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Wii Uses Elliptic Curve Cryptography For Saves

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the advanced-tech dept.

Wii 183

An anonymous reader writes "A user at the Nintendo-Scene forums just posted a lengthy post about his discovery that the Wii savegame files are signed and encrypted with NIST B 233 bit elliptic curve cryptography. Could this be the first step for a Wii softmod the homebrew community have waited for? From the post: 'It appears a Wii savegame file ends with a certificate chain. The certificates contains a public keypair (the one that is being "certified") and a signature (another number pair) from the signing entity. The number pairs are stored as a compound 60 bit data (first 30 bytes for the first number, and the next 30 bytes for the second). Hence, the first and middle byte is always 00 or 01 for keys, and 00 for signatures. One can check that the keys are indeed NIST B 233 keys using openssls EC_KEY_check_key function (code forthcoming).'"

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183 comments

FRIST PROST!!! (-1, Troll)

aichpvee (631243) | more than 6 years ago | (#20623121)

Creationists are TWATS!

Thus Tyrants are Born. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20623177)

Such hate creates oppression and violence. I recommend you show love by letting others live. I'm and Xian, and don't speak of others in such a manner.

Re:Thus Tyrants are Born. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20623397)

I recommend you show love by letting others live.

It's not a question of letting others live. Many creationists want it taught as science, which it most clearly is not.

Re:Thus Tyrants are Born. (-1, Troll)

Yahweh Doesn't Exist (906833) | more than 6 years ago | (#20625419)

>I recommend you show love by letting others live.

it would be nice if your god would do the same.

I don't care about whether you use swear words or not, but if you believe that the world was created by a powerful being that discriminates between the "worthiness" of people on the basis of their sex, sexuality, skin colour, not chopping off foreskin, sex before marriage, etc etc or any other personal matter then you are being far more insulting than if you had simply said "fuck off you cunt".

creationists spread many very offensive ideas themselves, even if they use "pollite" words to phrase it.

but while christian and other religious prejudices are annoyingly stupid, I don't believe people have a right to not be offended.

Re:FRIST PROST!!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20623215)

Go play on your Apple, you mouth-breathing freaktard.

Re:FRIST PROST!!! (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20623271)

This kind of thing is why they moved the 'Post Anonymously' checkbox.

Uhh (0)

Redlazer (786403) | more than 6 years ago | (#20623173)

So, this is cool, right?

I assume, without RTFA, that this is a step in the direction for allowing homebrewers to save games on the console.

I confess, despite being an avid Nintendo fan, that I'm irritated at the Apple and Microsoft-like paranoia in keeping people out of their software/hardware.

-Fred

Re:Uhh (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20623185)

you realize Nintendo pretty much predates both of them when it comes to that... right??

being the avid nintendo fan you are... right?!?!?

Re:Uhh (0)

Redlazer (786403) | more than 6 years ago | (#20623239)

Wellllllllllll.....

Sorta. I mean, the whole NES and SNES cart thing was pretty bad. But Atari took the cake for being a dick to their programmers.

But, really, the same basic idea is occuring. And in a way, i don't really blame any of them for it. I dont like it, but in Nintendo's case, they can't control much. Microsoft only does software.

Apple, on the other hand...

Well, in all seriousness, they have such a small marketshare (admittedly growing), that it doesnt matter, yet.

And technically, all the consoles are just as paranoid. As far as I know, Microsoft is way worse for bricking hacked consoles than Nintendo is.

And in a truly terrifying turn of events, Sony doesnt seem to care very much. But, in their case, it means someone actually bought the console.

I guess beggars cant be choosers, eh?

-Red

Re:Uhh (4, Interesting)

Headcase88 (828620) | more than 6 years ago | (#20623449)

In terms of bricking consoles, Nintendo's a little bit nicer about it. They'll still brick it, but they'll warn you first "hey, if your console is modded, this update's going to brick it, so you might want to abort now".

By the way, with some games refusing to run without updating, this becomes one of those scenarios where if your console is modded, you have to get games illegally to make them work (assuming pirates have found a way to eliminate the code that forces the update).

Re:Uhh (2, Insightful)

PhotoBoy (684898) | more than 6 years ago | (#20623475)

There is a way to remove updates, it's a small program called Wii Brick Blocker that patches isos. It is rather ironic that Nintendo essentially force people into piracy with their updates...

Re:Uhh (4, Insightful)

Volante3192 (953645) | more than 6 years ago | (#20623559)

Ironic? Only if you've modded your Wii. I've always considered a console in the realm of "no user servicable parts inside." Course, it's not like Nintendo plans to worry about every possible modding configuration available. Rather, they have a set piece of hardware and a set piece of software. Thus, designers know exactly what they have to code for.

Unlike Windows which you can get to install on damn near anything within reason.

I figure modders should get a second, control Wii if you will, that they can fall back on for games.

As much as I'm for tinkering, it's not like Nintendo's really promoting openess on their systems. Why should the modding community expect it? I feel the same way about the XBox and PS3 (although the PS3 not as much; Sony promoted the Linux part quite a bit).

Guess I'm just old fashioned in some ways. I like my consoles too much to tinker with em.

Re:Uhh (1)

PhotoBoy (684898) | more than 6 years ago | (#20624467)

I've been tinkering since the NES days, so it's an old habit now! :)

I do actually have a second control Wii, I mainly use it for VC games, but if Nintendo ever get any decent online going I will be able to use it for that as well.

"no user servicable parts inside" (5, Interesting)

da5idnetlimit.com (410908) | more than 6 years ago | (#20624915)

I happen to have a modded Xbox and a modded Wii

the Xbox has been my media center for about 4 years. I bought it the day it was easily moddable/hackable. It now plays the anime and movies from my server and also plays my dvds along with the games and imports. I really like the option to pay imports. I do speak and understand english, so there really is no reason I should wait 1-2 years for a game. Or movie...

After maybe 2.5 years the dvd reader died and I couldn't read discs anymore. I bought a replacement dvd player for the xbox and installed it myself, voiding my already dead warranty.

Morale of the story :

1 / I used my xbox in a "creative" way, exceeding by much what MS previewed/allowed me to do with it. I had fun with it, and I didn't have to build or buy a pre-made media center.

2 / When it got broken I just had to buy a small, cheap part. not a full xbox, as a "no user servicable parts inside" box concept would have made me.

Episode 2, the WII

Take story from ep.1, make hardware standard pc stuff as in xbox, rinse, repeat.

Guess I, too, am just old fashioned in some ways. I'm too cheap to have every piece of kit I want, so I like to tinker with consoles to give them all the bells and whistles I cannot afford otherwise...

Re:Uhh (2, Informative)

billcopc (196330) | more than 6 years ago | (#20625059)

The modding community "expects it" because you own the goddamned hardware, it should be yours to tinker in whichever way you like.

When you buy a car, does the dealership forcefully prevent you from using "unapproved" gasoline ? Do they tell you which bumper stickers you're allowed to stick, and where ? Do they come and smash your car with a crowbar if you disobey ?

Re:Uhh (1)

AgentPaper (968688) | more than 6 years ago | (#20625851)

When you buy a car, does the dealership forcefully prevent you from using "unapproved" gasoline ?
Actually, some dealers do just that. Mercedes will void your warranty and cancel any service contract you might have with them if you use anything other than premium fuel (91 octane rating or better), and I've heard, but not been able to confirm, that Audi does the same.

Re:Uhh (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20623917)

Yes because Nintendo forced you to mod your Wii. Oh wait, no you chose to do that so you could play pirated games in the first place.

Re:Uhh (0, Redundant)

jamar0303 (896820) | more than 6 years ago | (#20624271)

Oh, you must be one of those rare EU people that are patient enough to wait for games to come out in your region. Not everyone is as patient; they want to play US/JP versions of games, and modchips allow them to do just that.

Re:Uhh (4, Insightful)

PhotoBoy (684898) | more than 6 years ago | (#20624445)

Actually no, I do not pirate games. I've been importing video games from the US and Japan since the days of the NES. I said it was ironic because if someone like myself had modded the system for imports and then bricked it, Nintendo would in theory have left them no choice but to pirate games or buy another Wii. Thankfully I have not bricked mine and can run imports without any problems. It simply seems odd to me that Nintendo would do something that would encourage piracy.

Next time try not to automatically assume modding = piracy, because it does not, no matter how much the hardware manufacturers like to say it does. If I could buy a mod chip that enables imports but not pirated games I gladly would. The constant erroneous association of modding with piracy by clueless people such as yourself has become extremely tiresome.

Re:Uhh (2, Insightful)

Lehk228 (705449) | more than 6 years ago | (#20624435)

AFAIK there is no deliberate bricking, but rather the update process and/or the newly updated system code can fail due to the presence of mods. Nintendo warns the user of this because they don't want an uproar about them sabotaging consoles if an update kills machines with a relatively common mod chip installed.

Re:Uhh (1)

Spokehedz (599285) | more than 6 years ago | (#20625617)

No console to date has been bricked from an update downloaded from the Internet.

None.

Playing a game from another region, with a modchip that is designed to remove the region HAS bricked the Wii. It's fairly obvious why. Disc sees that your console is not up to date (1.5U =! 1.5E) and then it patches the flash. Since the TV and some other internal things are slightly differnt--you get a nice white paperweight.

Nintendo is simply covering their asses when it comes to the patches with the note about 'unauthorized technical modification'. While Nintendo can tell that a modchip is installed, the haven't gone out of their way to stop them from working. It would be a simple check via the firmware to disable the entire Wii.

The modchips are not really true modchips at all. They are drivechips, which are in the most basic sense, forcing the drive to read copied disks. the games still authenticate with the CPU, they still check to make sure that everything is signed. The drive is just passing the data along--there is no memory locations on the Wii itself being bypassed or altered.

Re:Uhh (1)

dohzer (867770) | more than 6 years ago | (#20623221)

I assume, without RTFA, that this is a step in the direction for allowing homebrewers to save games on the console.
I thought it would just enable them to hack their saved games and give themselves infinite lives/gold/etc.

Re:Uhh (1)

Edie O'Teditor (805662) | more than 6 years ago | (#20623281)

Me too. Though having read the summary my first thought was: great - only the other 58 bytes to decipher.

Re:Uhh (5, Insightful)

arivanov (12034) | more than 6 years ago | (#20623569)

No.

This means that Nintendo has a clue.

It is signing all the data with a certificate. Proper crypto, not DIY snakeoil ala most DRM schemes out there. The only way to break it is to get to the device key.

If they have done is right the key is per device and hardware protected by a crypto module. From there on breaking this at the crypto level is absolutely impossible.

The consequences are actually the opposite to what the clueless editor posted:

1. No chance for homebrew unless someone steals a cert from somewhere and even then Nintendo can simply revoke it using their online service or in a service pack.

2. All communication from the console to a server and back can be signed with strong crypto so no online game cheating.

As far as the elliptic curve cipher choice, this is a common choice for devices with very limited CPU or memory resources. That is what these ciphers are designed for.

All I can say: Applause Nintendo, applause, well done.

Re:Uhh (0)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 6 years ago | (#20623949)

No matter how efficient the crypto, it still detracts from the end user experience...
If it's software based, then its using some cpu cycles that could otherwise be used for gaming...
If it's hardware based then the cost of the hardware increases to cover it (or other features are removed to reduce costs back)...
Users can no longer edit save games themselves, i often found it very useful to download save games to get past sticking points... And some games stored the saves in plain text, enabling users to make the changes themselves.

All this paranoia about piracy, the wii has already been cracked far enough to play pirated games, but it still won't run homebrew. All the legit users are losing out wether they just want to play legit bought games, or want to run legit homebrew, the only people benefitting are those who want to pirate games.

Re:Uhh (3, Insightful)

batkiwi (137781) | more than 6 years ago | (#20624005)

This is a save game, not in memory. It now takes 3.4 seconds to load/save instead of the 3.33339 it took without the crypto. Yippie fucking do?

Autosave to defeat quickloading? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 6 years ago | (#20624795)

This is a save game, not in memory. It now takes 3.4 seconds to load/save instead of the 3.33339 it took without the crypto.
Some games save continuously because they don't want the player to be able to revert to a previous saved state after having things go wrong; instead, they want the player to face the consequences of a poor decision. Think NetHack.

Re:Autosave to defeat quickloading? (1)

jandrese (485) | more than 6 years ago | (#20625407)

That's pretty rare behavior on consoles though. The only game that I can think of that does that is the Golden Sun series on the GBA, and only because they want you to restart the whole level in the event that an enemy gets a lucky critical hit.

Re:Autosave to defeat quickloading? (1)

DrScotsman (857078) | more than 6 years ago | (#20625633)

What are you talking about? Golden Sun let's you save (almost?) anywhere, any time and any number of times, and it even has three save slots. It never autosaves.

Nonetheless, to the grandparent: I'm interested to know what games you're talking about that save to non-volatile memory continuously. Usually you'll either have to bypass checkpoints to save, or do something like a clean shutdown for the save to actually be stored.

Re:Uhh (1)

Walpurgiss (723989) | more than 6 years ago | (#20624919)

Yep, it's like the old adage; locks keep honest people honest. Implication being someone with criminal intent to defeat the lock will do so, everyone else is deterred.

Re:Uhh (2, Insightful)

John Betonschaar (178617) | more than 6 years ago | (#20624235)

And why exactly would it be impossible to get the key if it's stored in hardware then? It might be impossible without a modchip, and it might be impossible with some kind of other software exploit to get to the hardware, but it's most definitely 'impossible' at all. The xbox 360 uses a similar encryption/signing mechanism (per-box key stored in the CPU, signed and encrypted kernel and savegames), and people have already found ways to get to it. Either through an exploitable kernel that enables booting linux (if you never updated your console) or through a timing attack on the boot sequence (using hardware modifications). After you have the CPU key the whole security system more or less falls apart, because it allows downgrading the kernel, and (afaik, but I'm not 100% sure) hacking/encrypting/signing modified kernels.

So although the security implemented in these savegames is definitely about as good as it gets for now, it is definitely not impossible to break.

Re:Uhh (1)

John Betonschaar (178617) | more than 6 years ago | (#20624243)

"but it's most definitely 'impossible' at all" should be "most definitely not impossible at all" ofcourse, my bad...

Re:Uhh (1)

arivanov (12034) | more than 6 years ago | (#20624499)

It depends how well the system is designed and how pervasive is the PKI thoughout it. While it may be possible to introduce a MIM (man in the middle) via an exploit or via a timing attack on boot it may end up being prohibitively difficult.

For example, on a well designed system you cannot get the key, because it never leaves the hardware. As a result you have to intercept all requests to the crypto hardware and all replies. Depending on the implementation this may actually be quite hard. It may be useless as well. For example, if the authentication is based on two-way public key crypto (device to executable/servcie and executable/service to device) and both keys are unique most MIMs have very little chance to succeed. In the Nintendo case due to the limitations of its storage system, this can be done only for games that mandate online connectivity. For its bigger "brothers" from Sony and Microsoft it can be done even for games that do not require online connectivity provided that at least some components are distributed or activated via their network services.

Re:Uhh (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20624713)

Aren't Wii savegames transferable between Wii's? That would indicate that its not per device wouldn't it? Unless its reencrypted during transition which makes that a new weak point.

Re:Uhh (1)

Splab (574204) | more than 6 years ago | (#20625315)

Why does people insist on using it for breaking into the stuff? If you know the cypher and you got the key (it's in there somewhere) you can _create_ stuff that the WII think it has made itself - that way they might be able to get it to do what they want.

Re:Uhh (2, Informative)

pringlis (867347) | more than 6 years ago | (#20623735)

'Hacking' save games is just one of the possible uses for this. The most worrying one for Nintendo is that it allows people to write their own code, sign that, fool the console into thinking it's a save game and then look for some program on the Wii which is happy to execute a block of code within a saved game. This can then be used to modify some properties of the console, usually nothing particularly drastic but I'm sure Nintendo don't want to take the risk.

Re:Uhh (2, Interesting)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | more than 6 years ago | (#20624383)

No, the most worrying for Nintendo is successful emulators that can run on non-Nintendo hardware. By locking down the savefiles, they retain control over savefiles, and over the ability of emulators to successfully save at all.

Elliptic Curve? (5, Funny)

underpenguin (1094689) | more than 6 years ago | (#20623181)

Well, I'll just dig out my uplink disk....I think I have an elliptic code breaker in there somewhere

Re:Elliptic Curve? (1)

creimer (824291) | more than 6 years ago | (#20623293)

I think I still have an elliptic code breaker written in logo from my Apple ][ days. :P

More important than homebrew potential (-1, Troll)

iamacat (583406) | more than 6 years ago | (#20623225)

Is the question why your personal device keeps secrets from you. It's your savegames. You should be able to modify them as you wish. Yet another case of a company treating customers like criminals.

Re:More important than homebrew potential (3, Insightful)

Eddi3 (1046882) | more than 6 years ago | (#20623243)

Not criminals. Cheaters. They're keeping gameplay fair.

Re:More important than homebrew potential (1)

jandrese (485) | more than 6 years ago | (#20625511)

Yeah, I don't know how many times my Wii online play has been ruined by cheaters thus far...

Re:More important than homebrew potential (5, Insightful)

farkus888 (1103903) | more than 6 years ago | (#20623291)

it would seem this way on the surface. but the potential for online games on the wii[see mario strikers charged or big brain academy wii degree for early efforts] means cheats for extra gold coins or whatever could have a negative affect on me. personally I am not interested in hacking my saves and would like to know people I am playing against online are not cheating, so this is something I would request. in my mind as a regular player [I own a wii console four full controllers 2 classic controllers and about 13 games, that makes me a big buyer for them compared to most] I feel that they have done me a service by trying to keep online gaming fair and I've not had anything I wanted to do on my wii hindered by this. just something to keep in mind.

for reference I am a linux user and took time out of writing a shell script for a solaris machine at work to write this response. normally your mentality is how I think but this time it doesn't stand up to a little critical thinking from the perspective of a fairly heavily vested party. [I don't know anyone who has spent more towards wii, games, and controllers than I have. though I am sure some /.er will outrank me here]

Re:More important than homebrew potential (1)

Drantin (569921) | more than 6 years ago | (#20623555)

What? Having a Japanese and American Wii, 4 controllers, 3 nunchucks, 3 classic controllers and 15 games isn't normal?

Re:More important than homebrew potential (5, Funny)

farkus888 (1103903) | more than 6 years ago | (#20623595)

no its not, why the fuck haven't you bought the fourth nunchuck yet?

Re:More important than homebrew potential (1)

Malevolyn (776946) | more than 6 years ago | (#20623787)

Somewhere in this array of comments everyone forgot to mention that 99% of the time, online-based games store all user data on the server's end, not the client's end. And so you can hack, hack, hack the day away and the game's server will stop you dead in your tracks.

Re:More important than homebrew potential (1)

LordVader717 (888547) | more than 6 years ago | (#20624131)

Only for Online-only play. Say a player collects rewards while playing offline, and the developers want to enable him to take them online.
One example that springs to mind is the online Pokémon trading in Pearl/Diamond, where many Pokémon are cheated, which kind of kills the point of it all.

Re:More important than homebrew potential (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 6 years ago | (#20624525)

Diablo II had this kind of ability; you could use characters online and offline. As I recall, there was also a mode where you could only use a character online but I never used it. Unlike the Wii, this was important since it supported LAN play as well as Internet play, so a group of friends could get together and solve some of the quests together. Since the game was mainly cooperative, rather than competitive, it didn't affect the play for other people much.

If the only two options are offline and Internet play, then you can do some things to reduce the effects of cheating. For example, you can require that a character for online play be created online, and then played offline. This ensures that the server always has an old copy of the save game file for the character. It can then compare the old and new, and see if it is reasonable for the character to have acquired all of the things it did in the intervening period. Some simple validation of this nature won't stop all cheaters, but it will stop cheaters from getting huge advantages.

Re:More important than homebrew potential (1)

Kongming (448396) | more than 6 years ago | (#20624761)

"Diablo II had this kind of ability; you could use characters online and offline."

Um... I'm afraid that Diablo II has no such feature. You can have eight characters on your computer and eight on the server, and they cannot mix. Incidentally, allowing the use of local characters on official servers would have really messed with the economy given the ability to modify savegame files. (You would have had people in chat offering "FREE SOJs in game freefreefree!!!" without it being just another troll.)

Re:More important than homebrew potential (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 6 years ago | (#20625515)

Um... I'm afraid that Diablo II has no such feature. You can have eight characters on your computer and eight on the server, and they cannot mix.
Interesting. I frequently used the same characters in LAN games as in single player mode. I just fired up the game on a couple of machines, and it still seems to work. The only down side is that you lose the mapping information in any areas you visit. The map is dynamically generated on the server each time the game is launched, and so if you take a single player character in to a network game their map is reset.

Re:More important than homebrew potential (1)

Burpmaster (598437) | more than 6 years ago | (#20625635)

It DOES have this feature. How could you miss it?

They have both 'open' and 'closed' servers [diabloii.net] . The 'open' servers accept characters stored on your computer, and have no protection from hacked saves, but they are good for playing with friends who you know aren't cheating.

On 'closed' servers, your characters are created on their server and can only be played online.

Re:More important than homebrew potential (1)

Glyphstream (1101409) | more than 6 years ago | (#20625691)

The offline character could only be used in LAN games. Online characters were unique to the Blizzard servers and not usable offline, specifically because of the problems involved with using character editors and the like to make your characters godly beyond what was even possible by normal means.

Re:More important than homebrew potential (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20623831)

I am not interested in hacking my saves and would like to know people I am playing against online are not cheating, so this is something I would request
But the point is, it never works. Anti-cheat protection always gets broken. I've personally made bots for every Unreal engine since UT99. It's only a deterrence for less intelligent cheaters and barely that. If you want to cheat at a game there's always a way. It's an exercise in futility to try to stop it.

Another problem is that anti-cheat protection makes developers lazy. Online games typically follow the server-client model and as such, any important calculations that need to be tamper-proof should be done on the server. Unfortunately you've got one of the most popular MMO games, MapleStory, that actually depends on the client to detect if the player has been hit by a monster. They rely on anti-cheat protection to keep a player from bypassing all hit detections and obtaining God mode. The problem is, they've already lost. Their code will never be bullet proof as long as I control the hardware.

Re:More important than homebrew potential (2)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 6 years ago | (#20623989)

Modding save games has very little to do with online play... Typically for an online game, your "save game" will be stored on the server so you can't edit it anyway.
Editing single player save games would have no effect on online play...
To prevent cheating with online games, you want to prevent modification of the game data itself, and modification of the network traffic. However this all gives a false sense of security, because people will still always find a way to cheat.

Re:More important than homebrew potential (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20625005)

I know that you know that there is a shift key on the keyboard, because I can see that you use it, you arrogant twat!

Mod parent troll (4, Insightful)

VirusEqualsVeryYes (981719) | more than 6 years ago | (#20623307)

Yet another case of a company treating customers like criminals.
What? Are you an idiot? How in hell does this treat customers like criminals?

Perhaps you don't understand why most /.ers think the RIAA treat their customers like criminals. The RIAA use DRM to restrict users such that their Fair Use rights are impeded. Further, they explain their actions away by claiming to thwart piracy. Further, they sue their customers with no initial proof that the defendant did anything illegal, and instead abuse the courts and demand to invade their property in order to then determine any wrongdoing. And further, they do all this solely for their own profit and not for the profit of the licensed musicians.

Nintendo does none of this. They encrypt savefiles. So what? This does not impede on your right to do anything. You can play any given game on as many Wiis as you wish. Nintendo is also not suing people to force hackers to halt breaking their savefile encryption. Game developers generally don't want players artificially advancing within games. Perhaps there are statistics stored within the savefile used online. Whatever's in the savefile is up to the game devs, and Nintendo is simply hiding that.

In other words, Nintendo is completely within their rights to encrypt savefiles. In turn, AFAIK, you are completely within your rights to attempt to break that encryption. And in turn again, Nintendo is completely within their rights to push out any updates to change or otherwise enforce their encryption. It's really that simple.

Re:Mod parent troll (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20623437)

HAHA, and your calling the OP an idiot. "you are completely within your rights to attempt to break that encryption"

no your not last i checked circumventing encryption was illegal in 1/2 a dozen countries.

why do you freaking nerds have to defend nintendo all the time? they aren't going to love you back you know.

Re:Mod parent troll (3, Interesting)

farkus888 (1103903) | more than 6 years ago | (#20623571)

I think they absolutely love us. the kind of money they are making on those of us who play their games is more than enough to get us past the "no kissing on the lips" rule. I am by no means a nintendo fanboy, I haven't even played video games consistently for almost 7 years. I am speaking their praises because they built a system that is cool enough to play to get me back in to gaming. I know there are some crazy nintendo is always right people but don't discredit everyone who sings the wii's praises. and yeah I know you weren't speaking directly to me.

Re:Mod parent troll (1)

Malevolyn (776946) | more than 6 years ago | (#20623759)

The DMCA may have made that illegal, but the DMCA also makes the mod10 algo illegal because you have to reverse engineer a credit card number to verify it. In short, no one is really going to care if the Wii's save files get decrypted. And that includes Nintendo.

Re:Mod parent troll (2, Informative)

LordVader717 (888547) | more than 6 years ago | (#20624185)

Wrong. The DMCA and co. are about copy-prevention systems, and this is not the case. And I would be very sceptical whether a developer has any copyrights to a save file at all.

Re:Mod parent troll (1)

WarwickRyan (780794) | more than 6 years ago | (#20624161)

He's wrong, not a troll. Unfortunately you can't mod posts 'wrong'.

Re:More important than homebrew potential (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20623319)

Slashdot puts passwords on its user accounts.

Just another case of Slashdot treating its visitors like criminals.

Re:More important than homebrew potential (5, Insightful)

Josef Meixner (1020161) | more than 6 years ago | (#20623343)

No, I think there is a much more mundane reason. In the past some of the consoles were broken with manipulated save games, the games didn't properly check the data and so opened a hole. I would guess Nintendo didn't want to take that chance and so added an API which sits between the game and the saved data. As the saved data could be verified for being originally written by the game before the game would even get a chance to have a look at it, it means it is much harder to attack code not written by Nintendo to be exploited.

Disclaimer: I have never seen the API of a game console, this is only a wild guess.

Re:More important than homebrew potential (1)

nicolastheadept (930317) | more than 6 years ago | (#20623377)

I think it means encryption for virtual console games etc.

Re:More important than homebrew potential (1)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 6 years ago | (#20623383)

I don't really see a good argument for anyone to modify saved games. There is zero benefit to the end user, unlike DRM on music. If the encryption disallowed use of the saved game, that would be problematic, but if it disallows mods of the saved game, that makes sense. Think modding your saved game to make you a level 10 player, not very nice if this game has to go online.

Some save mods arguably aren't cheating (3, Funny)

tepples (727027) | more than 6 years ago | (#20624859)

I don't really see a good argument for anyone to modify saved games. There is zero benefit to the end user
False. I want to move a "zipper shirt" from my character in Animal Crossing for Nintendo GameCube to my character in Animal Crossing: Wild World for Nintendo DS. From GameCube to GameCube, I can use the "Hear code" and "Say code" inside Tom Nook's store to move the item. From DS to DS, I can use the online features. But unfortunately, the "Hear Code" functionality was cut from the DS version, so I have to write a program that hacks the DS version's saved game to insert the item into the player's inventory.

Re:More important than homebrew potential (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20625893)

Not useful?

I for one would love to take my save for some of my Virtual Console games and replace the entire data with another game save I downloaded, the downloaded save being in RAW format and not from an Virtual Console game.

Re:More important than homebrew potential (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20623469)

No the point is that if you can ditz with the "save game" then you can "cheat". You could distribute them (allowing people to "skip" actually playing the game to see stuff) or "level up" characters to your advantage in multiplayer games. As a player of these games I don't like cheating - you want a level playing field. So do I think Nintendo should protect these files? YES! Do I think they can? Sadly... no.

WTF? (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20623229)

Why is it that we live in a world where our console gamesaves are protected more aggressively than our bank accounts and our identities combined?

Re:WTF? (4, Funny)

creimer (824291) | more than 6 years ago | (#20623309)

Without encrypted gamesaves, the global economy will collapse and basement gamers will be out on the streets panhandling for money.

Re:WTF? (2, Funny)

adamofgreyskull (640712) | more than 6 years ago | (#20623895)

And you thought homeless people smelt bad now?

Re:WTF? (4, Insightful)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 6 years ago | (#20623621)

Or our votes....

Re:WTF? (2, Interesting)

noidentity (188756) | more than 6 years ago | (#20623779)

The governments of the world don't need easy access to your game saves, apparently.

Re:WTF? (1)

iamthetru7h (782302) | more than 6 years ago | (#20623951)

^ This.

It seems to me... (5, Informative)

PipianJ (574459) | more than 6 years ago | (#20623275)

That this likely means the exact opposite. Elliptic Curve Cryptography [wikipedia.org] is relatively difficult to crack (not unlike RSA). More to the point, it's also not liable to factorization attacks like RSA is. Furthermore, the best crack of elliptic curve technology is of a 109-bit key, and still took 3,600 [certicom.com] or 15,000 [certicom.com] computer-years (whether it's a binary or prime field case, respectively).

Nintendo's not stupid. They've used RSA encryption to keep the average hacker out of DS-wireless homebrew, and this is most likely a mandated response to the Splinter Cell hack that allowed soft modding on the Xbox. It won't stop hacking through security holes in the internet protocols (a-la PSO+BBA), but they're certainly making efforts to prevent corrupted data from opening up softmod paths.

Re:It seems to me... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20623379)

I'm not sure what you're getting at when you say ECC isn't liable to factorization attacks. Its certainly more difficult to compute discrete logs in an elliptic curve group than it is to factor an RSA modulus. That's why it takes a 2048 bit RSA key to have roughly the same security strength as a 233 bit ECC key.

But, particularly because of the recent confusion regarding ECC's resistance to quantum computing (that is, that it has none), I want to make sure people realize ECC isn't any stronger than RSA. Sure, you get shorter keys and faster computations with ECC versus RSA, but for all practical purposes if/when RSA falls, ECC will go down with it. Factorization algorithms usually lead to discrete log algorithms, and vice versa. That's certainly the case with Shor's algorithm, which probably should have been made clear when the quantum computing article was posted.

Re:It seems to me... (1)

numatrix (242325) | more than 6 years ago | (#20625279)

This is an important point. I'm no really sure what the GP means. In fact, long ago when I actually understood a very tiny bit about how these things worked I asked a similar question on sci.crypt and got the following responses:

http://groups.google.com/group/sci.crypt/browse_thread/thread/d096e5e93192f176/6e0e62f174f8a9e3 [google.com]

Re:It seems to me... (1)

Watson Ladd (955755) | more than 6 years ago | (#20625727)

Discreet log algorithms are different depending on the group they are in. Braid group algorithms, for example, are almost polynomial time, while in $\mathbb{Z}/m\mathbb{Z}$ the best known algorithms are exponential in complexity.

Re:It seems to me... (2, Insightful)

tpwch (748980) | more than 6 years ago | (#20623539)

Yes, but they don't have to break it, they just have to find the public key. It must be stored somewhere on the wii, so it can do the encryption of the saves. They were able to find the keys for blu-ray and hd-dvd, so why not here?

While it is not liable to factorization attacks (1)

S3D (745318) | more than 6 years ago | (#20623591)

It is still liable to disassembly attack. If elliptic curve used is sect233r1, as poster assume, that could be useful information for disassembly. If wii use OpenSSL that fact could be even more useful.

Translation (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20623349)

"homebrew community"

aka

videogame pirating community

Great, now about the next step. (3, Insightful)

Neuticle (255200) | more than 6 years ago | (#20623359)

(Assuming that this discovery allows people to write new, arbitrary yet signed data into a save file on a SD card that the Wii will recognize as a "valid" save)

The next step will be to search for an exploit in the console or in a game that allows execution of that data. The final step is to figure out how to get that newly loaded code to do something useful. I know this has been done before, but I'm under the impression that the exploit (in a 007 game) was found by chance. After that lucky break, the code-something-useful part came very fast.

Is there any way to search for such an exploit other than brute force testing of games? Are there things to look for that normal players might see, or do you have to just try to execute code over and over and over in various situations, hoping to find a hole? In short, how can I, a non-programmer, help?

I have hundreds of SNES and NES carts. I would love to be able to run those games on the Wii without having to buy them a second time or wait for N to trickle them out. Now if I can just hack together some Wii wireless SNES and NES pads, I'll be in heaven.

PS (1)

Neuticle (255200) | more than 6 years ago | (#20623439)

I know I made a big assumption* in the parent post, but I wanted to ask the question about the second step, if we ever get there.

It's just too bad that there isn't some way to compromise to allow a Wii "sandbox" to play around and develop in without allowing full fledged piracy. Maybe a modified (i.e. slightly crippled to prevent full piracy) Wii dev-kit open to all for a reasonable cost?

Just throwing the idea out there

*I know getting past the encryption will be no easy task, and may not be feasible at all with current technology. IANACR (I am not a cryptology researcher) but I know that elliptic curve encryption is pretty strong stuff, and 300+ bit key is pretty big.

Re:PS (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 6 years ago | (#20624885)

It's just too bad that there isn't some way to compromise to allow a Wii "sandbox" to play around and develop in without allowing full fledged piracy.
It's called a PC with a Bluetooth adapter.

Re:Great, now about the next step. (1)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 6 years ago | (#20623979)

I have a compilation DVD that runs on a modded gamecube or wii, it includes an emulator and a whole heap of NES/SNES (and sega consoles) rom files... I believe there's an xbox version of this DVD too. You could use that, and if you really feel bad about piracy just play the games where you also posess the physical cart.

Re:Great, now about the next step. (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 6 years ago | (#20624601)

a new mod is needed for the new wii consoles that are in shops now, as they use a newer version of the drive chip that is what was the attack route before with wii modchips(no chip works on gc2-d2c chip, as apparently the legs are not connected inside the chip, so the currently thought of workaround is afaik to replace the entire chip, which takes a little more of soldering experience than normal modding).

with older wii's you can use very cheap modchips(wiikey clones are under ten bucks a piece)..

so a softmod attack would be very welcome.

Re:Great, now about the next step. (2, Interesting)

Donniedarkness (895066) | more than 6 years ago | (#20624861)

Regarding the part about the wireless SNES controller:

Have you seen Nintendo's "Classic controller" that they offer (primarily for the virtual console games)? It looks a little odd, but after you start using it, you'll realize that it's really an SNES controller with some analog sticks thrown on at the bottom (and two extra "shoulder" buttons). Also, it plugs into the wii-remote, so I consider it semi-wireless.

Anyways, definately my favourite controller ever, so you should give it a try, if you haven't yet.

I for one dont have a problem with this (2, Insightful)

kongit (758125) | more than 6 years ago | (#20623405)

While encrypting the save files saved on the hard drive might seem like a logical step to keep people from cheating I don't think it will have much effect. I don't believe that cheating on games that you play by yourself or with friends on the same system (opening up maps for the multi player when you don't have any urge to play the solo game all the way through for one example) is in anyway wrong. However if the save file on the Wii effects online play versus people you don't know then well we have a problem. BUT I am sure that Nintendo doesn't do that since to do that would definitely make online playing a joke when the save files get hacked, and they will get hacked.

Additionally those that would of hacked the save files to install mods are not a majority of players on any system. Most people who own a console do not have the skill set or urge to install mods. While encrypting the save files will slow down the hackers it will most likely not stop them, so unless Nintendo did something stupid and made the Save files have full authority over online play encrypting the save files with elaborate means is just a waste of the players time as the games have to take longer to save.

what will we do with out it! (2, Funny)

kaizokuace (1082079) | more than 6 years ago | (#20623605)

What will all the hacker and code breaker types do with their time if all companies stop encrypting stuff?

Re:what will we do with out it! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20624387)

Maybe they'll start hacking the Linux pocket protectors worn by fellow hackers, while pimping their own with the latest crypto protocols and firewalls?

It's just like Demolition Man... (2, Insightful)

Tim Browse (9263) | more than 6 years ago | (#20623875)

...where the police are looking for a violent killer, and then their surveillance locates him, and they all breathe a sigh of relief, as they assume that's the hard part done - all they have to do now is arrest him.

I can't help thinking that there's a wee bit more work to do than just find out what encryption method is being used.

Then again, maybe your average slashdotter thinks that 'breaking encryption' is as easy as 'guessing the algorithm used' :-).

Re:It's just like Demolition Man... (1)

Poromenos1 (830658) | more than 6 years ago | (#20624735)

I don't know about the average slashdotter, but this editor probably seems to be "oh, it's just encryption; I'll reverse it and be home for lunch" school of thought.

Something here is not right... (1)

Danga (307709) | more than 6 years ago | (#20624503)

FTFS
The number pairs are stored as a compound 60 bit data (first 30 bytes for the first number, and the next 30 bytes for the second).

Interesting that they can store 60 bytes of data in 60 bits! I think someone made a typo...

Re:Something here is not right... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20624645)

i saw that too

Obligatory quote (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 6 years ago | (#20624721)

"Enough of your borax, poindexter! We need action!" - Chief Wiggum

So what you are trying to tell me is... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20624897)

I can has empire?

Re:So what you are trying to tell me is... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20625497)

LOL NO U DONT IDORT

bits or bytes (1)

cerelib (903469) | more than 6 years ago | (#20625535)

The number pairs are stored as a compound 60 bit data (first 30 bytes for the first number, and the next 30 bytes for the second)

That math does not seem to work out.
60 b = 30 B + 30 B (huh?)

So which is it, bits or bytes? Oh well, I guess I will go read the article to find out.

Re:bits or bytes (1)

strstrep (879828) | more than 6 years ago | (#20625695)

I'm guessing bytes. A 30-bit keyspace is pretty small, definitely within the realm of brute forcing.

I cracked it! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20625753)

The secret key is
17 Pr!N75 M0N3Y$
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