, we all know that they're hard hit for money.

Look on the bright side... (0, Offtopic)

Mongoose (8480) | more than 7 years ago | (#16649333)

Someone will blame Sony for this somehow. "OMG I can't pirate the games. It's like a rootkit LOL."

"Bring it on."

Question: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16650791)

How much does astroturfing pay now-a-days?

Someone needs to mod... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16649353)

...the webserver so that it can handle Slashdot traffic!

yay for slashdot sensationalism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16649435)

this article was already proven fake... just ask anyone who is REALLY in the firmware modding scene

nothing to see here, move along

I find it odd (1)

Blinocac200sx (955087) | more than 7 years ago | (#16649487)

that he questions the use of the MAC address. It's not far fetched, and considering some of the sloppy code we've seen from MS in the past, wouldn't be out of the norm even.

No content (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16649491)

Whoever wrote this doesn't have a understanding of how this hack works. Their simplification doesn't accurately portray how this hack works.

From the article:
The fundamental problem with the firmware hack is that it's a so-called Man in the Middle attack on the system's security. Imagine a phone call between 2 English speaking people, and you've got control over the line in between. By cutting in at the right moments, you can make it appear to one of the participants that the other one is saying something to him, but it's actually you saying something else and making him believe that it's a valid response. That's a simplified explanation of how the hacked firmware works: it lies to the 360 kernel about what the disc is saying about its authenticity. Now imagine if both the speakers on that phone line suspected you were in the middle, and switched to speaking a slightly modified dialect. If you're still breaking in with the original dialect, it's easily detectable that you're trying to fool around. Back to the 360, since Microsoft still has absolute control over disc contents and the kernel code, they can simply change the dialect on both sides and thus detect firmware hacks. If they wish, they can take any action they want upon detection, ranging from the simple Xbox Live ban to even bricking your 360 or disabling it to run any newly released games.

Wrong. You are completely compromising the one end of the conversation. it doesn't hijack the communication at all. The dvd drive has been completely compromised and it can speak whatever dialect you make it speak.

The way of authenticating a disc is already set and can't be drastically changed without significant changes to the dvd drive and all currently pressed discs. Its like trying to change away from CSS after you already have a ton of DVD players sold. The hack has been upgraded alot since its initial release and is much more difficult to detect. In its latest form you can't even read out the dvd firmware using the chipset commands.

Re:No content (1)

dkone (457398) | more than 7 years ago | (#16650187)

no habla englase

Re:No content (4, Funny)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 7 years ago | (#16650473)

Or Spanish either, apparently.

Wouldn't that be interesting... (1)

DittoBox (978894) | more than 7 years ago | (#16649493)

Best part of that article is the firmware chip encased in epoxy.

Ha! Wouldn't that be interesting if after n hours of use the epoxy would become conductive? Whether this is possible or not is another story, I haven't seen pictures of it either so it may not even be touching the contacts on the chip (haven't even read the article...it appears to be /.'d already.). I'd love to see the smug look on MS execs' face as it just melts right off...

Proves nothing (1)

nicoli_s (1020439) | more than 7 years ago | (#16649515)

if you read the article, it said that he didn't mod his xbox, so him not being able to get on doesnt prove they are banning modders, it doesnt prove anything

Re:Proves nothing (1)

nonsequitor (893813) | more than 7 years ago | (#16649709)

The article stated they are attempting to ban modders, which is not the same as able to accurately detect and ban modded XBOX's

Re:Proves nothing (1)

XMyth (266414) | more than 7 years ago | (#16650829)

And its reasoning for this is that XBox Live support has a status code which says 'modded xbox'....so what? That doesn't indicate any action on Microsoft's part. It just means that their customer database has a status code for modded xboxes. Talk about jumping to conclusions.

it worked before (1)

eneville (745111) | more than 7 years ago | (#16649543)

ms dont really care about pirates, because the consumer buys some part of their family of products. allow people to copy 70% of the system and you sell 30% to a much wider audience.

Re:it worked before (1)

antin (185674) | more than 7 years ago | (#16651219)

I agree that they should not care about piracy (for the reasons you state) however they very much do care.

Look at the time, effort, and great annoyance they cause through their attempts at preventing windows and office piracy (just now a story was posted about only allowing one significant hardware change for vista).

Can someone repost the text of the entire article? (4, Funny)

popo (107611) | more than 7 years ago | (#16649565)


My open source XBOX-360 Web Browser doesn't render Flash yet.

Re:Can someone repost the text of the entire artic (2, Insightful)

justinlindh (1016121) | more than 7 years ago | (#16649991)

You joke, but that's the reason that X360's aren't worth modding yet (in my opinion). You could easily run some simply great homebrew (such as XBMC) on the original modded Xbox, due to the hack allowing unsigned code to run. The code for this DVD firmware hack still requires signed code, so it's only good for piracy.

This sucks for the two of you who ACTUALLY WOULD use this to back a game up (understandable, they're pricey at $60 a pop). However, the mass majority of people interested in this hack are pirates who don't want to pay for games. MS is still selling these machines at a hefty loss, so I can't say I blame them for this one.

Re:Can someone repost the text of the entire artic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16651947)

MS is still selling these machines at a hefty loss, so I can't say I blame them for this one.

Shouldn't I be allowed to pirate the games? Microsoft seems to be allowed to break the law continually and get away with it...

Re:Can someone repost the text of the entire artic (1)

Tsagadai (922574) | more than 7 years ago | (#16652457)

Two wrongs don't make a right, unless you live in Melbourne where three lefts make a right turn.

It's fishy (5, Interesting)

Wind_Walker (83965) | more than 7 years ago | (#16649653)

Here's the Original Xbox.com post [xbox.com] about it. It seems very fishy for a few reasons:

First, he's hiding his played games [xbox.com] . That's a very very rare thing to do, because it's just not necessary. Who cared what games you've played, unless you've modded something?

Second, he's got a Gamerscore of 77103. For those who don't have a 360, each game is given a budget of 1000 Gamerpoints which can be unlocked however the game publisher wants - usually it's points-per-level, or for unlocking things in the game. Xbox Live Arcade games get a budget of 200. Gamerankings.com gives me a total of 66 games released for the Xbox 360. That's 66,000 possible points if he finished anything and everything - and most of the games are nigh impossible for any mortal to get all 1000 points on.

Lastly, he's currently playing Cars online as I type. That game is not scheduled to be shipped until tomorrow the 31st, in-stores probably November 1st. If this were the only thing odd I'd just attribute it to a broken street date, but considering all the factors it sounds like he is using a not-quite-ethical way to play games in a way Microsoft didn't intend.

Re:It's fishy (1)

dsanfte (443781) | more than 7 years ago | (#16649899)

Ethical according to whose ethics?

Re:It's fishy (1)

dsanfte (443781) | more than 7 years ago | (#16649935)

Or to be more precise, not-quite-ethical according to whose ethics?

Yes, the preview button is my friend.

Re:It's fishy (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16650007)

That's funny... I saw Cars available at GameStop this past weekend.

Hiding data isn't always a sign of something wrong (1)

fotbr (855184) | more than 7 years ago | (#16650159)

Well, if gamerscore is greater than whats possible, I'd agree thats a pretty good clue that something isn't right. I won't argue that issue, and given the "Cars" bit when its not yet released in addition, I won't argue that the guy is probably modding.

But don't bash the guy because he decides not to share what games he owns. Some people don't feel that is any of anyone else's business. Your argument (Who cared what games you've played, unless you've modded something?)is much like the arguments about encryption, searches, etc. You know the one. "Why not let $them do $thing if you have nothing to hide." It doesn't work in those cases, and it doesn't work here either.

You've seen what is happening with sites like facebook and myspace and people having real-life consequences (company A looks up applicant B and sees them doing activity C that HR person D doesn't like, so they don't get the job). I can't wait to see the outrage when people are getting passed over for jobs and such because they play Game XYZ. Or when the likes of Jack Thompson gets ahold of the fact that Politican Bob owns Bully! or some other over-hyped game he doesn't like.

Re:It's fishy (1)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 7 years ago | (#16650435)

The highest score was 84,000, not long ago, I believe. The 360 does not require region DRM. Quite a few games play on foreign consoles, and the people over the 66 game limit will have played games from other regions.

Re:It's fishy (1)

Babbster (107076) | more than 7 years ago | (#16651945)

While there are a few games that are not region-locked, the vast majority are. A much easier explanation would be that I don't believe Gamertags are "region locked," at least in the sense that they are restricted to 360 hardware from one region. So, if one has, for example, a 360 from Japan and plays Japanese import games using the same Gamertag as they use on their US console, their Gamerscore can go over that which is possible using only games from one region.

Re:It's fishy (1)

kinglink (195330) | more than 7 years ago | (#16650659)

Claiming to have two systems should be the first clue, claiming neither was modded is the second, A quick look at http://www.top360tag.com/ [top360tag.com] shows how someone COULD get over 80K points ( one trick is to play non american games, apparently Rance6 (the top tag holder) has played 106 games)

Honestly, it sounds like he's a liar and a cheater, and he was skirting close to the morality law (if not over it).

Good for Microsoft if they nailed him, and it sounds like they did. One good trick for Microsoft could be to "leak" a version of a Microsoft game that had a identifiable flaw in the game that sends out a single packet, if they see one from your Xbox 360, immediatly lock that Xbox down, and make it identifiable so even if you're offline the minute you log on the system knows and shuts you down.

But you're right, any of the little flags that go off in my head when I read his story makes me think "Well maybe...." Except that after the third flag (77K points, 2 xboxs, both won't work) should make everyone distrustful at best.

Re:It's fishy (1)

cdrudge (68377) | more than 7 years ago | (#16650673)

In a past life when I worked at Blockbuster Video we could routinely "rent" movies and video games before they were officially released. It encouraged the staff to be knowledgable on new releases in case we were asked. If indeed he was playing the game, and based on his very high gamescore, it may not be out of the possibility that he could work someplace where they get advanced access to a game.

Re:It's fishy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16651127)

wow, you must not know what you are talking about... did you know that you can BUY gamerscore? don't wanna play the game but still want the big score? just buy your gamerscore.... by the way... RTFM

Re:It's fishy (1)

complete loony (663508) | more than 7 years ago | (#16652221)

I think it would be more likely that he was an official beta tester, or an employee of microsoft's. So the whole thing could be a hoax.

Re:It's fishy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16652429)

This is the users last post on the 360 forum.

"I have duplicate games because they are from different regions. My doubles are Moto Gp Far East, Asian Enchanted arms, Japanese Enchanted arms, German Quake 4, and German Saints row. My brother spends a couple months out of the year in Europe so I had him pick up a Pal 360 and some UK only games. If it is against MS terms of use to buy different region console and games its news to me. I have around 120 games played so that is how you get a gamerscore as high as mine I am not a modder."

http://forums.xbox.com/2/7677295/ShowPost.aspx#767 7295 [xbox.com]

"Backups" re-defined (1)

mrdaveb (239909) | more than 7 years ago | (#16649965)

Reading the article cached at mirrordot [mirrordot.org]

Amusing that the article has the word "backup" with a handy little tooltip thing which pops up and defines backups as meaning "Pirated games downloaded from the internet or sold cheaply"

Re:"Backups" re-defined (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16650287)

now THATS funny!

Original article (c&p - no CP! :) ) (1)

Viraptor (898832) | more than 7 years ago | (#16649971)

Microsoft is banning 360 firmware modders
Posted in Xbox 360, Hardware, Xbox Live by Curry on October 29th, 2006 at 18:13

After several months of silence it was more or less accepted that Microsoft wasn't going to do anything about the firmware hacks that allow Xbox 360s to play backups. Rather surprising, considering the 'inventor' of the hack confirmed in March already that the mods are easily detectable, and the reports that piracy is running rampant in countries like China. It appears that Microsoft is finally taking action against them though, although they may be hitting the wrong persons.

This thread on the official Xbox.com forums was started by Furydog, who posts with a completely empty gamer profile:

        I have two xbox 360's and since Friday October 13 2006 I have not been able to connect with my two 360's. According to MS customer support my status codes indicate that I have MODDED 360's which I don't. I have contacted several different people and I only one person (GreenJohnny) has responded to me but he was not able to assist me. Although, he did confirm that the status codes I received indicate that my systems Mac addresses are banned because their supposedly MODDED.

Xbox Support stating there are status codes that indicate a machine was banned for modding? That's a new one. To further confirm the story ILBCNU from Xbox Support Staff responds to his post stating they are investigating the issue and apologizing for the problem. So yep, your modded Xbox 360 is now officially in risk of getting banned from Live or worse.

The fundamental problem with the firmware hack is that it's a so-called Man in the Middle attack on the system's security. Imagine a phone call between 2 English speaking people, and you've got control over the line in between. By cutting in at the right moments, you can make it appear to one of the participants that the other one is saying something to him, but it's actually you saying something else and making him believe that it's a valid response. That's a simplified explanation of how the hacked firmware works: it lies to the 360 kernel about what the disc is saying about its authenticity. Now imagine if both the speakers on that phone line suspected you were in the middle, and switched to speaking a slightly modified dialect. If you're still breaking in with the original dialect, it's easily detectable that you're trying to fool around. Back to the 360, since Microsoft still has absolute control over disc contents and the kernel code, they can simply change the dialect on both sides and thus detect firmware hacks. If they wish, they can take any action they want upon detection, ranging from the simple Xbox Live ban to even bricking your 360 or disabling it to run any newly released games.

There is something slightly fishy about the report though, being that it says the 360 is banned based on MAC address. Those of us familiar with the OSI model and common network implementations will immediately know this is not true, because MAC addresses are part of the Ethernet protocol and live on Layer 2, and never get routed over the internet. In simple terms: your 360s MAC address is not remotely identifiable. An option could be that the Xbox Live login code sends the MAC address itself to the Live servers to be able to uniquely identify the 360, but that would be plain silly since MAC addresses are known not to be unique: they only need to be unique within their physical subnet. A far more obvious solution on Microsoft's part would be to use the console serial number for this, which is embedded in the system anyway and truly unique.

Drowning firmware chips in epoxy didn't stop the modders...

Whatever the details, we can consider it a fact that MS is currently acting against modded Xbox 360s, and you should start worrying if you've got a firmware replacement in your concave box: the Empire is Striking Back.

Many thanks to Puma81 for the link!

Already? (1)

Endo13 (1000782) | more than 7 years ago | (#16649985)

I'm just surprised they didn't take anti-mod actions right from the start. After all, they do lose money on hardware from every Xbox they sell (presumably to be made up in profits from games) and it's fairly safe to assume that people modding their Xbox would be the most likely to not buy retail software for it.

Re:Already? (1)

BagOBones (574735) | more than 7 years ago | (#16650137)

Na, it is better to wait till a bunch of noobs get there boxes modded and then get banned. That way there is all this word of mouth about some friend of a friend getting banned, so people are afraid to try.

360 DOA (-1, Troll)

soft_guy (534437) | more than 7 years ago | (#16650225)

I bought an XBox 360 and it was DOA when I took it out of the box. I called Microsoft and they couldn't help, so I ended up taking it back to the store. I think I will just wait and get a Wii.

Re:360 DOA (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16650313)

Way to keep on topic genius

Re:360 DOA (1)

tcc3 (958644) | more than 7 years ago | (#16650771)

Also, way to spead some anti MS FUD. I've dealt with MS support on a few different occasions (mostly due to one of the faulty launch boxes). MS support was helpful and easy to work with.

Anyone expect an increase of XBox 360s available (1)

LuxMaker (996734) | more than 7 years ago | (#16650727)

at the pawn shop, newspaper ads, Ebay, and such? I expect the shelves to be full of modded 360s in no time.

Don't get scammed.

Keep them banned. (1)

cybrthng (22291) | more than 7 years ago | (#16650847)

I like the 360 because network play isn't ruined. Keep it that way. Punkbuster MS way. (and yes, if you can pirate the games people can do other things to them for there own advantages..)

Re:Keep them banned. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16651447)

Um, no. It's still impossible to run unsigned code on the 360. Pirating is, in fact, the only thing people can do at this time.

huh this is news? - kicking off cheaters? good (1)

gelfling (6534) | more than 7 years ago | (#16650937)

Xbox live was offline October 17,18 and part of 19 to 'implement' just this. Kicking modders off. Honestly though most of the online community that's vocal about this likes it because it kicks off cheaters.

Now the problem is that they're banning IPs so if you have one modded and one unmodded box you are SOL for both of them,

Re:huh this is news? - kicking off cheaters? good (1)

DeepZenPill (585656) | more than 7 years ago | (#16651187)

Thank the gods too. Cheaters with modded boxes absolutely ruined Halo 2 online multiplayer. At the higher ranks you're likely to spend more than half of your matches with cheaters. I eventually quit because it was too frustrating, and I fear the day the same thing happens with games on the 360.

Scare-Mongering about Pirates in China (1)

RobertinXinyang (1001181) | more than 7 years ago | (#16651209)

In this case I think that the line, "and the reports that piracy is running rampant in countries like China," is totally out of line. While there is a problem with PC unlicensed software, I do not believe that there is one for the Xbox.

I have, in the past, mentioned seeing PC software being sold at very low prices, this doed not hold true for Xbox sostware. The reason for this is simple. Not only in comparison is there little Xbox software, I have seen no Xbox software, at all, in China. I do look in the electronic shops, and there is no software or consoles.

I have asked over 250 college students about where I can get gaming consoles and software and not only do they have no idea where to go for them, they have no idea, or concept, of what a gaming console is. There is simply no market penetration whatsoever. This makes sence considering that the middle-school and high school students live in school dormatories (at least the ones whose school finances make them potential buyers of game consoles) and do not have unregulated access to televisions.

I this case, I think the scare mongering about software theft in China is just FUD.

Re:Scare-Mongering about Pirates in China (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16651463)

I have seen no Xbox software, at all, in China

I live in China and China has internet too. Just download then burn it.

DVD (1)

News for nerds (448130) | more than 7 years ago | (#16651385)

As long as they stick to DVD there's no way to discourage Chinese pirates, DVD-R are readily available in China and they can import Japanese Xbox 360 for cheaper than the US version. Paying for XBL and playing online mean jack for them.

Re:DVD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16652239)

Dude,

See the post entitled Scare-Mongering about Pirates in China, no console = can't play.

Where is the "license"? (1)

BobSutan (467781) | more than 7 years ago | (#16652131)

Uh, its one thing to present a click through EULA that takes away your purchase and gives you a license, but how do they get away with what's effectively the same thing when you've paid for physical hardware??? Is there a shrink-wrap contract you have to agree to before opening the box?

Doesn't only ban cheaters (1)

philibuster968 (1015117) | more than 7 years ago | (#16652241)

On my old xbox I used to play a lot of custom halo maps with my friends that were imported from halo ce. One day I wanted to sign up for xbox live and as soon as it had charged the credit card I got banned for having a mod chip. There are other way of stopping cheaters other than banning all modded xboxs.

Mac address not identifiable? (1)

LuminaireX (949185) | more than 7 years ago | (#16652459)

Those of us familiar with the OSI model and common network implementations will immediately know this is not true, because MAC addresses are part of the Ethernet protocol and live on Layer 2, and never get routed over the internet. In simple terms: your 360s MAC address is not remotely identifiable

Bullshit. If the 360 can identify its own MAC address, and is capable of sending game and system related information to M$'s Live service, then what's to stop it from sending its MAC address as straight text? M$ may not be able to identify it remotely from Redmond, but what's to keep a sophisticated machine like the 360 from identifying itself? I've personally written Windows scripts that parse a system's MAC address and submit it to a database; its ridiculous to think the 360 is any less capable.

The article itself said that MAC addresses are known to not be unique (anyone that owns a router knows that); a far more likely scenario is that someone spoofed your MAC address with a modded Xbox. Oh well... personally I think M$ would be better off banning China

How long (1)

treak007 (985345) | more than 7 years ago | (#16652567)

How long till they make WGA for xbox to check the validity of your games?
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